Back in 2020, the sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea, made his resurgence to modern hardware with the remake of SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom. It was such an absolute joy to replay this adventure after many years. So, it should come as no surprise that when SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake was announced, with both Purple Lamp Studios and THQ Nordic at the helm, that I was really, really excited. But the question remains, how does it fare against its 2020 counterpart and is it worth picking up?
At first glance, SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake looks like a worthy successor to Battle for Bikini Bottom. The narrative is hilarious, filled with all the typical gags that you would come to expect from the Talking Cheese. In their latest outing, SpongeBob and Patrick must save all their friends from dangerous alternate realities. That being, after the duo went on a bubble wishing blunder that caused the whole mess to begin with. As you travel through these alternate realities, you will encounter various versions of some of SpongeBobs closest friends. And it is honestly, quite a fun ride, or at least it is at first.
The Cosmic Shake sinks more than it swims…
Unfortunately it is not long before The Cosmic Shake shows how shallow the game as a whole truly is. Outside of its entertaining narrative, there is really not much to enjoy here. SpongeBob is heavy to control, moving slow and quite stiff, making some of the platforming feel like an absolute chore. Instead of building upon the mechanics that were utilised in its predecessor, The Cosmic Shake feels like it takes ten steps backward, with controls becoming increasingly imprecise and really quite sluggish.
This wouldn’t be such a problem if the level design was built with this in mind. I honestly couldn’t count the amount of times that I only just made the jump to the next platform by sheer dumb luck. This was especially true when it came to the gliding mechanic. SpongeBob now has a Breath of the Wild style glide that again, just feels way too heavy. Within a matter of seconds you will be hitting the ground after trying to glide from one platform to the next. It really did not make any sense for SpongeBob to feel this heavy.
The Cosmic Shake’s strange design choices…
Now I will say, The Cosmic Shake’s art design looks fantastic. It is simple, but works really well for this style of game. The variety in the aesthetics for each level is also welcomed. It helps each world that you explore to seem more unique. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the level design itself. Most of the levels feel quite samey and cause the game to drag on as a whole after a while. This was a real disappointment, because the environments are great to look at! But after you start moving through them, they become quite tedious.
One odd omission from this latest entry was the lack of playable characters. Unlike Battle for Bikini Bottom, The Cosmic Shake limits you to only being able to play as SpongeBob SquarePants. Now this definitely isn’t the worst of the game’s problems, but just seems a bit of a strange decision, especially given just how good the various characters are in SpongeBob SquarePants. It also didn’t help that voice lines outside of cutscenes are quite limited, so be prepared to hear the phrases “A little dab’ll do yah” and “Krusty Krab pizza, is the pizza, for you and me” over and over and over again!
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shape feels very much like a budget title, especially when compared to previous games about the yellow sponge. Yes, the narrative is entertaining and will give you quite a few laughs, especially with some of its more adult humour. However, given that the gameplay and level design are both a massive let down, it is really hard to recommend. It may, to some extent, be a kids game, but that is still not an excuse for some of the lazy design choices here. Also, the fact that Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated was released a few years earlier and felt as good as it did despite being a remake of a PS2/XBOX/GameCube game, The Cosmic Shake had absolutely no reason to be this much of a mixed bag. Honestly, just go and replay Battle for Bikini Bottom again, you’ll be much better off!
By Samuel Incze – Reviewed on PC
SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake is a really bland affair! It’s disappointing and uninspired level design, that often feels like it drags on way too long, mixed with its really dated gameplay mechanics makes for quite a generic platforming adventure with stiff controls. Whilst the narrative is entertaining and does its absolute best to be a redeeming factor, it just isn’t enough to be a selling point for The Cosmic Shake. I am honestly saddened to say that SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is quite a dull experience and is not worth picking up.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by THQ Nordic and Purple Lamp Studios. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.