Heâ€™s yellow, porous, hyperactive, and lives in a pineapple under the sea. SpongeBob SquarePants is once again causing mayhem for the residents of Bikini Bottom as he sets out on his latest gaming adventure, SpongeBob SquarePants: Lights Camera Pants!
The residents of Bikini Bottom are thrown into a panic when big shot director Gill Hammerstein arrives to shoot his new movie: The New Adventures of Mermaidman and BarnacleBoy. With nine acting roles to be filled, players havenâ€™t got a moment to spare as they take control of their favourite character to compete in a series of mini-games, and win a coveted spot in the movie.
Each audition segment takes place in a different location, under the supervision of a different Bikini Bottom character. Players immediately take control of a leading character, and with a quick set of instructions, are thrust into a mini-game. From the grimy Chum Bucket to the ever popular Sand Stadium, players must compete in three mini-games, and have the highest amount of points at the end to win the audition role. Each location features unique mini-games that can test even the sharpest reflexes. One game will have you competing in a SingStar style rock concert, while another will have you racing boats around an underwater race track. While some of the concepts used are fairly similar, no two games are the same, and provide a reasonable challenge with adjustable difficulty levels. Loading screens offer up instructions on how each game is played, but more often than not, trial and error is required to actually understand the games. Very young children playing will likely know what to do via osmosis, or will be completely confused. Luckily, each game has the option to be played in a practice mode, before you attempt to dazzle the supervisors overseeing each audition.
One of the most charming aspects of the game is the ability to jump straight into multiplayer mode. Each audition can be played with up to four characters from the very start, which makes the game ideal for parties. Admittedly, the game doesnâ€™t take long to play through. While similar style games dish out 60-80 mini-games, Lights Camera Pants! only manages to offer up 30. However, the fast paced, slightly shallow nature of the mini-games is ideal to the target audience, who - generally speaking - has the attention span to rival a gnat. There may be clever in-jokes and a liberal sprinkling of adult humour, but SpongeBob SquarePants is entertainment for the kids.
The graphics in Lights Camera Pants! stay true the SpongeBob cartoon episodes. The colours are bright and the animation is simple and effective. Each audition is followed by a zany cut scene which keeps the storyline moving, albeit in a strange direction. The character voices are superb and manage to take the focus away from the slightly repetitive dialogue. The music featured throughout the game is upbeat and bubbly, but not remarkable. The music from the Sand Stadium audition however, is funky, addictive and guaranteed to have you tapping your toes.
With an un-lockable directorâ€™s mode, different difficulty levels and sleek multiplayer style, the game has replayability value, but only just. The real charm lies in the fantastic and wacky humour that makes SpongeBob so entertaining in the first place. Lights Camera Pants! manages to successfully capture the true essence of SpongeBob, and will surely appeal to any fans of the cartoon series.