Rehydrated is a remake of the Heavy Iron Studios version of the original Battle for Bikini Bottom, which was originally released in 2003. The player controls SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy to defend Bikini Bottom from a robot army created by Plankton. Rehydrated includes all of the original game's content and adds a new multiplayer mode, which will feature content that was cut from the original game.
Rehydrated was being developed by Purple Lamp Studios and published by THQ Nordic. It was officially revealed on June 5, 2019; the first gameplay footage was shown at Gamescom 2019 a month later. Special physical editions were made available for pre-order in October 2019; digital pre-orders became available on April 16, 2020.
The game follows the same plot as the original. THQ Nordic's announcement featured the following overview: "Are you ready, kids? The cult classic is back, faithfully remade in spongetastic splendor! Play as SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy and show the evil Plankton that crime pays even less than Mr. Krabs. Want to save Bikini Bottom from lots of rampant robots? Of course, you do! Want to underpants bungee jump? Why wouldn’t you! Want to join forces in a brand new multiplayer mode? The battle is on!"
The core gameplay involves collecting items and defeating the robots which have attacked various areas in Bikini Bottom, while crossing platforms and avoiding environmental hazards like spikes and flames. Some areas require different characters to beat, as each character has their own unique abilities. The player can control SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy. Switching characters requires the player to find a Bus Stop, upon using which the current character will switch to another, and using it again will switch back to the previous character, giving the player an option of two characters in each level. The default character throughout the game is SpongeBob; Sandy and Patrick do not share any levels as playable characters.
Throughout the game, the player will collect Shiny Objects, Socks, and Golden Spatulas. Shiny Objects are dropped by enemies and scattered throughout levels, and can be used to pay clams to progress through levels and unlock extra challenges. They can also be traded with Mr. Krabs for Golden Spatulas. Socks are placed in levels in harder to reach locations, and 10 of them can be traded to Patrick for a Golden Spatula. Golden Spatulas are used to unlock new areas in the game, and 75 of them are required to fight the final boss.
A new addition to the remake is a multiplayer horde mode in which two players face waves of robotic enemies. The mode includes cut content from the original game, including a fight against a robotic Squidward, a scrapped version of Patrick's dream, and a cut phase of the Robo-SpongeBob fight.
All of the following voice roles were performed for the original Battle for Bikini Bottom. The archived recordings of the original lines were reused for Rehydrated.
In the credits, Brad Abrell is misspelled as "Brad Arbe," and Larry the Lobster is misspelled as "Lary the Lobster."
Mr. Krabs and Mermaid Man are the only two characters who are not voiced by their original actors, Clancy Brown and Ernest Borgnine, and are instead both voiced by Joe Whyte. Tim Conway passed away in 2019, making Rehydrated's use of his archived recordings as Barnacle Boy his first posthumous role.
Karen Plankton appears throughout the Chum Bucket without any spoken lines. Several incidental fish models also appear as non-speaking background characters.
There have been online petitions from fans wanting a Battle for Bikini Bottom remake as far back as 2014. According to Gematsu, the game is "faithfully remade in spongetastic splendor."
THQ Nordic created a Flash-animated teaser trailer to announce the game. In it, SpongeBob wears his helmet from the original Battle for Bikini Bottom and even does the original pose from the box art. The trailer was released alongside a piece of concept artwork, showing shaded artwork of the playable characters: SpongeBob on top of a defeated robot, Patrick eating a throw fruit, and Sandy swinging on her lasso.
Rehydrated will also feature content that was cut from the original iteration of the game, including Robo-Squidward. A well-known speedrunner of the original game, known as SHiFT, helped to test the remake and consulted with the developers.
Players who pre-ordered Rehydrated digitally on Steam received a 10% discount on the pre-tax purchase price, as well as free access to the game's remastered soundtrack.
THQ Nordic also created two physical special editions of Rehydrated: the Shiny Edition (priced at USD$150) and the F.U.N. Edition (priced at USD$300).
The Shiny Edition, named after the Shiny Objects, contained the game on the user's chosen platform, an 8"/20cm SpongeBob figurine, a set of wall stickers, a set of litographs, and a pair of Battle for Bikini Bottom-themed tennis socks. The SpongeBob figurine features him holding a Golden Spatula while performing a victory screech, with Gary next to him, both standing on top of a broken Slick head. SpongeBob is held up by bubbles behind him, and his tongue is flexible and can be moved up or down.
The F.U.N. Edition, named after the eponymous episode, contained all of the contents from the Shiny Edition, a 7"/18cm Patrick figurine, an 8"/20cm Sandy figurine, and a set of keyrings featuring the tikis from the game. The Patrick figurine features him holding a Throw Fruit while standing on the pieces of another, broken Throw Fruit, with two of his socks nearby. The Sandy figurine features her swinging her lasso above her head, standing in front of a Wood Tiki, with bubbles rising from the ground behind her.
For level-specific changes, see the level's article.
The following is a list of general gameplay and graphical changes in Rehydrated compared to the original console games:
The graphics and visuals are significantly improved. As part of this, many of the tikis and robots have received redesigns and the character models have changed.
Purple Lamp Studios noted that the original game's 3D model for SpongeBob was based on his season 2 design. In this game, SpongeBob appears to be based on his season 12 design.
Other small details have also been added or changed to reference newer episodes since the original game's release.
The opening scene from the original was done in a 3D plane albeit designed for 4:3, though the background outside of it is shown using unofficial widescreen/fov hacks and the beach background was dithered plus the "SpongeBob SquarePants in" logo was present; this version was redone using the 2016 opening part of the FMV footage.
Danger areas appear on the ground for projectiles that can hurt the player, including Tar-Tar's shots, Chuck's missiles, and Robo-Patrick's toxic waste.
Robots' eyes are green when idle, but now turn red when chasing the player, similar to the buckethead enemies' antennas from The SpongeBob Movie Game.
Character animations are more fluid. Characters move and emote more naturally during conversations, and their mouths fully articulate instead of just flapping up and down.
All three playable characters feature new idle animations.
Mr. Krabs' prices of Shiny Objects for Golden Spatulas are increased. Instead of adding 500 more per price, he now adds 3,000 more Shiny Objects to each price upon buying one.
The Golden Spatula collection in the pause menu is replaced by a map of the game's levels. Selecting a level will bring up a Golden Spatula list of that level similar to the original.
Karen appears throughout the Chum Bucket in a new design that is a mix of her wall form and mobile form: the monitor is attached to the wall and has a control panel like her wall form, but it also has a stalk under it like her mobile form. In the original version of the game, her wall form was used.
A new sound effect plays when advancing through menus and text boxes.
Golden Spatulas, Underwear, Patrick's socks, and level-specific items are contained in bubbles instead of simply floating.
If the player uses Sandy's lasso move in mid-air, Sandy will now stay in mid-air for a second.
If the player uses Sandy's lasso move on a tiki, that tiki will now contract for a second before it breaks.
The player can now use Patrick's forward belly attack in mid-air.
Timers now appear in the center of the screen instead of in a box in the upper-right corner.
The Bubble Bowl now follows the camera in the center upon preparing to throw it.
While SpongeBob is in his SpongeBall form, he can now jump.
When using the Cruise Bubble, the bubble torpedo is now followed in third person rather than first person.
Patrick now slides on his back rather than his butt.
The player can now control sliding down much easier.
Boss battles are slightly faster.
During the opening cutscene, the cuts are replaced with fades to and from a black screen. Also, there was a bubble transition to SpongeBob's house which was removed, though the bubble sounds are still intact.
Subtitles can now be shown during cutscenes in addition to in-game conversations. This feature can be enabled or disabled via the settings menu.
Before a conversation begins or before you read a sign, there is an abrupt cut to black before fading up.
The push-buttons have been modified to determine what action is needed to press it; for example, a bowling pin represents the Bubble Bowl, while a crosshairs symbol represents the Cruise Bubble.
In the secret ending, SpongeBob no longer wears his Krusty Krab hat.
The title screen and secret ending use the official theme song instead of the version made for the original game.
Loading screens appear each time after the player loses all underpants or fall into a death pit.
The level music also resets upon death instead of continuing uninterrupted.
The background for SpongeBob's Dream is replaced with a blue sky with clouds and rainbows.
The player must now hold the action button for Sandy to use her Lasso on the Texas Trailer Hitches.
Bosses can only be fought once, instead of in the original where they can be replayed through the menu. So unless the player finishes the game 100% the first time, they won't be able to see the secret ending.
The concept art gallery in the movie theater is replaced with a gallery of still images from the game.
The Exit sign on top of the entrance to "SpongeBob's Dream" has been removed.
The bubble loading screen from the original now acts as a quick transition animation which plays before the actual loading screens.
Some unused dialogue from the original has been reinserted (primarily dialogue spoken by the playable characters during gameplay).
It is no longer possible to revisit the SpongeBall Arena after completing the game for the first time.
SpongeBob's primary attack is slightly slower than the original.
Conversely, Sandy's Karate and Lasso attacks and Patrick's ground slam attacks are faster than the original.
SpongeBob's reactions to Mr. Krabs' note and the news broadcast in his house now play every time the player re-watches them. In the original, his reactions only played during the first viewing.
The Flying Dutchman is now completely opaque. In the original, he was slightly transparent due to being a ghost.
This is the first SpongeBob SquarePants video game:
Multiple retailers, including Walmart, broke the street date on releasing Rehydrated, which was set on June 23, 2020. People were reportedly able to purchase and play the game at least a week in advance of the intended release date.
This is the second SpongeBob game to have an ESRB rating of E10+, following Plankton's Robotic Revenge. The original Battle for Bikini Bottom was rated Everyone; the "Everyone 10+" rating did not exist until 2005, two years after the original game was released.
The box art uses the 2009-2017 version of the SpongeBob SquarePants logo instead of the version of the logo being used at the time of the game's release.
The game's box art features a few key changes:
SpongeBob is in the same pose from the original game's box art, except his eyelids are fully open with only one "brow" furrowed instead of both and he is not wearing an army helmet.
The box art for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions depict the Krusty Krab in front of the lighthouse. The box art for the Nintendo Switch version adds SpongeBot SteelPants above the characters, but the Krusty Krab is missing from the shot. The box art for the PC version fits both the Krusty Krab and SpongeBot SteelPants.
The internal name of the game is "Pineapple," according to the game files.