SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake

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SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake review
Camrin Santchi


Nautical Nonsense Returns

Are Ya Ready, Kids?

Back in June of 2020, a classic and beloved platformer starring a certain yellow sponge was brought to modern consoles and PC by a new team, Purple Lamp Studios and THQ Nordic (For anyone interested, a review for Battle for Bikini Bottom: Rehydrated is located here). A little over a year later a brief teaser was released, showing that a new game with a very familiar feeling was in the works. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is a 2023 release that appears to draw a lot of inspiration from Battle for Bikini Bottom, being a zone based platformer that has the titular Sponge bouncing and blowing bubbles through familiar locales.

The plot of Cosmic Shake kicks off with SpongeBob and Patrick heading off to Glove World to enjoy a day at the extremity themed park, and upon returning to Bikini Bottom they meet a strange mermaid named Kassandra, a fortune teller and seller of fine mythical merchandise. The item that sets the adventure off is a bottle of Mermaid Tears, which are said to grant wishes. Unsurprisingly, SpongeBob overdoes it, and the sheer amount of wishes that he makes begins to tear apart the fabric - or rather, jelly - of reality. This causes the dimension to start shredding at the seams and scattering his friends across places called 'Wishworlds', that appear to be alternate realities where the characters can live out whatever fantastical dreams they have.

The first world we see, for example, is a Wild West variant of Bikini Bottom where cowfish are licensed to drive not boatmobiles, but seahorses. This sets the tone for the other universes that we may come across, with SpongeBob and a balloonified Patrick Star setting out to save their friends, facing off against alternate versions of allies and foes, as well as strange monsters made of, well, Cosmic Jelly.

Callbacks Ahoy

The Cosmic Shake is a very aware game, and appears to recognize that it is a sequel to Battle for Bikini Bottom thanks to the number of references it makes, from the Tikis returning (at a different size, which SpongeBob remarks on) to even some callback sound effects and items that exist solely to point out the game's nature as a sequel. In a strange way this fits particularly well, since Battle for Bikini Bottom was a game for 'classic SpongeBob', giving the impression that The Cosmic Shake is a game for 'modern SpongeBob', with differing types of self-awareness being just one example separating the two.

While the game plays fairly identically to Battle for Bikini Bottom there are some changes, such as SpongeBob being the sole playable character. Here, he has some of the abilities that were reserved for Sandy and Patrick from the first game, such as a glide (Where Sandy used a lasso, SpongeBob instead holds aloft a Krusty Krab pizza to catch the wind). New skills are unlocked over time as SpongeBob traverses from world to world, encouraging the act of returning to previous levels to reach different areas that were previously inaccessible. There are even unlockable outfits that are all references of a sort to previous episodes of the series! Overall, the callbacks are a welcome addition that help the world feel lived-in, and makes The Cosmic Shake feel quite a bit like the sequel fans of Battle for Bikini Bottom had been waiting 20 years for.

Letting a Joke Drag On

Humour is a tricky thing to review, but while The Cosmic Shake typically does a good job of letting a joke land, on occasion there are those that overstay their welcome. The best example of this comes from the Wild West Wishworld, where SpongeBob is tasked with gathering cactus juice by Sheriff Sandy. He meets the Western Outlaw version of Eugene Krabs, and what follows is an overly long segment where it's painfully obvious that Mr Krabs is making SpongeBob do the dirty work so he can reap the profits. This follows exactly the expected formula with SpongeBob going along with it until sure enough he's betrayed and has to get the cactus juice back. This quest dragged on several occasions and probably could have ended at least one barrel of cactus juice sooner to keep the pace of the story. Instead, it feels like unnecessary padding.

Along the same lines of 'padding' there are multiple occasions in The Cosmic Shake where a whirlwind seals SpongeBob in until he defeats all the enemies in the area - putting more of a focus on combat than platforming. Another situation where this comes up is an overly long adjustment to gameplay style - from minigames like chugging cactus soda against Sheriff Sandy to a side-scrolling challenge that starts over from the beginning if failed in the second world. This can spice up gameplay and keep things interesting in moderate doses, but this reviewer can't help feeling that the welcome is more than overstayed and that cutting the sequences somewhat shorter would overall benefit the game.

I'm Ready!

Despite some of the issues, The Cosmic Shake is a very fun game that satisfies both fans of SpongeBob and of platformers, and is another contender in the list of games that are licensed by other forms of media that are actually genuinely solid in their own right, rather than merely taking advantage of name recognition. For anyone that has previously played Battle for Bikini Bottom or is generally interested in a 3D platformer full of cartoon shenanigans, then SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake might just be worth losing a boating license for.

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fun score


Fun Story, Smooth Controls


Repetitive Segments, Padding