SpongeBob SquarePants featuring Nicktoons: Globs of Doom DS Review - 26/11/2008

Nickelodeon, and all the characters related to it have fast become one of the biggest franchises in videogames, mainly due to the target audience instead of a high level of quality.

At the forefront of this kid's TV onslaught is the sponge who wears square pants, SpongeBob Squarepants, a character who is the star of nearly all Nickelodeon titles these days. His next adventure, SpongeBob Squarepants Featuring Nicktoons Globs of Doom, sees him team up with his fellow TV cartoon stars in a co-op platform action game. But is this one of the best Nicktoons games?

The big hook for fans of the channel is the alliance between the good guys and the bad guys; characters like Jimmy Neutron and Plankton are forced to work together despite apparently being on different sides. This is due to the titular Goo; a force that has taken over all the worlds of Nicktoons, and spread a green snot-like substance so that neither the heroes nor the villains can stop them. What they didn't expect is the teamwork that the two sides would have on their side, which becomes the main premise of the unsurprisingly thin story. It'll be enough fan service for the 6 and 7 year olds who play the game, but doesn't even attempt to do anything more plot wise. What it does do though is it makes the team-up idea of the game the focus, a feature that spreads to the game play of the game.

It's Spongebob and Nickelodeon's favourites in a game - that should tell you enough.

The game is split into 5 Nicktoons worlds, ranging from Bikini Bottom to the Deep Jungle, and in each of the three levels each world has you can play as two select characters; a hero and a villain, swapping between them throughout the stage. This swapping manoeuvre, done through a quick tap of the X button, allows access to a whole new set of abilities, and when each of the 7 characters in the game has a completely different move set, this makes a lot of available techniques. For example, in the opening level SpongeBob has the ability to create a bubble which can lift both him and his partner Technus to a higher level. This, in conjunction with other team based skills makes or a game of working out where each of you characters needs to be to use their abilities to their full potential. The level design makes these techniques obvious though, good for the target audience of the younger child.

But the problem with this team work game play in Single Player is having to switch between the characters all the time. But for once, this problem has been rectified with a co-op mode. You can play through any of the levels with a friend, making the teamwork puzzles that bit more enjoyable. It's offline only though, and requires two copies of the game, but for those who are one for some multiplayer DS action; Globs of Doom fits pretty well. That's not to say that the game play or level design doesn't have other problems, but when expectations are this low, it's nice to see that the developers have put some effort in. The game is way too short for instance; you can blast through the 15 levels in around an hour, way too short for a game with this much promise. This is a problem, and should be taken into consideration when making buying decisions for those who are fans of the series.

The game is unfortunately far too short, though co-op play is very welcome.

As a DS game, Globs of Doom doesn't match up to today's standards. The system is capable of recreating the marvel of the cartoons themselves, but instead we get a blocky, albeit colourful sidescroller that seems to forget that it's not on GBA. The backgrounds do a good job of recreating the atmosphere of the shows though, which sadly can't be said for the repetitive sound design. The sounds become overly used very early on, and the boring music only makes this worse. It's a shame that the care that was taken with the game play wasn't taken with the aesthetics too.

It's easy to be surprised by SpongeBob Squarepants Featuring Nicktoons Globs of Doom, as care has actually been taken with the game play in making it both interesting and original. The teamwork element, and co-op connectivity makes this enjoyable up to a point; the point when you realise just how bad the graphics and concept really is. This is sadly just for die hard Nicktoons fans, and if that's you and you're over the age of 10, then prepare to get some weird looks when you ask for this in your local GAME. It's not great yet, but at least THQ are getting closer to making SpongeBob games into something more than just a money making machine, but a worthwhile play.

- Sam Atkins


The gameplay is enjoyable, especially the co-op.


Fans of the show will lap it up.

Way too short.

Graphics aren't DS quality.


SpongeBob is still on the cover.