SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review

After the success of SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom- Rehydrated, THQ Nordic announced during its 10th anniversary live stream that it had teamed up once again with Purple Lamp Studios to produce a simple but cute platformer: SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake. While the game may be a bit simplistic, it does improve issues that held down SpongsBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom-Rehydrated.

Die-hard SpongeBob fans will be quickly enamored with SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake which is packed full of nostalgic references to the series with lighthearted gameplay. While the game may not be the most intricate platformer, it could be seen as a great way to introduce new gamers to platforming.

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Players start out in Bikini Bottom when SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star are sold mermaid tears that supposedly can grant any wish from Kassandra, a fortune-teller. After SpongeBob and Patrick fail to read the fine print, the bubbles open a vortex taking all their friends to different Wishworlds. It’s SpongeBob’s job to go and rescue his friends and bring Bikini Bottom back to its normal self.

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There are seven unique Wishworlds to explore that take inspiration from the TV series, some of the more entertaining ones being Halloween Rock Bottom and Prehistoric Kelp Forest. Each time a player traverses through a new portal they are tasked with completing missions in order to progress the world and bring back SpongeBob’s missing friends. It’s a pattern that repeats throughout the whole game, which makes the overall goal feel lackluster.

The mechanics of the game are simple and not too complex making it perfect for players wanting to get introduced to the platform genre. SpongeBob can use pizza boxes as a glider and will often use a seahorse to traverse the fast-paced segments. The platforming is smooth and clean, while still adding semi-complex combinations to challenge the players. However, this can be a downside for people who are looking for a more sophisticated game.

The final boss battle in each Wishworld change up the gameplay compared to previous titles and are genuine standouts. Gigantic Gary in Halloween Rock Bottom, for example, puts players on a sneak adventure whereas Prawn in Pirate Goo Lagoon is a more traditional dodge and attack boss. While these types of boss battles may not be unique to gaming, it is invigorating to see THQ Nordic and Purple Lamp Studios incorporate contemporary ideas into the franchise.

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Like most platformer games there are tons of secret items to collect, like hidden doubloons throughout each Wishworld. The doubloons can be used to level up SpongeBob and unlock 30 alternative costumes for him to wear but players will have to travel back to completed Wishworlds in order to use new skills to find them all. The costumes are purely cosmetic as they don’t add any specialized ability but they are a fun mini-goal within each level.

The art style and graphics are vivid and crisp, making the players feel as though they are actually in a 3D version of the TV show. The Wishworlds aren’t as intracite as other platformers but they still satisfy the itch just enough to stay engaged long enough to get to the boss. While some Wishworlds aren’t as detailed, others are plastered with decorations and NPCs.

Combat is the greatest weakness when it comes to SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake. Players can spam SpongeBob’s Karate Kick and the Bubble Wand moves to easily take down the majority of Jelly enemies. Often more than not the combat is slow and having to wait for an enemy to attack before being able to hit them hindered the excitement of fighting. Having vertical levels and slides thrown in for diversity is a great break from fighting repetitive Jelly enemies.

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The cutscenes in the game help break up the monotony and will have SpongeBob fans engaged. They are colorful, well-acted, and always entertaining. It’s also exciting to see a video game that’s adapted from a long-running show have the ability to work with the original cast, which only elevates the experience. However, while playing the voice lines often become repetitive. Without the cutscenes, the game would be a repetitive collect and return game.

While the main storyline is charming, there are side quests that will pop up throughout the game. These encourage players to not only go back to older levels but also put a heavy emphasis to leave no stone unturned. But like the costumes, the side quests don’t serve a purpose to the main storyline and are only ways to keep players engaged longer.

Overall SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is a solid game for true fans of the TV series and a way to introduce young gamers to the platforming genre. While its graphics and design improve on SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom-Rehydrated, the lack of diversity in the Jelly enemies and Wishworld designs will be a turn off to some. All the same it’s worth checking out for the endless references to the show.

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake releases January 30th on PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. Today Technology was provided with a PS5 code for the purpose of this review.

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