Back in 2020 the developer Purple Lamp remastered the old SpongeBob SquarePants video game Battle for Bikini Bottom. I have never been a big SpongeBob fan as I was a little too old when it first came out. Despite this the remaster actually surprised me. It was a fun return to an era of 3D platformers that you don’t see all that often these days. For more information check out our review. When I found out that Purple Lamp had created a new 3D SpongeBob platformer, I wanted to check it out. While it doesn’t differ significantly from the Battle for Bikini Bottom, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is a fun family 3D platformer that fans of the series will likely enjoy.
In SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake you play as SpongeBob. On a trip to Glove World a mysterious mermaid named Kassandra gives them a bottle of magic wish fulfilling bubbles. Naturally SpongeBob and Patrick go on a bubble blowing spree. This starts tearing at the fabric of reality. SpongeBob and Patrick (who is now a balloon) must travel to different worlds inspired by wishes to save their friends and Bikini Bottom.
In a lot of ways SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is what you would expect it to be. The game is at its heart a 3D platformer. Most of the gameplay was built around jumping between platforms to avoid falling into pits and other dangers. To start the game you only have a double jump and a glide ability. Over time you gather a number of other abilities that help you traverse the worlds.
In addition to platforming, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake has quite a bit of combat. You will have to fight various jelly creatures while avoiding their attacks. You need to hit most enemies one to three times to defeat them. Meanwhile you can take a number of hits before you die/fail. To begin with you have a basic melee attack. As you progress in the game, you gain access to a few other attacks. The combat along with some occasional simple puzzles are mostly used to break up the platforming sections.
The game is broken up into a hub world and seven different worlds inspired by various wishes. Each world has its own unique theme. Some of the themes include a wild west, medieval, movie set, and a number of other worlds. In each world you need to reach the end, and defeat a boss of one of your friends affected by the world’s theme. In the hub world there are various collectibles to find and short little challenges to complete.
While playing SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake it became clear pretty early on that the game took a lot of inspiration from Battle for Bikini Bottom. This is not all that surprising. It seems like Purple Lamp took what they built for the remaster, and used it to make their own original SpongeBob game. This might sound like a complaint about the game, but it is not meant to be. I mostly bring it up as your enjoyment of Battle for Bikini Bottom is likely going to translate to SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake.
Just like The Battle for Bikini Bottom, I enjoyed playing SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake. The game does a good job replicating what I really enjoyed about the mascot 3D platformers from the late 1990s and early 2000s. This genre is not nearly as common as it once was. So it is nice to see new games released for it every so often. The game basically gives you everything you could expect from this genre. The gameplay is simple and straightforward, making it easy to pick up and play. Veterans of 3D platformers can pick up the game right away. The game is also accessible where children shouldn’t have any trouble picking it up as well.
I think SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake greatest strength is just the fact that the gameplay is quite fun. Its not particularly groundbreaking, but it doesn’t really need to be. The game does a good job just focusing on what it does best. The platforming is not particularly deep, but it is satisfying. The game does a good job keeping up the pace, and switching things up to keep it interesting. As you gain additional powers the game does a good job forcing you to switch between different abilities to make jumps.
There is a good pace to the game where you can keep moving at a quick pace. The game is not bogged down in a bunch of mechanics that don’t add much to the gameplay. The combat is fun as well even if it mostly devolves into button mashing most of the time. If you generally enjoy 3D platformers, I see no reason why you wouldn’t enjoy SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake as well.
The fun gameplay is complemented by controls that work quite well for the most part. Some of the abilities you pick up during the game work better than others, but they generally are responsive and work as intended. The combat and platforming are for the most part simple and to the point. You can pick up the game quickly and not have any issues. Rarely if ever did I think my failures in the game were due to the controls.
So this might be weird to say since I am reviewing a SpongeBob SquarePants game, but I have actually never seen an episode of the show. This is because the show first came out when I was a little too old for it. With that said, I was actually pleasantly surprised by the game’s story/humor. The story is pretty basic and predictable. That is kind of expected from a game designed for children though. I was genuinely surprised that the game was funnier than I expected it to be. There are genuinely funny moments even for people who only know the basics about the show. The story plays off callbacks to the show and the meme culture that it has developed. I did find the often repeated catchphrases to be kind of annoying though. Even if you aren’t a big fan of the show, I think you could still enjoy the story/humor.
The game’s visuals are pretty impressive as well. Not surprisingly the game is quite colorful. The worlds have quite a bit of detail and are pretty big. Each has its own theme that impacts the layout and what you do in it. Like the remaster of Battle for Bikini Bottom, you have to commend the developers on the overall design of the game. It truly felt like playing through a 3D SpongeBob movie.
While I had fun playing SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake, it does have its issues which are pretty similar to The Battle for Bikini Bottom.
The biggest issue is probably that the game is definitely on the easy side. This is not all that surprising as the game is gauged towards a family audience. If you have any experience with platformers, you likely aren’t going to have much trouble in the game. You can take quite a few hits before you die. The combat isn’t particularly skill based as you can pretty much just spam the attack button and occasionally avoid enemy attacks. The jumps are pretty straightforward and don’t require precise timing. If your aim and timing is decent, you shouldn’t miss many jumps. The game does a good job indicating where you need to go next. Should you die or miss a jump, you are only set back a small way so there really isn’t much punishment for dying/failing.
The next issue I had with SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is that it is not particularly original. While SpongeBob has a few new abilities since Battle for Bikini Bottom, the game feels very similar in terms of gameplay. Don’t expect anything particularly original from the gameplay. If you have ever played one of these cartoon 3D platformers before, you should have a good idea of what to expect from the game. The game feels a little outdated in a few areas where it is replicating an older 3D platformer instead of trying to do something new. This doesn’t mean that the game is bad as I still enjoyed playing it. There are better and more original 3D platformers out there though.
The final issue I had with SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake, is that I encountered a few minor bugs here and there. I will preface this by saying that this review is based off a pre-release version of the game so some of these issues might already be fixed for the final release of the game. None of the bugs are significant where they seriously impacted my enjoyment of the game. Most of the bugs were more graphical in nature like when switching between gameplay and cutscenes. Sometimes these switches can be abrupt where it feels like something is missing. This is not necessarily a bug, but it was sometimes hard to tell what was in bounds and what wasn’t. Generally I found the bugs that I did encounter to be pretty minor.
As for SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake’s length it really depends on what type of player that you are, and what you want to get out of the game. The game mostly consists of the hub world and seven other worlds. I would say that each world takes around an hour to an hour and a half to complete. This was with me exploring the area trying to find collectibles as I went. If you were to just do the minimum for each world it will obviously take less time. I would guess it would take most players around 7-10 hours to complete all of the worlds and finish the game. If you do the bare minimum it likely will take less time.
After you complete each world you are given a mission that requires you to return to the world to find various collectibles and gold coins. These are completely optional, but are worth checking out if you are the type of completionist that needs to try and find everything. If you want to save time, I would recommend just playing through each world the first time doing the bare minimum. Then come back to each level after you have beat the game to get all of the collectibles. I recommend this because the collectibles for the extra missions don’t spawn until you complete it the first time. If you want to collect everything you need to play each level twice. Should you do everything the game has to offer, it likely will add a couple hours to your playthrough.
At the end of the day SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is pretty much what I expected it to be. The game doesn’t revolutionize the genre in any significant way. It didn’t really need to though. It basically takes the building blocks from Battle for Bikini Bottom and crafts a new game around them. The game is kind of easy which is a little disappointing, but it is still enjoyable. There is a good pace to the game and the platforming is satisfying and fun. I kind of wish the game added a few more original mechanics, but I still enjoyed my time with it. Fans of 3D platformers should as well.
Basically my recommendation for SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake comes down to your feelings towards The Battle for Bikini Bottom and 3D platformers in general. If you didn’t really care for the previous SpongeBob game or don’t like the genre in general, the game is unlikely to change your mind. Fans of the franchise and genre though, should enjoy SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake and consider picking it up.
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake
Release Date: January 31st, 2023 | Systems: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Developer: Purple Lamp | Publisher: THQ Nordic | ESRB Rating: E10+ Fantasy Violence, Comic Mischief
Genres: Action, Platformer
Official Website: https://cosmicshake.thqnordic.com/
- Fun 3D platformer that fans of Battle for Bikini Bottom should enjoy.
- Good use of the SpongeBob theme to make a fun world to explore that is surprisingly funny.
- Pretty easy where you aren’t going to be that challenged.
- Doesn’t really innovate on the genre in any significant ways.
Recommendation: For fans of 3D platformers especially those who enjoyed Battle for Bikini Bottom.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Purple Lamp and THQ Nordic for the review copy of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.