Saturday, September 18, 2010

Video game number two hundred and seventy four: Spongebob Boating Bash

Video game review number two hundred and seventy four in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Spongebob Boating Bash".

I have to be honest. I did not want to play this game this morning. Yes, at one point...I put this in my Gamefly queue because it sounded like it would be silly and fun, but when the game actually arrived in the mail earlier this week, I couldn't tear myself away from Halo Reach to play it.

Seriously...Reach has taken over my gaming time the way Call of Duty did when I first got that, or the way Halo 3 did many years back. It's just that good. Playing other games for this project (or for any other reason actually) seems like a chore of sorts. Reach is just that good.

I procrastinated until the weekend, figuring that I'd devote Saturday to playing a few different games before returning to Reach and finishing the campaign. That's not to say that I made my mind up to spend very little time with the games I had rented for the weekend (after all...God of War was actually pretty awesome and I played it for a few hours)....but when this one sucked, I wasn't sad about it.

I love me some Spongebob. Earlier this year, I very much enjoyed his platformer, and so I thought a "kart" game featuring Spongebob and friends driving around in boats trying to kill each other might be awesome as well.

Unfortunately, this game sucks out loud. It sucks in so many ways that we'd be here all day if I listed them all, so let's just do the list of BIG things that suck about it.

Number one flaw? You guessed it...the fucking Wii controls. Over this challenge, I have come to dislike the Nintendo Wii more than I've ever disliked a video game console before. I don't dislike it because it doesn't have a fun game here or there (despite what fanboys of other systems might say to dismiss it, it has plenty of good games). I dislike the Wii because the majority of their games suffer from a stupid, gimmicky control scheme which seems perfectly designed for hardcore gamers like me to loathe. The entire console seems like it was designed for people who never liked video games to begin with....and if you find one you like, it almost seems like an accident.

I realize Spongebob is a children's cartoon and that this is supposed to be a children's game, but I it's just ridiculously stupid. You hold the Wiimote sideways (or use the wheel) and you turn the controller like a steering wheel to control your boat. Gas and brake are the right two buttons, and then the A button "floors it" while the B button is your e-brake. The resulting control combo is a nightmare to play....and the 45 minutes to an hour that I spent with this game felt more like a dental visit than recreation. Honestly, I would have had more fun doing the would have been less work.

For anyone who thinks I should just "get over the controls", I have a suggestion for you. Tonight, play an entire game of Monopoly with your friends, only don't use your hands. Instead, you have to move your pieces, roll the dice, pick up cards, exchange properties and currencies by using your mouth. Sounds pretty stupid doesn't it? That's what the Wii does with every game it butchers by slapping a stupid control scheme into the mix.

The graphics are awful (another regular occurrence on the Wii), and make the original cartoon look like something from Pixar by comparison. The voices are pretty good, and the one-liners are there...but that's about it. This game looks like it could have been executed in almost the same detail on the Nintendo 64, and probably would have been a better game on that console because you wouldn't have to deal with the awful tilt controls.

I made it through the tutorial and played through several of the introductory levels, trying to get the hang of steering my stupid boat. Eventually, I could do it, though I wouldn't call it fun. Even though I was scoring B's and getting very close to the A rating, it was a struggle...and something I would have thrown back in the mail instantly if I wasn't trying to give it a fair try for this review.

I gave it a shot, and it was NOT a contender.

Overall Score? .5/10 One of the worst video games I've played this year. The only redeeming thing about this title is the voice acting. The jokes are funny (even though some were already getting repetitive after around an hour). I recognized several stars from the show, or at least some fantastic sound-alikes. Aside from that, I have nothing nice to say about this piece of shit. Avoid it at all costs.

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