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iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) Game Review

SpongeBob Moves In


Format: iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch)
Publisher: THQ
Developer: MTV Networks
RRP: £2.49
Age Restrictions: 3+
Release Date: 06 June 2013

As a character SpongeBob SquarePants has become a popular icon through the animated show, so it was only a matter of time before games based on the character flooded the market.

Review imageSpongeBob Moves In, published by Nickelodeon comes to the iPhone and iPad, one of a string of games published with the character across various platforms.

In the game you play SpongeBob, sort of, and your job in Bikini Bottom is to make the population happy by growing ingredients and making food, which gains you the currency of the game, jelly fish and coins, both of which are needed to invest in creating things and buying land for development.

The game is like many before in its basic premise, you make stuff which gets you more currency which allows you to make more stuff, and ultimately it’s a game with no end. Now, these have been popular on mobile devices and especially on Facebook and have a vast collection of gamers involved. Part of the hook is the time limitation on collecting what you are creating, which forces you to interact with the game on a regular basis and the ability to get others to help out.

As such SpongeBob Moves In offers nothing original, it’s just another iteration of a well-worn formula... So what’s it like to play?

Review imageLike most of these games you have the option to buy extra stuff, but be careful, following this path can change it from a game that originally cost a couple of quid to download, to a game which may cost you a small fortune. There is a notice which tells you that you can turn off the ability to purchase extras, but fails to tell you how this is done, possibly an expensive problem for the more non-technical parents.

So, you're in the town and you have to grow ingredients to make food. The game initially takes you through quite a dictatorial introduction to the game, it would have been nice if this had been optional as I spent a lot of time just responding to the game and not interacting with the world.

Finally you get some control and so I immediately started to explore the game's options. I ran the credits for the game, unfortunately the button to close the scrolling information failed to work, leaving me with an ugly orangey/brown dialogue box obscuring pretty much the whole of the playing area. Shutting the game down did not get rid of the box, closing off the possibility of playing the game forever, until I shut the whole phone off.

Review imageActually playing the game can be a frustrating experience, whilst it may work well on an iPad, on an iPhone, the size and sensitivity of the screen becomes an issue. Having created some food, the idea is to give it to one of your citizens to make them happy - as happiness progresses your ranking. Now, I don’t suffer from giant fingers, but trying to move the food from the list to the character became a frustrating experience. You can’t see what you’re moving and you spend way too much time tapping the area waiting for the game to react to your wishes, with no idea why the game won’t respond. Take too long and the other characters change their desires, so all your work was for nothing.

The characters and animation are good, but then the show was never hot on detail, so it wasn’t hard to make the game look good.

I guess if you or your kids are into SpongeBob then this is a pretty cheap game, so long as you disable its ability to raid your iTunes account. Whilst I’m not a personal fan of these sort of game, their popularity cannot be denied, so I’m sure it will find an audience willing to spend hours growing veg and feeding their characters, all the time expanding the world.


Charles Packer

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