The secret formula to nostalgia: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated

Nicole McIsaac, Managing Editor

If you have ever watched Nickelodeon as a child, chances are that you have stumbled across a yellow sponge — better known as SpongeBob Squarepants. If you haven’t, well that’s another argument for a different day.

Throughout my childhood, I’d often find myself glued to the television for hours while binge-watching the sponge run around catching jellyfish. Between wearing SpongeBob pajamas to brushing my teeth with the character’s ToothTunes toothbrush, I was completely captivated by the cartoon show.

However, little did I know that addiction would grow even deeper as soon as my house received its first PlayStation 2 in the early 2000s.

Although my brother and I had countless other games to sift through while on the device, there was one that specifically stood out from the rest — “SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom.” Arguing over who got to play first, my brother and I absolutely adored sitting down together to beat all the various levels of this yellow sponge-ridden game.

In 2020, SpongeBob Squarepants: The Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated was released to the public. Mirroring that same game I used to play as a child, the new version became available for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S, per an article from Sportskeeda.

The original version was released in North America in 2003, per an article from SpongeBob Fandom. Mirroring episodes from the show, the game follows the fight to save the underwater town from a slew of robots spawning from the Duplicatotron 3000 that was created by Sheldon J. Plankton, or otherwise the character known as Plankton.

The machine was originally created by the mini green character as a way to steal the secret Krabby Patty formula — as Plankton normally seeks to do on the regular televised show. It wasn’t until he forgot to switch the Duplicatrotron to the “Obey” setting that started the rampant robot takeover.

Throughout the course of the game, the player can swap through using characters SpongeBob, Patrick Star or Sandy Cheeks to complete various missions. Each of the characters, however, have their different abilities based on their personalities, such as Patrick smashing items off of his belly. Personally, I always loved to play as Patrick.

However as time went on and we got older, the original copy soon collected dust on our basement shelf, right next to the Wii.

It wasn’t until recently that the yellow sponge was awoken, and my brother and I respawned to our childhood selves glued to the now flat-screen television and arguing over who can have the controller first.

Upon my first play, it was clear how much of a difference there was in terms of graphics in comparison to the original version. Not only did the characters and setting appear to be brighter and more vibrant in color, the reactions and emotions on their faces were much more clear and realistic.

I found this aspect of the game to be intriguing in a sense. Having lively and colorful animations brings back the feelings of childhood, when the world felt nothing but that.

In addition, the remastered version felt like the characters moved faster and could fight a lot better than in the original. This is especially important, specifically when encountering the famous King Jellyfish battle.

Other than that, the remastered version of this game exactly matches all the levels and challenges brought on in the original version.

Whereas some might feel that other elements in the newer version simply don’t live up to the original, I believe this game exceeded my expectations. Not only does this make it a fun way to procrastinate anything by gaming, but it brought back a special childhood moment between my brother and me.

Although this game was released nearly 3 years ago, my brother and I’s discovery of it last summer has allowed us to time travel back to the early 2000s. We may be nearly 20 years older and don’t keep chocolate chip granola bars stocked in the house, but I still look forward to going home and staying up late to play this game in his room together.

For that, I am forever grateful that the creators released this remastered version.

Given my nostalgia for the game and the connection I have to it, I give the “SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated” a 5 jellyfish rating. I would recommend to all of those who played the original or watched the show as a child to grab their spatula and give it a try.