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We Know Gamers with Neoco and Spongebob Squigglepants

For those who don’t remember SpongeBob, the comedy and joy the cartoon brought to many of us in our younger days but it’s not just the kids however, even the adults seemed to find a giggle from the many quests and escapades SpongeBob embarked on. This unique feel has been translated over into the upcoming SpongeBob Squigglepants game for the Wii in which I was invited over to Neoco HQ to give it a test run.

SpongeBob Squigglepants makes use of the uDraw game tablet, a peripheral designed by THQ. Using a stylus and the tablet, you can interact with the game in completely new and interesting ways; this is done through docking the Wii remote to the tablet to draw its battery power from it. The uDraw’s stylus also features a C and Z button, mimicking the Wii Nunchuck for less movement and smoother gameplay. The tablet itself is very durable and can very well survive the onslaught of the younger gaming crowd.
The uDraw game tablet.
For Wacom users or any other tablet brand, the uDraw only needs a slight adjustment to as in how much pressure you need to apply before anything actually happens, however for those that have never used either, it can be a completely different experience altogether. Luckily I have used a Wacom for digital artwork so I was pretty comfortable using the uDraw… So the introductions were over; the uDraw and I were ready to go so bring it on SpongeBob Squigglepants.

The game was comprised of mini games, represented by art pieces in a gallery with the main drawing studio in the middle. Each art piece consisted of several mini games in which you had to beat a target to unlock the next set, but it’s not so simple. You only get a short amount of time to complete each mini game plus things speed up as you advance to higher levels. I found myself tilting, tapping, drawing and flicking the uDraw game tablet at an incredibly fast pace that is sure to tire even the most hardened gamer.
Spongebob Squigglepants interface.
The artwork for the mini games were also inspired from the cartoon showing off bold and vibrant worlds for the player to play in although to truly see for yourself, I recorded a short segment from one of the mini games below.

Other then the 100+ mini games there was also the drawing studio. Here you could well basically draw whatever you wanted on an empty canvas. You were supplied with a paint brush, stamps of characters from the SpongeBob cartoon, a paint bucket to fill up the page and a rubber to erase any mistakes. The only problem I had with this was that it was very limited in terms of tools and the things you can do, however keeping in mind that the game was made for a younger age group, I found it appropriate that the interface was simplified and the tools were kept to a minimum but seeing how much potential the uDraw actually had it just seemed a real shame that the Drawing studio couldn’t have been given a little bit more.

At the end of it all, SpongeBob Squigglepants looks to entertain and entertain it certainly does. I couldn’t count the number of times I laughed at the sight of tapping the uDraw to make sandy chop wood or help SpongeBob and Patrick escape. I’d like to thank Neoco for inviting me over to preview the game as it seems that not just me but all ages will be getting a giggle out of this.

On a final note, I was surprised at how the uDraw could be implemented into the gameplay mechanics and it’ll be interesting to see what the developers come up with next for the peripheral.

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