This video game is rated E, meaning it may contain content that may be suitable for children ages 6 and up. The content is mild in impact.
SpongeBob & Sagwa is a puzzle-platforming action video game developed by Tantalus Media, PBS and Nickelodeon and published by THQ Inc. The game was released on May 7, 2004 in Canada and on May 16, 2004 in the United States for the Xbox, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2, Nintendo Gamecube and Microsoft Windows. As its title suggests, the video game is a crossover between the Nickelodeon animated series SpongeBob SquarePants and the PBS Kids animated series Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat.
SpongeBob opens up a portal that warps him to the Qing Dynasty of ancient China, where meets Sagwa, a curious and adventurous Siamese Cat, and the Miao family. When Patrick arrives however, he accidentally unleashes a colony of malicious spirits known as Jade Bats commanded by their leader, Yu Bianfu-Wang (which translates to English as King Jade Bat) and becomes their prisoner and "errand boy". When the Foolish Magistrate is informed of this, China falls under a moral panic. SpongeBob and Sagwa team up with each other to defeat the Jade Bats and rescue Patrick.
The player is primarily in control of SpongeBob and Sagwa and occasionally, Patrick. While playing on the side of Sagwa and SpongeBob, the player can switch between characters depending on certain obstacles they come across in a level. Both characters have their own unique abilities. SpongeBob can use his spatula to attack enemies and launch projectiles, can both survive in and collect hidden objects from underwater and can blow bubbles to help him reach higher places. Sagwa can call for Fu-Fu to help her cross gaps, can dodge enemies' attacks with her acrobatic tricks and can dig for hidden treasures. Some levels with SpongeBob and Sagwa as the playable characters require the player to solve a puzzle in order to reach the next area. While playing in the perspective of Patrick, the gameplay is mission-based, requiring the player to complete one or more tasks to "help fulfill Bianfu-Wang's needs". Patrick has some similar moves he possesses in Battle for Bikini Bottom. He can pick up and throw heavy objects and he can use his belly to attack enemies and launch projectiles. However, he has a special power in which whenever he has enough synergy from defeating a lot of enemies, he can activate his "rage mode", similar from the SpongeBob Season 1 episode, "Valentine's Day". In this mode, Patrick is invincible, can defeat enemies with one hit and can jump higher.
- Fu-Fu (voiced by Rick Jones)
- Dongwa Miao (voiced by Oliver Grainger)
- Sheegwa Miao (voiced by Jesse Vinet)
- Squidward Tentacles (voiced by Roger Bumpass)
- Mr. Krabs (voiced by Clancy Brown)
- Sandy Cheeks (voiced by Carolyn Lawrence)
- The Foolish Magistrate (voiced by Hiro Kanagawa)
- Tai-Tai (voiced by Khaira Ledeyo)
- Baba Miao (voiced by Arthur Holden)
- Mama Miao (voiced by Ellen David)
Bikini Bottom is the tutorial level of the game. The player is taught how to play the game before SpongeBob gets warped to ancient China.
Levels with SpongeBob and Sagwa
- The Village
- The River
- The Valley of Unexplained Secrets
- BOSS: Plankton
- The Mountains
- The Ravines
- BOSS: Big Crested Porcupine
- The Lake
- The Quiet Island
- BOSS: One-Eyed Sea Turtle Crew
- The Jade Island
- The Ruined Trail
- The Temple Grounds
- BOSS: Shuilong the Water Dragon
- Bianfu-Wang Temple
- The Cave Under The Temple
- BOSS: Jaded SpongeBob/Sagwa
- The Obstacle Course
- BOSS: King Jade Bat
Levels with Patrick
- The Tofu Grove
- The Crystal Yards
- The Temple Walls
- BOSS: Queen Jade Bat
Bosses are fought either with a duo or by one specific character.
- Plankton (battled by SpongeBob and Sagwa)
- Big Crested Porcupine (battled by SpongeBob and Sagwa)
- One-Eyed Sea Turtle Crew (battled by only SpongeBob)
- Shuilong the Water Dragon (battle by SpongeBob and Sagwa)
- Nuwang Yu-Bianfu/Queen Jade Bat (battled by only Patrick)
There is a special boss that affects the story. During the cutscene in which SpongeBob and Sagwa are trying to escape Bianfu-Wang's Jade Bats in his lair, the player gets to decide who gets to escape unharmed and who gets captured by the Jade Bats. If Sagwa is chosen to make it out, the bats will capture SpongeBob and will corrupt him by putting a jade on his head. The same thing will happen when SpongeBob is chosen to escape with Sagwa getting captured by the bats. On SpongeBob's side, the player will have to fight a corrupted Sagwa in the same sense that on Sagwa's side, the player will battle a corrupted SpongeBob.
Yu Bianfu-WangYu Bianfu-Wang is the leader of the Jade Bats and the main antagonist/final boss of the game. A malevolent spirit accidentally awakened by Patrick who imprisons him and plans to destroy China, Bianfu-Wang is a ruthless and cunning leader who will stop at nothing to achieve what he desires.
PBS and Nickelodeon have promoted the game in various ways. In merchandise, they packaged both SpongeBob SquarePants and Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat DVDs and VHS tapes altogether. However, they released a crossover DVD/VHS that contains both SpongeBob and Sagwa episodes, which goes by the name of urr-us Pals".
From February 20, 2004 to April 17, 2004, PBS made a deal with Nickelodeon to broadcast episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants on their children's programming block for a special event simply known as SpongeBob on PBS Kids. The SpongeBob episodes would always air before or after episodes of Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat.
On the Sagwa website, during the SpongeBob on PBS Kids event, the Tangrams game that the website provided had limited tangram puzzles for SpongeBob characters and items. The puzzles included were SpongeBob, Patrick, Plankton, a Krabby Patty and a jellyfish.
Another notable feature during SpongeBob on PBS Kids was after episodes of Sagwa, there would be character bios clips in which Sagwa narrates SpongeBob characters. SpongeBob was obviously the first character to receive this. The clips then continued with Squidward, Patrick, Mr. Krabs, Sandy, Gary and Plankton.
Critical receptionSpongeBob & Sagwa received generally mixed reviews upon release. Critics praised the console and PC versions of the game for its voice acting (notably Jim Cummings's voice performance of Yu-Bianfu Wang, the game's main antagonist), its soundtrack, the graphics and the story while they criticized them in the case of simplistic gameplay and mixed difficulty.
They described the game heavily in terms of its aspects, saying "While SpongeBob & Sagwa suffers from lackluster gameplay, it has an astounding musical score, funny and solid dialogue, an interesting plot and it handles the source material very professionally and with respect to the two animated programs it mashes up." and "SpongeBob & Sagwa's enemy AI is incredibly defective, but it's something that players can have a good laugh from. The game also has this habit in which it can range from being very easy to hard." One review was positive as it stated that the game "deserves to be recognized as an underrated crossover masterpiece." The Jaded SpongeBob/Jaded Sagwa boss was praised by critics for being "surprisingly epic."
The PS2 version of the game particularly received positive reviews for its balanced controls and gameplay, decent graphics and challenging puzzles while also receiving the aforementioned reception notes the other console versions and the PC version received.
The Game Boy Advance version of the game however, received mediocre reviews as critics panned it for its sluggish controls, poor level design, repetitive soundtrack, ugly graphics, bad password system and short length.
Despite the game's mixed reviews, it gained a cult following and is widely considered one of the most unlikely and unique crossovers of all time. This caused it to evolve into a full series with video game sequels, including SpongeBob & Sagwa 2 as well as merchandise.
Possible remakeAn idea for a remastered version of SpongeBob & Sagwa was unveiled in late 2017. The remake was announced to be exclusive to the Nintendo Switch under the title of "SpongeBob & Sagwa: Switch Edition". However, it is currently unclear whether or not the Nintendo Switch remake will go into production.
On New Year's Day of 2018, Aleks Hudock (the creator of the game) partnered up with PlutoSpongebobandTeenageRobots to create a television series based on the game. The show airs on Toon Disney Channel and other networks under their acquisitions. It revolves around the adventures of SpongeBob and Sagwa after the events of the video game as they have to secretly battle the Jade Bats without China finding out in order to keep it at its peaceful state while also just generally looking for many ways to have fun with each other.
Unlike the game, which received mixed reception, the TV series was received positively from critics.
"SpongeBob & Sagwa is a fun yet flawed game that is worth a play, as long as you can handle the crippled controls."
"A highly unlikely crossover spawned from the minds of PBS Kids and Nickelodeon that will more than likely entertain kids and fans alike!" ― IMDb
"SpongeBob & Sagwa has a very compelling story, yet it suffers from a difficulty in which the game can range from being very easy to super hard. Its gameplay is rather uninspiring and the controls are not the best." ― IGN
"The Game Boy Advance version is abysmal as it is barely playable and the soundtrack can become very irritating after listening to it for even after five seconds. However, the console and PC versions are more superior with an interesting plot, despite bad controls and confusing gameplay." ― Gamespot
"This game is a unique Nickelodeon-PBS Kids crossover that will leave people amused with its story but at the same time frustrated with the game's controls and gameplay." ― Metacritic
"Needless to say, this is actually one of the most creative licensed crossover games we've seen in a while. We never expected a Sagwa and SpongeBob SquarePants mashup, but it was handled nicely in the end." ― GameZone