When I was a child, SpongeBob SquarePants was the cartoon of choice. My first alarm clock sang the F is for Friends song, my toy chest was covered in foam character stickers, I had little toy figurines — I had a lot of Spongebob stuff. When I first started playing with the Playstation, we had all of the Spongebob games, and played through each one. So when I saw Spongebob: Krusty Cook-Off appear on mobile, I wasn’t not going to take the dive into a cooking game.
It’s not SpongeBob Diner Dash, that’s for sure. Actually, you don’t even work inside the Krusty Krab at first — something I felt was pretty weird — and instead are running a little pancake cart outside your home. There isn’t much of an explanation on why this is going on, aside from you asking Mr. Krabs if you can go to work and him, strangely, telling you no and to work at this stand instead.
Despite flipping pancakes, the game itself is pretty much like most mobile cooking games. You have a small screen where you can compile recipes and cook ingredients while watching your customers move across the window. They want food fast, and you’ll deliver it, correctly. There are lots of ways to upgrade your equipment and your… uh… stand? Restaurant? Who knows. Upgrading equipment and ingredients takes a mix of currency you earn and premium currency, and it also features a countdown before the item is delivered. This is annoying when you, like me, really want to play the entire game in two days.
When it comes to your restaurant’s decorations, you are able to purchase them just using regular coins and they appear instantly. This instantly upgrades the value of your venue. I saved up and bought the most expensive decorative items for each category, but it turns out, you need to own them all in order to have a five-star restaurant. You just basically need to slowly get all of the upgrades.
SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off itself has two branches of levels; a story mode that slowly brings about cut-scenes that sort-of make sense and contain many of the Spongebob characters you have grown to know and love. Mr. Krabs is worried about the health inspector; Squidward doesn’t want you selling pancakes near his home; Patrick wants to go jelly fishing — you know, the usual.
The second branch of levels comes from events — which are limited in time, but allow you to take on easier challenges while waiting for upgrades to come. The game does reach many points where you need the ‘recommended’ item to actually solve the levels within the given limits. If you finish all of the story modes of a chapter (that’s what they call each restaurant) you can take on an unlimited mode if you like, taking on more levels that do not progress any sort of story but can get you a boost of cash or some achievements.
If you are interested in mobile cooking games and don’t mind the grinding that seems to come with all of them (or are fine with a few in-app purchases) this is a pretty decent game with a bit of content. A love of Spongebob is a plus, as you’ll be serving all of the fish in Bikini Bottom, as well as Sandy and Patrick, who each have their own quirks.