Do you remember the good old days of Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda and blistered hands? I hate to admit it, but having spent years playing classic games on my Commodore 64, when Nintendo arrived in my house in the mid 80s, I was hooked. By the time Super Mario Bros came out, I was a veritable video game addict and so thrilled at the challenge of discovering hidden coins and secret worlds that I played until my hands ached.
Nintendo’s come a long way since then, with tilt-sensors and touch screen technology, and driving the gaming world forward with 3D technology. Perhaps I’m a bit of a video game purist, but in the back of my mind I’ve often wondered whether introducing more and more technology takes the fun out of the games… Yesterday’s test drive on the uDraw proved me wrong. Somehow, remotely controlling my on-screen character through subtle tilts or by squiggling on the uDraw tablet with a stylus still felt as simple and natural as using an old fashioned joystick, and… well, fun.
Armed with a uDraw at Neoco HQ, I set out to tackle the 100 or so nano-games that make up the brand new Spongebob Squarepants Wii game, Spongebob Squigglepants.
The nano-games are grouped into different themed worlds, each with its own style of animation and set of challenges, and all featuring the decidedly weird characters from Nickelodeon’s hit TV series.
“PixelBob”, with its heavily pixelated characters and old-skool Nintendo sound effects was reassuringly familiar and a joy to play. A bit like pulling on your favourite old jumper.
The Spongebob Squigglepants nano-games are designed to reward quick reaction times, excellent hand-eye coordination and attention to detail, so being “Someone’s Mum” obviously I was rubbish and would have been easily beaten by a six year old. That aside, trying to beat the clock in a series of fast paced, expertly animated games was a rush, and surprisingly addictive.
There are new games to unlock as you progress, and the time on the clock gets shorter as you improve, so we imagine the games would still be challenging even after several weeks of play. Without a storyline, however, or multi-player options, we wonder whether older players might begin to find the short bursts of games unsatisfying after a while.
The core game, as you may have guessed from the name, involves squiggling. Not a game as such, “Art Studio” has a virtual paintbrush, fill bucket, eraser and stamps, so you can use the uDraw tablet to draw and paint on the screen. Clever technology, yes, but effectively it’s a Wii version of Doodle Buddy for iPhone or iPad, although less sensitive and therefore harder to master. While the other games fit nicely together, Art Studio felt a little like an afterthought, and thus came across as a bit “meh“. We would have loved to see something like a “Learn to Draw Spongebob Squarepants characters” game as part of the Art Studio that made more interesting use of the uDraw tablet.
The Spongebob Squigglepants Wii game isn’t educational by any means, but then it doesn’t try to be. As a good old fashioned video game, it was fun, entertaining, and surprisingly addictive, and the combination of animation styles is a really nice touch.
The “B Movie” world in particular has some imagery that parents might find inappropriate, but otherwise Spongebob Squigglepants is suitable for any age. We would recommend ages 7 and up.
Where to buy the Spongebob Squigglepants Wii Game for uDraw
Spongebob Squigglepants is available from these trusted retailers. Click below to go straight to the product page to check prices.
Spongebob Squigglepants for Nintendo 3DS will be released on May 20th – click here to pre-order from Amazon (best price).