You've probably already looked at the screenshots so we won't beat around the bush: SpongeBob's Super Bouncy Fun Time is essentially Peggle, except you fire horizontally instead of vertically. And it's not as good as Peggle.
The premise is that you're trying to catch endangered jellyfish, and the gameplay involves trying to clear the screen of these animals with a limited supply of balls. If you leave any jellyfish on the screen, they kill SpongeBob (or at least knock him off his pedestal).
The 100 stages contain Pez-like bricks that disappear after one or more collisions with a projectile from your gun, a falling jellyfish, or some other bit of level clutter.
You can bounce your projectile off these bricks, and - as with Peggle - some of SpongeBob's Super Bouncy Fun Time's most satisfying moments come when you manage to set off a rattling series of jellyfish-felling ricochets.
As the jellyfish tumble off the screen they leave behind them coins, which you tap to collect. You can spend these on power-ups like Gary, who makes moving jellyfish stay still; Ultra Power Ball, which “slices through bricks like butter”; and Mega Multi Ball, which lets you tap your projectile to turn it into three. Surprisingly, in this cynical age, you can't buy coins with your real-world money.
The presentation is entirely in keeping with the cult show, which is to say it's mildly surreal and mildly charming, with retro arcade sound effects accompanying the cartoon visuals. SpongeBob's jovial asides and adorable expressions are never less than sufficiently authentic.
So far so good. On the face of it SpongeBob's Super Bouncy Fun Time looks good enough and - by virtue of being like Peggle - plays well enough.
In case you've mentally added SpongeBob (great) to Peggle (great) and concluded that SpongeBob's Super Bouncy Fun Time must logically be supergreat, it's worth pointing out that the game doesn't fully do justice to either its licence or its primary inspiration.
A loofah one bites the dust
There's too little of SpongeBob in it. While the SpongeBob elements are authentic, there are no clips and no story to speak of. It has about as much in common with the cartoon as a SpongeBob pencil case does.
And there's too little of Peggle in it. For all that SpongeBob's Super Bouncy Fun Time brazenly pays homage to PopCap's digital timesink, it doesn't have the same meticulously engineered stages.
Peggle looks simple, but its appeal depends on an essential balance of luck and skill. You have to feel both in control and at the mercy of a benevolent luck god at the same time to experience the full force of Peggle's addictive properties.
In SpongeBob's Super Bouncy Fun Time, the relatively small stages limit the opportunities for tense, drawn-out spells of breathless bouncing, and you rarely emerge from a level feeling particularly skilful or particularly lucky, even if it is satisfying to take out a cluster of jellyfish at once to a crescendo of notes.
SpongeBob's Super Bouncy Fun Time isn't a bad game at all. It's good enough. It won't amuse you like SpongeBob and it won't enslave you like Peggle, but there's a decent chance that you'll eventually amble through its 100 stages, and you may even return to get three stars.
For a licensed game, that's pretty good going.