Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? That’s right, SpongeBob SquarePants, back in 2023 with the same loveable humor in a brand new adventure. Purple Lamp Studio and THQ Nordic team up again for a new video game starring SpongeBob and all of his friends. But is it worth your time? Let’s take a deep dive and find out in our SpongeBob SquarePants The Cosmic Shake review.
In The Cosmic Shake, SpongeBob and Patrick get their hands on powerful cosmic wish-granting Mermaid’s Tears from Kassandra, a mysterious fortune-teller. After carelessly having all their wishes granted, they accidentally cause their own world to become ripped apart by the power of cosmic jelly, causing cosmic dimensions to appear. These dimensions, the Wishworlds, swallowed up all of SpongeBob’s friends, like Sandy and Squidward, along with iconic locations like The Krusty Krab. It’s up to SpongeBob and Patrick to use the power of the cosmic costumes to rescue their friends, find pieces of their home, and bring Bikini Bottom back.
The story is about as simple as one would expect for a game obviously catered towards a yound audience. While predictable, I would commend the fact that the game puts characters into worlds that fit their personality. SpongeBob’s pet Gary was swept into a halloween world obsessed with eating kids chocolate, given his love for candy, and Sandy being placed in a world where she’s a master martial artist, given her love of Karate. That said, one of my biggest upsets is the fact that you don’t get to play as any of SpongeBob’s friends.
After finishing the game’s tutorial, which teaches you the basic actions to perform, players will guide Spongebob geared with his trusty jellyfish net. The weapon can b e used to take out the jelly-infested enemies, along with a bubble wand that can trap enemies in place, so you can take them out with your net. The game also includes a dodging mechanic where you can cartwheel around enemies to swiftly move past their attacks. You’ll be working with fortune-teller Kassandra in restoring Bikini Bottom using cosmic costumes which allow you to venture into the dimension portals which is where the magic really happens.
The game really shines with the incredibly detailed Wishworlds. The developers made sure to put as much color, vibrancy, and liveliness into the many explorable worlds, as one would hope to see in a modern SpongeBob title. You might find yourself one second jumping and gliding with a pizza box from flying pirate ships to sand castle islands and in another world sliding down rainbow roads on Spongebob’s tongue, descending down a fairy tale castle. As you progress through the platformer, you will travel around worlds that are artistically themed, enriched also by incorporating famous SpongeBob locations.
The Wishworlds feature objectives which progress through the main story, along with side missions for a more immersive feel. These main story objectives have SpongeBob and Balloon-Patrick (yes, he’s a balloon) travel through these exotic worlds where you’ll be making your way through levels to ultimately find your friends. While the majority of side missions will be mostly about plain old collecting stuff, you’ll also get the occasional simple puzzle or little mini-game. Level design varies from world to world, so you never know what to expect upon entering a portal. One minute you might be riding on a seahorse and the next falling into an erupting volcano.
The platforming sections are cleverly designed, especially in later levels where they really put your collected abilities to use. You might find yourself needing to surf with the bubble board to then switch mid-way to flying karate kicks to navigate from one side of the map to the other. For a modern-day platformer, navigating through maps is easy, fun, and especially rewarding when you’re able to finally reach those hidden tokens. These are used to unlock different outfits for SpongeBob, along with the so called “cosmic costumes”. The game encourages you to use them since each one fits the different world’s artistic themes. The shop outfits, which you unlock with tokens, are instead purely cosmetic.
The cosmic costumes grant fighting abilities, such as delivering vicious karate kicks and grand slams that help to switch up in order to defeat enemies. Unfortunately, the game’s combat does tend to get quite stale and repetitive, since you only get to use a couple of main moves, swinging your net or blowing bubbles. While the karate kicks are nice additions, the majority of the time you’ll just be swinging that jellyfish net since certain enemies can’t be hurt any other way, which becomes a real bummer.
Speaking of enemies, each Wishworld introduces both a new type of jelly enemy and a final boss, which spice up the challenges of combat. Each new world’s mutation of the jelly enemy requires the player to think up a new strategy. Some need a simple swing of the net, while others require you to capture them in a bubble, slowing them down to then take them out with a swing or karate kick. Final bosses, however, are different, with each one incorporating one of SpongeBob’s friends and requiring you to think outside of the box with your new abilities. While, as mentioned, the fighting is nothing special, new enemy encounters are exciting, since you get to tackle each one a bit differently from the last.
Cosmic Shake nails the feeling of being immersed in the show. Voice actors return to voice their characters and the silly humor is always present, from dialogues to cutscenes, along with the familiar characters creatively sprinkled throughout. While we did wish for more appetizing side missions and a more involving combat system, the gameplay manages to do just about everything right from what is expected in a modern-day platformer. Purple Lamp Studio continues to capture both the world and essence of SpongeBob, living under the sea has never looked better.
Our Spongebob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake review was made possibile with a key made available by the publisher. Spongebob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is available on Steam, Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Spongebob SquarePants The Cosmic Shake: SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is a precious piece of childhood nostalgia that sets out to deliver a new adventure with a classic face, delivering classic platforming fun, but falling out of touch with an out-of-date combat system and tedious side missions. – JaredL