"Aww, too bad! Hitch up your poop deck and try again! YEEEAAAHHH!!!"
Yeah, that pirate from Spongebob told me to hitch up my poop deck. Nick and I couldn't stop staring at the screen. "What the hell would my 'poop deck' be, creepy fan-club-card-carrying pirate?" Ah, Spongebob. You elicit a few different reactions from the over-twenty crowd, you know. Either people absolutely love you (and wear the PJs and boxer shorts) or they want to eat your pineapple under the sea just to see you homeless.
[image1]But this isn't about the character of Spongebob (or the rest of the undersea gang), but how does the game play? Put bluntly, it's WarioWare. The game consists of a handful of "beat 20 games" challenges comprised of what seems like only a handful of "micro-games" each. There are probably more, as I found others after I had beaten the challenges, but they tend to loop incessantly; in a 20-round span I played the same one probably six or seven times. There are only so many times I'll be interested in putting ketchup on a burger patty.
On top of the looping games, you probably know what the next downside would be: It's incredibly short. I basically ripped it wide open in around an hour. An hour. Back in the NES (and even SNES) days, an hour wasn't a terrible time to clock in at, but it even then it was considered a pretty short experience. I spent more time working through every level of Super Mario Brothers 3 or reaching for the sky in Bubble Bobble, and I had a lot of fun in those short spans because there was always something different to play.
[image2]The real disappointment here is that none of the voice acting or characters are actually here, save for the creepy pirate fellow telling me to "hitch up my poop deck". Sure, the designs of the characters show up, but they don't speak at all, just more like "insert character of choice here". Any dev could swap out the Sponge and put in Bakugan, or Sonic, or Pikachu, and it would be exactly the same experience (well, dunno if the creepy pirate would come along for the ride, though he did keep mentioning a meeting with his agent when I waited a little while on the select screen).
But really, as far as reflex games, this isn't too terrible to play. Each "beat 20 games" setup has its own personality and artistic style - along with some fitting and pretty cool music to match - so it's not a total loss. I can't say it's worth retail price for something that reeks of Wario's attitude ("I wanna make-ah tha MONEY!"), but I've played much, much worse with characters I like more. To this game I say, "There are no tears in pirating! Hoist up your anchor and try again!"