Licensed video games based on properties of other media; be it books, TV shows or movies; are a type of product that dates back to the early days of game development. In fact, the years 1982 AND the alien for Atari 2600 is considered a major contributor to the 1983 video game crash. However, not all licensed games are bad, and in 2021 there is even a huge resurgence thanks to games like Insomniac’s Marvel’s Spider-Man. Now it looks like the TV channel Nickelodeon also pushes to get back into the bath.
While it also offers live programming, Nickelodeon is arguably best known for its line of cartoons that aired in the 1990s and 2000s. Popular Nicktoons ranging from The Ren & Stimpy Showthe dark themes and the violence of My sponsors are magic‘The imaginative wonder of childhood stands out to this day, and SpongeBob SquarePants is still a pop culture icon some 22 years after her show debuted. Although Nick still runs newer programs like The noisy house, its “golden age” has inspired more than a few licensed video games, and a list of new releases reminds those nostalgic fans.
Back to Old-school SpongeBob SquarePants
As Sponge Bob SquarePants is Nickelodeon’s perpetual cash cow, it’s no surprise that the show continues to appear in various venues to this day. The chain’s parent company, ViacomCBS, often includes a SpongeBob float in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving parade alongside properties like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Where Blue indices, and he even introduced a new SpongeBob balloon in 2019. Not to mention the Sponge Bob SquarePants spinoff movies and shows that crop up after creator Stephen Hillenburg died in 2018.
Unlike other popular Nickelodeon cartoons such as The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Sponge Bob SquarePants has also continuously released new video games beyond what would have been considered its prime. Mobile games like SpongeBob: Patty Pursuit was released as recently as May 2020. However, things have really rebooted for the character with SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle For Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated, a remake of the fan favorite 3D platformer of 2003.
Released by THQ Nordic last year, Rehydrated was a throwback to a game that many players grew up with. Its aggregate of “overwhelmingly positive” reviews on Steam at the time of writing this article suggests that it has been a success, despite some issues with the redesigned title. Not everyone liked the art style and some new additions were considered superfluous, but ultimately the game managed to achieve its goal of reverting to SpongeBob’s many 3D platformer titles from the mid-2000s. It even reintroduced concepts cut from the original game like a giant mechanical boss from Squidward.
Obviously THQ Nordic and SpongebobIP owners have had the good feeling that Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated would succeed, because a little over a year later came the announcement of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake at the THQ Nordic 10th Anniversary Showcase. If anything can be said for the game based on its trailer, developer Purple Lamp Studios is clearly hoping to continue scratching fans’ nostalgic itches. With references to a number of iconic episodes from the start Spongebob, namely putting it all on David Glen Eisley’s “Sweet Victory” as heard in the infamous Season 2 episode “Band Geeks”, it will probably succeed in attracting more audiences.
Bring the Nicktoons back from the dead
As previously mentioned, SpongeBob SquarePants wasn’t the only Nickelodeon character to receive video games in the past. It could be considered part of the golden age of the network going through a game like 2005 Nicktoons unite! who paired SpongeBob SquarePants with Danny Fenton, Timmy Turner and Jimmy Neutron. While this trend has continued to some extent with things like the Nickelodeon kart racers series, he probably took a turn with Nickelodeon Star Brawl.
Star Brawl is, for all intents and purposes, a Super Smash Bros. clone. It’s a 2D fighting game featuring an increasingly diverse roster of characters from Nickelodeon series, including Rugrats, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and even older or more obscure programs like Aaahh !!! Real monsters. However, while a similar company like the one in 2011 Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion received poor reception and is largely forgotten, Nickelodeon Star Brawl is making waves.
The upcoming game is being developed in part by Ludosity, a studio known for its fighting game. slap the city. In addition to this pedigree, Star Brawl intrigued casual and competitive fans alike with its balance of memes references and deeper gameplay mechanics like wavedashing – made famous by Super Smash Bros. Melee. His willingness to dig into more bygone shows such as Invader Zim also puts it a cut above something like PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, who apparently focused their list on advertising current properties rather than appeasing fans with old-school icons.
Whether SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Where Nickelodeon Star Brawl will be “good games” when released is still unknown, but it is easy to have hope for their success. Nickelodeon is jumping hard into the licensed games market with a push towards fan nostalgia that feels like more than just a marketing gimmick. It seems that developers care about the properties they tailor and want to present consumers with something that they can appreciate as well. Regardless of their success, this is hopefully a good sign for how licensed game development is moving from here, whether it is for Nickelodeon properties or whatever.
MORE: Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl Has The Coins For A Strong Competitive Scene
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is announced during Nintendo Direct, and that sounds pretty ambitious.
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