Thursday, May 5, 2011

SpongeBob fans get a wacky new drawing game

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Last November, THQ introduced a novel peripheral for the Wii called the uDraw GameTablet. By connecting a Wii remote into a special compartment on the side of this drawing tablet, kids can use an attached stylus to draw art on the tablet that appears on your TV screen. The uDraw GameTablet came bundled with art software in a package called uDraw Studio ($69.99). For families that are interested in art, it is a nifty package offering fun creativity using the Wii.

  • THQ's


    THQ's "SpongeBob SquigglePants" for the Wii uses the uDraw GameTablet as the controller, letting kids draw their way through over 100 minigames.


THQ's "SpongeBob SquigglePants" for the Wii uses the uDraw GameTablet as the controller, letting kids draw their way through over 100 minigames.

At the time of release of uDraw Studio, THQ also developed two other games to play using the uDraw GameTablet: the well-done version of the family favorite board game uDraw Pictionary($29.99); and uDraw Doods Big Adventure ($29.99), an action game where you design your own character.

The newest game for the uDraw GameTablet is SpongeBob SquigglePants. This game requires that families already own the uDraw GameTablet, since all of the game play is done using that device as your controller.

With the nine-by-seven inch tablet on your lap, you enter the world of Patchy the Pirate, the president of the SpongeBob SquarePants Fan Club. Patchy, a live-action character played by actor Tom Kenny (who also voices the character of SpongeBob), invites you to join the club, but before he will grant you membership, you must prove your worthiness.

To show that you are a true SpongeBob devotee, you must explore Patchys art gallery, which serves as the main menu for this game. While there are loads of paintings, six are unique, depicting SpongeBob in art styles in which hes never before seen. Using artwork from the Nickelodeon vaults, these paintings serve as your entry point into the games more than 100 fast-paced minigames. Called nanogames, these games take just a few seconds to play, and use the uDraw GameTablet in fun and interesting ways.

Inspired by Nintendos WarioWare series of games, SpongeBob SquigglePants likewise offers nanogames that are wacky and frenetic. You will tap, draw, drag or flip things by using the stylus on the tablets drawing surface, but you will also tilt and shake the device while not using the stylus. The games vary greatly, but include feeding jellyfish by using the stylus to flick bread crumbs in the correct direction, cleaning off slime from a SpongeBob statue by dragging the stylus back and forth on the screen, flipping Krabby Patties by tapping the surface at just the right time, drawing sand to cover up a treasure chest and blowing out birthday candles by tilting the tablet.

Because the games go by so quickly, it may take you several tries before you get the hang of what you are supposed to do. If you take too long, you will fail the nanogame -- and youre only allowed to fail five times before you have to start again. The games give you a little hint before they start, but there is no break in between games, so they just keep coming in rapid succession until you have either passed 20 games or failed five times.

Once you have won a nanogame, it becomes available to you for replay in the Nanogame Replay Mode, which is represented as another painting in the gallery. You will also unlock the Remix Mode, which allows you to randomly replay the nanogames you have already unlocked, choosing the number in a row you want to play. And there are a few arcade games thrown in as well.

The game also hosts an Art Studio Mode where you can use a variety of art tools to create your own SpongeBob artwork. Patchy will hang your painting in his gallery.

In addition to a variety of paints, brushes and buckets, there are also stickers for you to use to create your own Bikini Bottom scene. This art studio isnt particularly intuitive, but you can figure it out. Your masterpiece can be saved to an SD card and then printed. Refrigerator art, anyone?

While you dont have to be a fan of SpongeBob SquarePants to enjoy SpongeBob SquigglePants, it helps to be familiar with the characters that appear in the nanogames. These nanogames are wild and wacky; and with over 100, some are more innovative than others. The different art styles that serve as the backdrop for the games also adds interest for fans of the TV show. You might be playing a game set in a cartoony sketch book or one that resembles the posters of the horror movies produced in the 1940s and 1950s.

SpongeBob SquigglePants is a one-player game. While beating the nanogames is enjoyable on your own, it would have been more fun it there had been a way to challenge another player by taking turns using the uDraw GameTablet.

A minor annoyance is that Patchys witty retorts repeat so often that they become grating. However, if you already own an uDraw GameTablet, SpongeBob SquigglePants is worth exploring because of its novel gameplay.

Score: 3 stars (out of 4)

Rating: E (with Comic Mischief)

Best for ages 7 and up

Publisher: THQ,

Platform: Nintendo Wii with uDraw GameTablet

Price: $29.99

Gudmundsen is the editor of Computing With Kids magazine. Contact her at


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