SpongeBob SquigglePants is a Wii game that requires you to have the uDraw Tablet, which is sold separately. The uDraw Tablet is the size of a thick notebook, and you put the Wii-mote in one side, and use a built-in pen and drawing surface to control the onscreen cursor. You can read more details about the uDraw in our detailed Report Card.
There are two types of gameplay in SpongeBob SquigglePants. The first involves more than a hundred “nanogames,” which are short 3-5 second bursts of gameplay action in which you must quickly act in order to succeed. These nanogames come in different groups, and you must complete 20 of them successfully in order to unlock more groups. If your family is familiar with Nintendo’s Wario Ware games, then you’ll quickly see the similarities with SpongeBob SquigglePants.
All the nanogames involve SpongeBob characters and locations, and before each burst of gameplay starts, you’re given a quick idea of the type of action you’re going to need to perform. The different actions include tap, drag, flick, draw, tilt, shake, and even one that asks you to push down the tip of the uDraw pen as quickly as possible.
Examples of minigames include drawing with the stylus to help Mr. Crab scare all the kids off his lawn, tilting the entire uDraw tablet to help Plankton avoid getting flyswatted, quickly drawing with the stylus to clean the foam off SpongeBob, flicking Crabby Patties in the air and much much more. Fans of the show will enjoy all the different ways that you’re interacting with these characters.
But these nanogames come very quickly, and after you complete a few successfully, they all begin to speed up even more. The results can be frustrating for younger and inexperienced players. The best way to involve younger players, we think, is to let a grown-up or more-skilled player play through the nanogames for the first time, and then once a group has been completed, choose to replay the nanogame. This lets younger kids have a better chance to be more successful and enjoy the experience since they can focus on doing the same task over and over.
The other mode of SpongeBob SquigglePants is an art mode. The layout of the screen closely resembles the actual layout of the uDraw Tablet with the Wii-mote inserted, so it makes it very easy to change your drawing tool, switch colors, choose stamps or even select coloring books. The options are somewhat limited though, but if you’re looking for a more robust art experience you’ll likely want to play with the uDraw Art Studio that comes with the uDraw tablet. One of the things we thought was really cool about the art mode was the ability to focus on a SpongeBob character’s color palette when you are selecting colors. This makes it really easy, and fun, to color in Patrick like Squidward, or SpongeBob like Mr. Crab.
As a game that uses the uDraw Tablet, SpongeBob SquigglePants is designed as a single-player game. But because of the nature and replayability of the nanogames, it is possible to play it together. One way is to take turns trying each group of nanogames. Another would be to compete to see who can get the high score in each one, but unfortunately you’ll have to remember who scored what since the game doesn’t let you enter initials or name to accompany your score.
SpongeBob SquigglePants is a great display of the fun and functionality of THQ’s uDraw Tablet. It’s clear that the developers worked really closely with the SpongeBob creators, and this game should appeal to anyone who’s even casually a fan of the show. The quick-reflex gameplay required by the nanogames makes this hard to recommend for younger kids and toddlers, but older kids who have mastered the uDraw Tablet and Tweens should enjoy a nice challenge. Although not a traditional multi-player experience, there is a chance for families to take turns or challenge high scores as a way to play together. The art mode is fun and well-though out, but light on features and not really a selling point for SpongeBob SquigglePants.
INFORMATION FROM ANNOUNCEMENT PRESS RELEASE:
Fans of the shenanigans in Bikini Bottom will laugh their squigglepants off when the immensely popular uDraw GameTablet for Wii combines with the world’s most popular cartoon character in SpongeBob SquigglePants, scheduled to debut April 12 from THQ Inc.
Only the uDraw GameTablet can offer a SpongeBob SquarePants experience like this: Players will tilt, flip, shake, roll, flick, sketch, tap, trace and draw their way through more than 100 “nanogames” set in six zany worlds. SpongeBob SquigglePants takes full advantage of the unique capabilities of the uDraw, one of the most popular Wii accessories.
SpongeBob SquigglePants frenetically races players through a dizzying series of nanogames, which give them mere seconds to finish before moving right on to the next. As the experience progresses, each nanogame becomes faster and faster. Within this rapid-fire succession of nanogames, SpongeBob SquigglePants also treats players to never-before-seen SpongeBob art styles from the Nickelodeon vault. It’s the first time fans will see “Pixel Bob,” inspired by the 8-bit world of video games; “Punk Rock Bob” and “Comic Book Bob,” which turns the denizens of Bikini Bottom into super heroes; and many more.
The entire SpongeBob SquigglePants experience is hosted by the live-action character Patchy the Pirate, who not only guides players through the game, but also makes surprise appearances and interacts with players as they tackle the huge array of nanogames, offering an added level of under-the-sea fun.
“SpongeBob SquigglePants gives SpongeBob fans and Wii players an experience they’ve never had before,” said Martin Good, THQ’s Executive Vice President of Kids, Family and Casual Games. “It’s a collection of super-fast-paced games that capture the creative energy of SpongeBob SquarePants and let us really show off what the uDraw can do – hitting the funny bone at the same time.”
Since introducing the uDraw in November, THQ has shipped more than 1.2 million units of the innovative Wii device, which turns any TV into a virtual art studio. The uDraw GameTablet is scheduled to launch in international markets in February and March 2011, providing a worldwide market for SpongeBob SquigglePants.
SpongeBob SquigglePants also lets players digitally draw, paint and color with a free-form drawing function, or choose from dozens of SpongeBob-themed stamps. With the uDraw, they create a masterpiece worthy of a place in the Bikini Bottom Museum of Art – or their own refrigerator, thanks to the uDraw’s exclusive ability to export art to the Wii’s SD card slot. The SD card capability also makes it possible to share artwork with friends via e-mail or save it to computer desktops.
“The uDraw is an incredibly creative device, and we’re really happy to have SpongeBob be the very first cartoon character to star in a uDraw title,” said Manuel Torres, Senior Vice President, Global Toys and Video Games for Nickelodeon Consumer Products.
SpongeBob SquigglePants is scheduled to debut on April 12, only for uDraw, with a suggested retail price of $29.99. A Nintendo 3DS™ version of SpongeBob SquigglePants is planned to be released later in the spring, giving SpongeBob fans the chance to play the hilariously frenetic experience on the go, in 3-D.