SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the most popular cartoon characters to date. Nickelodeon’s new undersea TV show took the industry by storm, launching it to one of the biggest cartoons ever made. With a cartoon as big as SpongeBob SquarePants, it’s only fitting that there be a lot of games created with the characters and familiar environments from the show. These games are attempts to cash in on the property and bring everyone’s favorite yellow sponge to gaming consoles.
As many people know, this resulted in a lot of poorly-made games. With a focus more on getting the product out rather than trying to make it good, quality was often thrown out the door to make a quick buck. Nowadays, gamers are much more attuned to the signs of a bad game before it launches. The worst part about this is that SpongeBob deserves a lot better than painful rip-offs of pre-existing games.
That said, it’s not all bad news. There are a lot of SpongeBob games that proved good interactive adventures could be made with the property. While none of these games are groundbreaking, they attracted their fair share of fans, to the point where some are requesting HD remasters to this day. It’s impressive what can be done with a popular character and a good game.
We’re taking a deep dive under the sea as we look at 15 of the worst SpongeBob SquarePants video games (and 15 that are actually good). Where does your favorite fall on the list?
30 Worst: Atlantis SquarePantis
A game released as a tie-in to the TV special of the same name, Atlantis SquarePantis brought gamers to the city of Atlantis and hoped to have then enamored in this new adventure with SpongeBob and his friends. Unfortunately, the game had a boring design and levels that were by-the-numbers. Nothing was ever done with the game to try and elevate it beyond a normal cartoon video game. While each level is fairly short, the game makes each one feel like a slog.
29 Best: Battle For Bikini Bottom
Often the go-to when it comes to examples of good SpongeBob games, Battle for Bikini Bottom takes all the right notes from 3D platformers that came before and adds its own undersea twist to them. SpongeBob is thrown in all sorts of wacky scenarios that are each more enjoyable than the last. Couple that with some genuine mechanics that were actually thought out, and you have one of Nickelodeon’s best games to date. This is the game that most people want to see re-released.
28 Worst: Nicktoons Racing
Another day, another shameless rip-off of Mario Kart. It wasn’t long before Nickelodeon decided to hop on the kart racer train with their own half-baked release. Nicktoons Racing has all of the familiar characters from the network that you’d expect, but bland track design and tacked-on power-ups hold it back at every turn. The graphics are nowhere near as charming as the game that inspired it either. Nickelodeon has another kart racer coming up later this year, so let’s hope that they get it right.
27 Best: Lights, Camera, Pants
While you won’t be hopping around any special boards, Lights, Camera, Pants is a Mario Party clone in all of the best ways. Not only can choose from the most iconic characters from the show, but you’re placed in all sorts of wacky and extremely fun mini-games, which are the stars of the release. You can play with up to four people and do a regular story mode, or just go straight to the mini-games and have a fun time. Honestly, it was better than some of the more recent Mario Party games.
26 Worst: SpongeBob HeroPants
When other studios create action games without understanding what makes a good action game, you’re in for a rough time. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what we got with SpongeBob HeroPants, a game released as a tie-in to Sponge Out of Water. You can play as different characters and use their powers in combat, but there’s little variety, making each level blend together and feel boring. Every cliché box is ticked, making this game not worth it unless you’re a diehard SpongeBob fan.
25 Best: Nicktoons Unite
Nicktoons Unite isn’t one of the greatest action games ever released, but there was a lot of novelty behind it. Back when crossover games weren’t all that popular, this action game brought together SpongeBob from SpongeBob SquarePants, Danny from Danny Phantom, Jimmy from Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, and Timmy from The Fairly OddParents. The game supported up to four players as they were tasked with beating up bad guys and saving the day. It was a fun time and successful enough to spawn sequels.
24 Worst: SpongeBob SquigglePants
A game made entirely for the uDraw tablet but with no reason to make it a requirement, SpongeBob SquigglePants is a perfect example of what can go wrong with a beloved property in video games. The game forces players to use the tablet to complete a series of mini-games, but it’s neither as charming or inventive as Lights, Camera, Pants, which does the same thing much better. None of the games are particularly interesting, and using the uDraw tablet makes the whole experience more convoluted.
23 Best: Creature From The Krusty Krab
Creature from the Krusty Krab is different from most SpongeBob games up to that point. In a lot of ways, it was revolutionary for what cartoon games could be. Instead of doing something everyone expected, the game takes a page from all sorts of gameplay styles to create a unique experience that’s worth trying out. All of the levels have their own gimmicks, and they’re all designed well. It was an ambitious SpongeBob, but one that ended up being the most beloved of the bunch.
22 Worst: SpongeBob Tickler
SpongeBob Ticker Lite sounds like a weird game, and that’s because it is. More of a mobile app than a full game, it presents with you a SpongeBob on your phone screen. You can tap and drag him around to get him to interact and say different things. That’s about all there is to it. The lip syncing is always a bit off, his animations are stiff, and there’s not much value to having this on your phone more than maybe a few minutes. Just move on to better apps.
21 Best: SpongeBob SquarePants The Movie
Who would’ve thought that a video game tie-in to a movie would be so good? SpongeBob SquarePants the Movie (we’re talking about the game), brings together a lot of solid elements that were established in prior releases while adding a few new, fun mechanics of its own. On top of that, the writing is just as smart in the game as it is in the show, which is a rare sight for games based on cartoons. Combining tight platforming, exciting levels, and intense driving sequences, this is one of the better movie tie-ins.
20 Worst: SpongeBob Diner Dash
Diner Dash was one of the most popular PC games that extended into mobile releases. With countless copies, Nickelodeon thought it was SpongeBob’s turn to get into the action. While a SpongeBob Diner Dash set in the Krusty Krab could’ve been exciting, the resulting game was bland and nothing more than a clone that’s not as good as the original. To make matters worse, the game constantly shoves purchasing the full game down your throat on top of being almost entirely devoid of the trademark humor of the show.
19 Best: Truth Or Square
Truth or Square is a perfect example of how you please diehard fans of a show while still making a good game. SpongeBob needs to remember the Secret Formula, and has to go through his best memories (all originating from the show) in order to find it again. The trick is that he has to fight robots now. Reliving all of the yellow sponge’s greatest moments is a great time that’s helped by excellent level design, smart writing, and plenty of unlockables to warrant longer play sessions.
18 Worst: SpongeBob Vs The Big One: Beach Party Cook Off
In a direct attempt to cash in on both the success of SpongeBob Squarepants and Cooking Mama, SpongeBob Vs the Big One: Beach Party Cook Off is game that throws players through several cooking mini-games to create different food. Unfortunately, as a copy of Cooking Mama, the game isn’t as tight or charming. Furthermore, it throws you into the action nonstop, almost never taking a break to enhance the story or develop more gameplay mechanics. It was a game cooked with a simple recipe.
17 Best: Boating Bash
Boating Bash takes a smart approach to cashing in on kart racers. The trick is that it doesn’t try to copy Mario Kart. Instead, the game takes the formula and applies it to a demolition derby where SpongeBob and all of his friends are. Up to four players can partake in some intense levels and games where destruction is the name of the game. It’s not something that’s fun playing by yourself, but with the right kind of people, can be just as fun as any racing game.
16 Worst: Plankton’s Robotic Revenge
Plankton’s Robotic Revenge is one of the most boring and dull SpongeBob games ever created. Its premise is nothing more than Plankton trying to steal the Secret Formula yet again, which leads to a series of repetitive action levels that repeat enemies designs, and even bosses over and over. It doesn’t look great, doesn’t play great, and falls flat on every attempt to recreate the humor of the show. Whatever you do, stay away from this game, even if you’re a fan.
15 Best: Atlantis SquarePantis DS
As is the case with a lot of games, Atlantis SquarePantis was given releases across more than one platform. The Wii version is the one on our “worst” spot, but the DS version is leagues better. While it still suffers from similar problems, having an entirely different build of the game allowed to stand on its own. The levels were fun, the environments weren’t total rehashes, and there was actual charm to the adventure. It was one of those odd cases where the handheld version was better than the console version.
14 Worst: Sponge On The Run
Sponge on the Run is one of those endless runner apps you can download on mobile devices. The reason the game is one of our picks for the “worst” is because it’s clearly emulating other games that have done the concept better. Without any unique tricks or competitive edge, there’s no reason to play it over other endless runners. Even then, endless runners are only fun for so long before you start to get bored and move onto something else. Sponge on the Run is no exception.
13 Best: Employee Of The Month
SpongeBob: Employee of the Month was an older PC point-and-click game. It followed SpongeBob as he got tickets to a special event. He then had to collect items for various Bikini Bottom citizens along the way. While the game had some awkward visuals, the environments were all structured to look like they had been ripped straight out of the show. Some of the animations were quite charming as well, leading to an overall pleasant experience that paved the way for other great SpongeBob games.
12 Worst: Revenge Of The Flying Dutchman
SpongeBob: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman feels like a pre-alpha version of Battle for Bikini Bottom. It was when the games started playing around with SpongeBob in a 3D space. Some of the environments don’t work that well in the game, nor do the cutscenes. The biggest problem of all is how short the game is, adding to the belief that it was just an experiment for the mechanics that would later be better utilized in Battle for Bikini Bottom.
11 Best: SpongeBob: SuperSponge
SpongeBob SuperSponge was released for the PlayStation One and experimented with the world of the show in a 2D space. SpongeBob was thrown into a platformer game with plenty of items to collect, equipment to use, and levels to beat. While acquiring third-party voice actors for the characters was a terrible decision, there was a lot of charm to this one. It was deemed popular enough at the time to even get re-labeled as one of the console’s “Greatest Hits.”
10 Worst: SpongeBob’s Game Frenzy
SpongeBob’s Game Frenzy is a mobile game that takes a lot of inspiration from the WarioWare series. It has a lot of small mini-games to play that are all references to episodes in the show. Unfortunately, nobody would care about the game if they didn’t feature iconic scenes from the cartoon. Furthermore, the graphics and animations are so stiff and lifeless, which is in stark contrast to how good the show has looked since it premiered. It’s a game made without passion.
9 Best: Drawn To Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition
Drawn to Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition is a spin-off of the Drawn to Life games, but with a familiar twist. Players can create some iconic or weird-looking characters, enemies, and obstacles to inhabit the world of Bikini Bottom. On top of this creative freedom, the game is a solid platformer with plenty of charm to make it past the realm of mediocre cartoon games. It also helps that the game centers around the DoodleBob episode, making it even appeal to older fans of the show.
8 Worst: Nicktoons: Globs Of Doom
A game technically titled SpongeBob SquarePants featuring Nicktoons: Globs of Doom, it is another entry in the Nicktoons series where popular Nickelodeon characters team up to solve a multi-dimensional threat. Unfortunately, this results in a half-baked beat-em-up that doesn’t have the charm of its previous releases. The enemies are all the same, and the combat never evolves from the first level. If you’ve played the first few minutes, you might as well have played the entire game at that point.
7 Best: The Yellow Avenger
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Yellow Adventure is a return to the point-and-click style that put Employee of the Month on the map. This time around, more care and attention is put into the game that makes it one of the better SpongeBob games ever made. Players can roam through Bikini Bottom to explore different, iconic locations that are all connected by fun and well-designed platforming segments. The writing is a lot better this time around, and the visuals are also given much more care.
6 Worst: Nicktoons: Freeze Frame Frenzy
When Nickelodeon decided to bring some of their most iconic characters together in a single game, most people expected something exciting and epic. Instead, Nicktoons: Freeze Frame Frenzy tries to rip off Pokemon Snap and throw players in different Nickelodeon show locations and take pictures of various characters and objects. It’s not a fun concept, and it doesn’t look particularly good for being on the GameBoy Advance either. It was a waste of potential, and there’s not much reason to play it.
5 Best: Nicktoons: Attack Of The Toybots
Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots properly expands on the concept started in Nicktoons Unite. Not only is the roster of playable characters much more fleshed out this time around, but it’s paired with some stellar voice acting and levels that don’t overstay their welcome. This is another one of those games that has a DS version that is somehow better than the console version, but whatever version you play, you’re likely to have a good time (especially if you’re a fan of Invader Zim).
4 Worst: Nicktoons MLB
A baseball game with a crazy amount of characters from SpongeBob SquarePants, Invader Zim, and even Avatar: The Last Airbender going head-to-head with MLB teams seems like a recipe for success (all while Perch Perkins and GIR are announcing). Unfortunately, Nicktoons MLB still finds a way to screw it up. There isn’t anything done with the concept to make it more exciting, and as a standard baseball simulator, it’s not all that well-done. The character designs are hit or miss, and the fun is kept to a minimum.
3 Best: Operation Krabby Patty
Believe it or not, SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Krabby Patty became one of the best-selling PC games of its time. It had a charming premise, where SpongeBob goes through a different adventure depending on which side of the bed the player wakes up on. From there, you get to go through some cute cutscenes that recapture the show while playing through some fun mini-games. The game is short, but that’s probably for the best. Any longer, and it likely would’ve overstayed its welcome.
2 Worst: SpongeBob’s Surf And Skate Roadtrip
SpongeBob’s Surf and Skate Roadtrip was a game released for the Kinect. Honestly, we could just end it there. Noticeably bad and glitchy controls aside, this is a game without a lot of substance. From the moment you go through the menus, everything feels boring and lifeless. The two types of play are either skateboarding or surfboarding, neither of which are different enough to justify them as totally unique aspects of the game. There is just a lot of things wrong with the game.
1 Best: SpongeBob Moves In
SpongeBob Moves In is another mobile game, but one that has a lot of merit to it. You get to build your own version of Bikini Bottom, complete with iconic buildings and locations seen in the show. The more you build the city, the more you’ll attract iconic characters who give certain benefits. The only downside is that the game still tries to push microtransactions despite being only available behind a pay wall. That said, it’s a fun time that fans of the show should consider purchasing.