|System: Wii, 3DS|
|Dev: WayForward Technologies|
|Release: April 12, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Comic Mischief|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
When Wario Ware: Smooth Moves was released in 2008, it was definitely one of the most innovative games on the Wii at the time. Though the franchise was nothing new, it was really on top form in Smooth Moves, and was the inspiration for tons of quasi-successful games for years after its launch. However, though Wario Ware was often imitated, it was never downright copied. Until now.
Basically everything about SpongeBob Squigglepants screams Wario Ware. From the five-second "nano-games" to the progression through themed "art" areas, and even the "faster" nano-games that show up half-way through a stage. If you took Wario Ware: Smooth Moves, skinned it with SpongeBob, and added the uDraw peripheral, SpongeBob Squigglepants is exactly what you'd have.
The premise of the game is, as you'd expect, pretty ridiculous. You are commissioned to create some art for Patchy the Pirate's SpongeBob fan club, and you have to get "inspired" by looking at different art pieces. And apparently, when you look at an art piece, you go into some sort of trance and you'll have to play through twenty nanogames in order to "appreciate" the art fully. Then you move on.
To its credit, the different themed art pieces are fairly cool. There's modern art, b-movie art, comic book art, and even 8-bit art. Older players will appreciate the different art styles, and there are more than a few shout outs to specific artists as well as some classic games. However, the problem with SpongeBob Squigglepants is that adults (and most kids) will find the game a little too bland and easy to play for long.
As the mini-game genre has become more popular, on the whole it has failed to mature, and has moved to making games that are accessible to the lowest common denominator of gamers, which has sort of homogenized the genre as a whole. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that what you can expect from SpongeBob Squigglepants is more of the same. I was hopeful that the tablet element would bring something new to the table, but most of the mini-games would actually be more interesting with a Wii-mote instead of a tablet.
For instance, one of the most basic mini-games involves flipping cards over. With the tablet, this game is nearly impossible, as dragging the stylus over the cards and then flipping them over takes way too much time, and unless you get really lucky, this game is an automatic fail. If the Wii-mote alone was used, simply pointing and clicking at the cards could have been used as a control option, and sped the process up nicely.