Published on February 1st, 2023 | by Gareth Newnham
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review
Summary: SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is what you would imagine a warm Krabby Patty to be like – delicious comfort food that never fails to satisfy.
20 Years later
20 years later, SpongeBob’s latest adventure from developer, Purple Lamp, nails the look and feel of the show while providing an enjoyable new adventure for kids and big kids alike.
SpongeBob Square Pants: The Cosmic Shake sees everyone’s favourite Sponge and his best bud Patrick on a mission to rescue the residents of Bikin Bottom from a horde of Cosmic Jellies after the pair tear a hole in the fabric of time and space after going overboad blowing bubbles with wish granting mermaid tears.
So far so SpongBob is probably the best thing I can say about The Cosmic Shake. In that, it feels like a natural and authentic extension of the cartoon. It has the same irreverent humour, cheery outlook, and even the same voice cast as the series. In short, it feels like the tie-in for a movie that doesn’t exist in the best possible way.
As someone who has a soft spot for the original series even though, I’m staring down the barrel of my forties. I couldn’t help but chuckle along with the bright and barmy adventure unfolding in front of me.
Each of the game’s seven Wish Worlds is packed with colour, charm and plenty of things to do including; collecting socks for the spirit of a sulking sea dog in Pirate Goo Lagoon, being a stuntman in director Squidward’s latest action flick while exploring the backlot of Karate Downtown, or syphoning off cactus juice for a prospecting Mr Krabs while riding seahorses across the planes of Wild West Jelly Fields
Inspired in part by similarly themed episodes from the series, and the monkey paw-like wish fulfilment grated by Neptune’s bubble blower. Each expansive level is easy to navigate, with almost too much signposting (it is a kid’s game) and plenty of checkpoints.
If you just want to breeze through the story you can in a few hours, but those looking for more of a challenge will also find plenty of more complex platforming challenges.
If they complete these trickier sections players are rewarded with gold doubloons that can then be used to unlock one of 30 new costumes for SpongeBob. This means that younger players can enjoy the adventure with not too much hassle, while older gamers and those looking for a challenge are also catered for (and so are those that want to have sponge bob just running around in his pants.).
Patrick, now a balloon, is also on hand to help. The loveable goof points his friend in the right direction, rescues SpongeBob when he falls in the cosmic jelly, or tumbles off a cliff, and brings him a spare pair of pants when he’s almost out, just like every best bud should.
The moment-to-moment gameplay is also fairly slick. With each new dimension, SpongeBob visits he unlocks new abilities and attacks which expand both your platforming and combat capabilities.
The combat is simple, yet effective, once you unlock the fantastic karate kick it really begins to click. It feels surprisingly badass to sail through the air and punt a Jelly in the head before smacking them with the bubble blower and watching them explode into a shower of brightly coloured bubbles that are then gathered up by the murderous sponge and used for currency.
There’s a wide selection of Jellies to battle too from the simple rank-and-file monsters armed with bubble blowers to infantry-spawning blob monsters, things that fire ink at you like rejects from a Splatoon 3 audition, and hulking brutes that swing bathtubs at you.
There are also some great boss battles. My personal favourite is a battle against Sandy, dressed as Bruce Lee, trying to run you over in a gigantic wheel.
The platforming is also for the best part, pretty solid. However, some of the trickier platforming sections demand a level of precision that the controls don’t quite allow for. Likewise, the glide move, which sees Spongebob drift to the ground with a pizza box is just a little too heavy. So making it across larger gaps with it often feels more like the result of luck than judgment.
The soundtrack is also bright and breezy, and the voice acting and writing are top-tier, but that is to be expected when the show’s main cast and creators are all in attendance. The only issue I found is that there are occasional sound glitches where the music would drop out, but this is a minor niggle, and kind of thing easily remedied in a patch.
We’ve been waiting a long time for a proper sequel to Battle of Bikini Bottom (20 chuffing-years) but Purple Lamp has not only created a solid sequel to what is known as one of the best-licensed games ever made but a superb platformer in its own right.