SpongeBob SquarePants - Saviours of Slime

Calling all Nick stars!

Plankton has broken into Nick HQ with a dastardly plan to steal the secret recipe for Nickelodeon slime! Team up with SpongeBob as he rallies an all-star team of Nick heroes and turns it up to eleven, in a bid to end this madness and save the slime!

Brief

Nickelodeon wanted to commission an ambitious cross-property caper that would feature Nick super-star SpongeBob SquarePants at the core of a sweeping narrative-driven adventure. A motley-crew of heroes, from a range of Nickelodeon shows, would join the fight to defend a core aspect of Nickelodeon itself – the famous slime! In this way, the game is driven by a meta-narrative that sits above any one show, lending the whole experience an air of significance and high-stakes! 

players were to be presented with seven small mini-games (that each take place in the world of their respective brand hero) as well as a larger end-game sequence that brings everyone together in a final show-down scenario.

Our Response

This brief presented an interesting challenge. Unlike most multi-property games, this one would focus on one key brand (SpongeBob) but still include many others, each of which need to sit within their own branded worlds, but also be brought together for one united purpose, and for it to all play out in a way that makes sense for an over-arching narrative.

We started sketching ideas for the main narrative thread, the location in which it would take place and how it might tie all the separate brands together into a story arc that revolves around slime and the Nickelodeon universe being under threat.

The Challenges

As this was to be a narrative driven experience we would need to think carefully and work closely with Nickelodeon to work out the details of the storyline. What threat is being levelled at our heroes? How would SpongeBob seek to prevent it and how would each mini-game would fit into that, as well as set up the final sequence? Crucially, how would this story be communicated as the game is played without stalling gameplay momentum?

We wanted to make sure each mini-game was unique in both how it played and it how it captured the essence of each Nick property, providing players with a wide range of quick-fire challenges and feeding into the overall narrative.

We would also need to come up with a visual style that would both translate well across all the different properties Nickelodeon wanted to use, including both toon-based (The Loud House) and live action shows (Game Shakers) and be something that we can generate in-house as we were going to have to work outside of the realms of provided assets from the shows (as these would obviously differ greatly show to show).

The final end-game demanded something different and impressive that could involve a huge array of characters all working together. How could we bring something new to the table here gameplay wise, especially in the wake of the huge 20-game extravaganza of Infinity Islands, that would work in context of the narrative and support this large character count?

The Results

‘Saviours of Slime’ encompasses a total of seven completely unique mini-games. Each one is based around a different Nickelodeon property (Henry Danger, Game Shakers etc), features bespoke gameplay and takes place within the world of that property. This is coupled with a high octane, shoot-em-up platformer end-game, spread across multiple levels, where players take six of their favourite characters with them in a high-stakes final showdown.

The main narrative is set in a fantastical factory ‘hub world’ where Nickelodeon slime is produced, based on the events unfolding within each of the Nick brand worlds. Plankton seeks to seize the slime recipe for himself, with SpongeBob in hot pursuit. He manages to get through the main door before SpongeBob can give chase a race against time begins. In an effort to buy some time, SpongeBob accesses the main monitoring terminal, contacting his fellow Nick stars and asks them to crank out as much slime as possible with the hope of flooding the corridor where Plankton’s tiny legs are currently carrying him ever closer to the recipe…

The terminal acts as a hub for players, letting them cycle through each of the 7 mini-games and play through them in any order they choose. Each time the player completes a mini-game, Plankton is knocked back from reaching the recipe, buying Spongebob some time. Once all 7 have been beaten, the final mission is unlocked, and SpongeBob can team up with the Nick stars from the mini-games, and stop Plankton once and for all.

The mini-games themselves are all different and feature quick-fire, simple gameplay that revolves around the player encouraging the Nick stars to do what they do faster and louder than before to help overload the slime pipes back at in the hub world. From helping the ‘School of Rock’ stars hit every beat and rock harder than ever before, to making sure Linc spins his yoyo into a perfect blur with each carefully timed tap, the aim is always to get that slime meter into the red and splat Plankton back down the corridor once more.

We developed a bespoke art style that felt authentically Nickelodeon, bridging the gap between the disparate styles and formats of the various properties involved, to serve up a consistent and believable cartoon canvas within which this adventure could take place. This also frees us from using branded assets and allows us to draw whatever background and props we need to tell the story effectively across several short, skippable animated sections that set the scene and move the narrative along a key points.

The end-game sequence shows SpongeBob warping in all the heroes from the mini-games to aid him in the hub world. The player gets to select six of their favourite Nick stars from a huge 18-strong roster, and pursue Plankton through the pipe system, where they engage in a frantic shoot-em-up platformer against an army of Plankton-programmed robots across 6 unique levels!

Overall we’re really pleased with how this mega-mini-game set turned out and hope Nickelodeons audience enjoy this grand caper as much as we enjoyed putting it together! 

Infinity Islands – Alien Asteroid Island

Nickelodeon

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Henry Danger – The Danger Trials

Nickelodeon

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