SpongeBob's Super Bouncy Fun Time ($1.99) by Nickelodeon is a physics game that involves everyone’s favorite cartoon sponge trying to get jellyfish to safety. Are you up for the challenge?
While I’m not the biggest SpongeBob fan out there, I do enjoy the crazy antics of that yellow sponge and his pink starfish friend every once in a while. However, if you are a fan of SpongeBob at all, then this game would be a great fit for you.
The graphics are colorful and bright, so they will definitely be popping out at you. The artwork used for SpongeBob and Patrick seem a bit…different, to say the least, but it doesn’t interfere with the game itself. The ^ eyes that both seem to have occasionally remind me of anime characters, so it was just a bit weird to me. Regardless, it’s the same sponge and starfish (and other guest appearances) that we all know and love (maybe).
In the game, you will be down in Bikini Bottom, helping SpongeBob catch all the jellyfish that are everywhere due to migrating season. He’s equipped with a special ball blaster gun, and it’s your job to use it to knock the jellyfish out of place and collect them!
The gameplay is standard of your typical physics puzzler -- drag around on the screen to control the trajectory, and release your finger to fire. The ball will bounce off of jellyfish and the surrounding bricks (think Peggle). But be careful of how you aim -- you only get a limited amount of balls per level, and you have to collect all of the jellyfish on the level before you can progress. If you do well enough, you can earn between one to three stars.
If you get the jellyfish, they will reveal a coin (sometimes even a red one); tap on the coin to collect it. These can be used to purchase power-ups from the pause menu. There are over 15 power-ups that you will encounter in the entire game, including Gary (who can stop moving jellies) and Gumball (sticks to jellies and makes them heavier). Later on, you’ll find jellyfish that will move, jellyfish that are protected with a bubble shield, jellyfish that move with crazy paths, and even boss jellies. The power-ups can be extremely valuable, so make sure to use them wisely!
Even though the controls seem to work, I've had some issues with it. It's just not as smooth as other physics games, such as Angry Birds; in fact, it can be a bit difficult to get the trajectory the way you want it to be. It just isn't as responsive as other games, and it's difficult to get a narrower curve, which you want at times to get to the high corner of the game area. Sometimes, in an effort to get the perfect trajectory, my hand ends up covering most of the screen, and that doesn't help me at all. I really hope that the developers will improve the controls in the future, because at this point, it can be frustrating in later levels.
There are five unique areas of Bikini Bottom for you to explore, and about 20 levels for each area. So that’s 100 levels of jellyfish-catching action. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be Game Center integration for leaderboards or achievements, which is a shame. It would have been great to have that with this type of game.
While I liked the graphics, the music was good at first, but then I grew to get tired of it after a while. Fortunately, you can turn it off, which is a relief. If you love SpongeBob though, you will be happy to know that you will hear him quip about catching jellyfish every once in a while. You will also get a funny animation if you are unsuccessful at getting all of the jellyfish on a level, so make sure to try not passing at least once.
If you are a fan of SpongeBob, or just a fan of physics puzzlers (and don’t hate SpongeBob), then make sure to check this title out. It’s a great game for the kids, but adults can have fun with it too! I just hope that the developers improve the controls in the future, but it’s still manageable in the current state.
This review was done for the iPhone version of the game. There is also an iPad version of the game, but it is $3.99. I'm not sure why the developers did not make this a universal game, though, as they both seem to be the same exact thing. Go figure.