Based on the movie of the same name, Spongebob’s Truth Or Square sees the eponymous sea creature entrusted by Mr Krabs with the Krabby Patty formula. Clearly, he’s not too bright, though, because he loses it, and can’t remember where, because apparently he can’t remember anything when he’s sad. Personally, I think Mr Krab should sue him, but instead Spongebob’s friends decide to help by getting him to remember some of his happiest memories.
The game consists of you playing through Spongebob’s memories, hindered by the robots that are inserted by the evil Plankton. To be honest, the story is pretty much irrelevant, since this is just your typical cheapo movie tie-in. In fact, there’s no synopsis anywhere on the packaging or in the instruction book, which confirms how unimportant it is. Obviously, the target audience for this game is small children, so as long there are a few colourful pictures of the protagonist on the box, fans of the cartoon are likely to be interested.
It’s no surprise, then, that Truth Or Square is decidedly average, playing like a very slightly updated version of the early 90s platformer Cool Spot. It’s essentially a 2D sideways scrolling platform game, but adds a limited third dimension by allowing the player to move up and down. Think Streets Of Rage or Final Fight and you should get the idea.
Basic movements are carried out via the d-pad, and attacks can be performed by pressing the face buttons or the same moves can be achieved by using various gestures on the touch screen. Unfortunately, the latter feel like they’ve been squeezed in afterwards, and it’s far easier to play the game using the traditional buttons.
Your move list consists of a kind of bendy head-butt, a spinning attack and a basic projectile move. This makes a change from the jumping on enemies attack you often see in bog-standard platformers, but the spinning attack is so effective against the ridiculously idiotic baddies that you can pretty much get through the whole game by mashing one button.
There are some other additional elements, such as the ability to soak up water like a… er… sponge, and then spit it out to make vines grow, among other things, but Truth Or Square is nevertheless brutally repetitive.
Perhaps ten years ago, serious gamers might have been entertained by this kind of thing, but these days, this game really is only good for young children. In fact, the simplistic and repetitive nature probably makes it ideal for kids, so it should make a fairly good Christmas present for any pre-teen fans of the spongy one.
It would be easy to be cynical and give this game the lowest score possible, but it’s really not for the likes of us, and since we’re approaching the festive season, I’ll judge it in the appropriate spirit. So it’s a pretty rubbish game, then, but a perfect gift for the kids.
SpongeBob: Truth Or Square is out now.