Despite its relatively offbeat and strange setting, SpongeBob SquarePants is actually one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time. At time of writing, SpongeBob has managed to rake in $14.8 billion across various TV shows, movies, video games, and assorted merchandising endeavours, and that number is only likely to grow as time goes on.
With that in mind, you’d think that there would be at least a few worthwhile gaming experiences in SpongeBob’s past, and, of course, you’d be right. SpongeBob SquarePants video games are not few and far between (although they’re becoming more rare today), and there are plenty of games you can play if you want to visit Bikini Bottom and hang out with its residents yourself. Here are the best SpongeBob SquarePants games you can play right now.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated
Let’s begin with the most obvious pick. SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom is a classic platformer, and while it might not quite be able to match the titans of its era, it’s a worthwhile experience in and of itself. Rehydrated takes the original game and adds an HD coat of paint to it, reworking the visuals and sharpening the gameplay into the bargain. What you’re left with is pretty much inarguably the definitive way to experience this underrated gem in which you play as SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy, collecting things and navigating huge 3D worlds.
Technically, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl isn’t actually a SpongeBob game, but it does allow you to play as everyone’s favourite sponge, so we’re including it anyway. This is a rather wonky game that doesn’t quite have the polish of Super Smash Bros, but if you’re looking for a platform fighter that lets you play as beloved Nickelodeon characters, you really don’t have any other options. It’s competent enough, anyway, and SpongeBob is great fun to play as. There are also several SpongeBob stages on offer, including Jellyfish Fields and the Flying Dutchman’s ship.
Again, this is more of a Nickelodeon “greatest hits” package than a specific SpongeBob-themed experience, but several SpongeBob characters appear, so it counts in our book. The original Nickelodeon Kart Racers was a depressingly dreadful experience, so thankfully, Kart Racers 2 proves to be infinitely superior. It’s a competent, solid kart racing game that won’t rock the boat or blow you away, but that should provide a few hours of entertainment if you’ve got some buddies over and you’re not really feeling Mario Kart for whatever reason.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Lights, Camera, Pants!
If you love games like Mario Party – and, perhaps more crucially, if you have young children that you need to entertain – then SpongeBob SquarePants: Lights, Camera, Pants! should do the trick. It’s a minigame compilation released back in 2005, so you might find it a little tricky to get hold of today, but it has 30 minigames on offer, and none of them is a repetition of another, which is pretty impressive. The game also has original voice actors like Tom Kenny as SpongeBob and Clancy Brown as Mr. Krabs, so if you love the show’s voice cast, you’ll find lots to like here.
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Yellow Avenger
The Nintendo DS was a real proving ground for innovation, and while it certainly had its fair share of garbage shovelware, The Yellow Avenger was that rare thing: a licensed title that actually had some worth to it. On the face of it, The Yellow Avenger is a kind of point-and-click adventure game crossed with a cinematic 2.5D platformer; it looks pretty great considering it’s a DS and PSP game, and its music is well-composed too, although its gameplay can be a little confusing and difficult at times. Check this one out if you want a SpongeBob experience that’s a little more off the beaten track.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab
As a latter-period PS2-era title, SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab still holds up today in terms of its visuals and presentation, although your mileage may vary somewhat on its gameplay. The game is nominally a 2D and 3D platformer, although it also includes vehicle sections and other gameplay tweaks, so it’s never in danger of becoming stale. The game is a little shallow, but it is a lot of fun if you’re a fan of the SpongeBob show, and it has all of the characters you’ve come to expect from a SpongeBob game as well.
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
This video game adaptation of the 2004 SpongeBob movie was another 3D platformer with vehicular segments. It’s a fun experience, and as you’d expect from a SpongeBob game, it’s shot through with the show’s unique and surreal humour as well, so if you’re essentially looking to play through an extended episode of the show, then you’ve come to the right place. Gameplay-wise, it’s not going to challenge you or keep you occupied for too long, but it’s worth a playthrough just to experience a licensed game that’s actually not too bad.
The list of genuinely worthwhile SpongeBob SquarePants gaming experiences could be longer, we admit, but there’s definitely some good stuff out there to find. Did we miss any major SpongeBob games that are worth playing? What kind of game would you like to see SpongeBob and his friends appear in next?