SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-off is a relatively new entry into the vast world of mobile cooking games.
SpongeBob is assigned as the head chef in a restaurant, which you would assume to be the Krusty Krab, but it's actually just a breakfast stand outside of SpongeBob’s house, a new scheme for Mr. Krabs to make some green.
Now, SpongeBob must flip his way through the pancake stand to the burger joint and beyond!
The premise of the game is simple - serve up meals to as many hungry customers as possible before the timer runs out. And it's essentially a multitasking game just like most mobile cooking games.
You stand behind the kiosk and take orders while preparing the food.
When the food is cooked and plated, you hand it over to the customer who pays you and leaves.
Once you’ve served up enough customers, and completed the level’s goals, you receive your earnings and move on to the next level in your journey.
The currency you earn can be spent on different restaurant upgrades such as kitchen appliances (more coffee machines or an extra fry to increase your efficiency by either speeding up cooking times or allowing you to cook more at once).
Each restaurant includes a set of story levels and after you’re done with those, the next restaurant opens.
The game also has boosters that make your equipment work faster, and this element becomes useful when the game gets more difficult and fast-paced later on. It's best to save boosters for when you really need them.
SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-off demands a lot of tapping, and when I say a lot, I mean too much tapping that the game feels tedious and repetitive at times. Tapping on items to put them on the grill, tap to cook, tap to put them on the dish, tap to mix ingredients, tap to serve, tap to trash food, etc.
The levels are all so similar that there’s no distinguishable variety between them.
Each level gives you an objective to complete, like ensuring that no customers leave, not burning food, or serving a specific number of customers, but they all play like one another in the same way.
SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-off has great visuals. The graphics are delightful to look at and do great justice to the series.
All of your favorite characters from the SpongeBob universe make an appearance in some way and you won't be disappointed with their recreation in the game world.
You can unlock characters like Patrick, Squidward, Sandy, and others, and play them as your main chef instead of SpongeBob. All characters have some small unique differences in their gameplay so as to keep things interesting. Characters can also be cosmetically outfitted and leveled up too.
So, the game has a good variety of things to do besides the main gameplay. There are also interior upgrades and decorative elements for your restaurant too.
The UI is polished and uncomplicated but there's a number of gameplay options to familiarize yourself with. It's also sometimes a little slow and there are noticeable loading delays between gameplay transitions. But since the game is still in early access at the time of writing - it could just be an optimization issue.
One thing that's off-putting about the game is that it requires gems and coins to purchase upgrades for several things. That's not unusual for mobile games, and in the early levels of SpongeBob, you do earn the currency quite easily, but as you progress further it becomes much harder to earn gold and gems (While the difficulty ceiling becomes unbearably fast and almost impossible without the upgrades).
There seems to be one solution to the problem: players can watch 30-second video ads to earn more currency. This may be a good solution to the developers but after watching 12 candy crush ads, I can say the opposite.
Apart from that the game also throws an ad at you after every few levels.
Ultimately the game faces a curious dilemma, as people who are enthusiasts of cooking games won't really get anything new here except a very polished game because the mechanics are not innovative nor super interesting. The appeal is more for Spongebob fans, but the later difficulty spikes in the game will end up turning them away.
The game would absolutely shine if it were just a little more casual-friendly in its difficulty.
Although a little monotonous at times and very challenging, SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-off is a fun entry for mobile cooking games, and the visuals, soundtrack, and dialogues are super nostalgic, to say the least!