Spongebob SquarePants: Truth Or Square Review

Introduction

Spongebob Truth Or Square is a platformer, starring everyone’s favourite sea sponge. It was developed by three different companies for many different consoles. Heavy Iron Studios developed the Xbox 360 and Wii version. Barking Lizards Technologies developed the PSP version. Lastly, Altron developed the Nintendo DS version. All were published by THQ and released in October 2009 for NA and September 2010 for EU.

Review

It is the Eleventy Seventh anniversary of the Krusty Krab and Spongebob wants to throw a party for it. When Mr Krabs entrusts him with the secret formula, he puts it somewhere safe. Only two hours later, he completely forgot where he put it! In walks Plankton with a plan to help Spongebob remember. So Plankton uses this machine to dive into Spongebobs mind, and the adventure begins!

The story itself is super simple and a little thin. As Spongebob is always just saying how he has no idea where the secret formula is. Then he tries to remember, then he gives up. But the game relies more on your knowledge of Spongebob instead. In the hub when you talk to the character to start the next level, they usually bring up an event that has happened in an episode before. Like Mr Krabs tells Spongebob if he remembers when he was hired. Or Patrick asks him if he remembers the time they got Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy out of retirement. During the loading screens though, you get little quizzes to test your knowledge! Eventually seeing if your memory is right or not.

 

These never truly delve into the events of the episode themselves. They’re just some loose veiled excuse to set up the locale of the level. Like when I was playing through the Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy level, I only saw them at the end. Even then they were only in the background. Then I collected the special item I needed, went back to Spongebob’s house, and moved onto the next level. Though there is some dialogue in the levels, between the super loud music, and the lady of dialogue, and the sound effects, it was really hard to hear. Especially considering there were no subtitles. So I ended up cranking down a ton of the sound options, and was left with hearing Spongebob yell “I’m so happy I could hug a jellyfish hive!”, over and over…and over…

The gameplay is relatively normal to a Spongebob game. But the levels are very linear. You jump your way around the level, hitting some switches here and there, just to get to the end. But some of the abilities at least made it half interesting. Like being able to shoot balloons that ricochet off certain walls to hit switches you can reach. Or the few times I had to put Spongebob in a tub to let him fill with water, then blow water all over a water wheel to lift up a platform. It was all pretty fun, but it’s a shame you never got to play as any characters. At least not in the traditional sense.

Throughout the levels, you can find pickups that turn you into Patrick or Squidward or Sandy, but only for a short period of time. Usually this is to help combat encounters. But you only get one, so you have to decide when to actually use it. It was more annoying than anything, because there were times I’d use it right away, just be left with annoying enemies later in the encounter that it would have benefitted from. The combat is also not that great. When you attack with your normal attack, you end up standing still to make Spongebob turn into a spatula, as you smack enemies like they are flies. Except they are a little tougher than flies. So I ended up just mindlessly mashing the attack button as I stunlocked enemies in front of me. When I finally got the attack that let me hit multiple enemies, it was more of the same.

The last thing that was pretty fun to do was upgrading Spongebob’s furniture or getting outfits for him, using the coins you find in levels. It doesn’t actually do anything to help, but it was always funny to see silly new stuff. So I turned his chair into a big giant comfy chair. Or changed a picture of Sandy into a real squirrel with a lasso and cowboy hat. You’d understand the reference if you watched the show. But outside of that you can just use the money on getting more health. There were some locked areas of the house that I didn’t feel like unlocking, so I’m not sure what’s hidden behind those walls. Maybe the ability to get stronger attacks. But I digress.

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 10.

Pros:

  • Fun References For Fans Of The Show
  • Mostly Original Voice Actors
  • Little Quizzes During Loading Screen

Cons:

  • Boring Combat
  • Levels Aren’t Very Inspired
  • No Subtitles In Levels

Summary

I was excited to finally get the chance to play this Spongebob game. But I was left bored with levels that had nothing to do with the references they brought up, and boring combat. But it has some fun platforming and enjoyable references for long time fans, and I had a few chuckles at all of those! But in the end, it’s at least worth trying, even for an hour.

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Game & Developer Information

Developer Website: Heavy Iron Studios / Barking Lizards Technologies / Altron
Developer Socials: Twitter 
Publisher Website: THQ
Publisher Socials: Twitter

Published by oniwalker

Co-owner of NodeGamers(dot)com. Reviewer and Guide Writer. I'll play just about anything as I cry about my backlog!

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