SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake – Review

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review cover
Release Date
January 31, 2023
THQ Nordic
Purple Lamp Studios
PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Reviewed on
Review copy provided by
THQ Nordic

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is the newest action adventure platform game made by the devs at Purple Lamp Studios and published by THQ Nordic, the same people who made SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated back in 2020.

Things get more out of hand in Bikini Bottom when SpongeBob and Patrick happen to find a vial which they thought only contained soap for making bubbles. The vial actually contained Mermaid Tears which grants the wishes of those who used it. It was already too late when SpongeBob realized what they’ve done as the numerous bubbles that they blew created portals. These portals lead to worlds known as Wishworlds drawn from the wishes imbued on the bubbles.

Along with the destruction of Bikini Bottom, mysterious cosmic goo has also covered the land, bringing otherworldly monsters with it. To make it worse, most of their friends and the residents of Bikini Bottom have been sucked into these portals. SpongeBob still has Patrick on his side, but Patrick has been transformed into a balloon, just as SpongeBob wished. It’s now up to the duo to clean up the mess that they did, save their friends, and restore Bikini Bottom to normal.

I’d like to start off by talking about the story first. Much as one would expect in a SpongeBob game, having the game split into Wishworlds gave the game an episodic feel strung by the overarching goal of restoring Bikini Bottom back to its normal state. There’s also the addition of a new character named Madame Kassandra who keeps things progressing and points the players to the next destination, though those with keen senses will most likely catch up on her motives early on.

There was no overly complicated plot woven into the story, which would make it really easy for younger audiences to appreciate and get hooked on. Those in the older category may find the story a bit bleak at some points and may just find their enjoyment through the gameplay itself and perhaps on its plentiful callbacks and references which I’ll talk about more later on. Nevertheless, the story of the game is very fun and lighthearted and it does not stray too far from a typical SpongeBob episode.

The gameplay is more on the neutral side of things with equal servings of easy and challenging parts, more or less. Some of the boss fights took me a couple of times to complete, but I’d say it’s more of a skill issue as I managed to clear them once I learned their attack patterns. Players will always be in third-person view, but with a free-moving camera to make maneuvering easy, especially when judging the distance between the next platform, or when getting ganged up on by enemies on all sides.

The entire game itself has a very linear progression from start to end. There are side quests, but they do not take one out on a detour from the main story quest as one would more likely complete them after completing the entire story once. These side quests aren’t that complicated either and are more like “Find all of X throughout all the worlds” kind of quests.

Players get to control only SpongeBob, but this gets compensated by the fact that he gains more skills and moves in every world that he visits. Additionally, he can revisit a completed world bringing along the new stuff he learned to gain access to secrets that he couldn’t have obtained in the early parts of the game. Even when the story ends, there are still secrets left to be discovered, so those who are eager to complete the game will have plenty more stuff to work on.

Personally, I think the visuals of the game is as good as you can get without getting into the uncanny valley. Everything is so colorfully painted and is fun to look at. The 3D models are made and textured well and despite being in three dimensions, the world still maintained its cartoony vibe.

As for the music, it’s part of what makes this game great for me because just hearing them while I play brings back good memories of the old SpongeBob episodes. I won’t spoil much, but the songs are a treat up until the credits finish rolling. Also, just a bit of a tangent from the music, it’s great to hear the original voice actors still playing as the voice of their characters in the series.

Performance-wise, I played the game on my years-old PS4 and despite having random freezes here and there, the game worked generally smoothly. There were some very minor model glitches where some enemies got stuck in walls or floors, but they were nothing that I wasn’t able to fix within a minute. There were also some desync between the character model and their voice lines from time to time. The game did crash on me at one point, but along with the freezes, I’d chalk those up to my hardware. All in all, those performance trips did not ruin my experience with the game.

The strongest point that The Cosmic Shake has, in my own opinion, is its callbacks and references. As for someone who grew up watching the earlier episodes of SpongeBob back when I was a young lad, I really enjoyed seeing the stuff that I saw back then in the series being incorporated in the game’s worlds. Most of these references survived due to obtaining meme status, but there were some that still definitely gave me a strong nostalgia hit.

Being able to revisit Rock Bottom again still gave me both the chills and the excitement, similar to how it felt when I first got to explore it in an older SpongeBob game. Seeing the other stuff like the seabear, the Chocolate Guy, Dehydrated SpongeBob and Opposite Day SquidBob were enough to bring a smile to my face. Even just listening to the dumb dialogues and shenanigans between SpongeBob and Patrick made the experience a bit more hilarious.

Overall, I gave The Cosmic Shake an 8.5 because I got a bit more of what I expected from the game, but also it felt like the game could have been better if it was given just a tad more depth when it comes to its progression and gameplay.

I already expected that the game would be a fun experience, and a fun experience I did get. It was also fun to have Patrick tag along with the adventure, but the game could have given Patrick something more than just silly dialogues during cutscenes to make the dynamic between the best friends stand out even more.

I would still highly recommend The Cosmic Shake to anyone, especially those who are already a fan of the SpongeBob franchise. I’ve already mentioned it more than a couple of times, but the sheer fact that I had fun all throughout the game is enough for the game to get a thumbs up from me. If I were to decide, The Cosmic Shake deserves a sequel.

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review cover
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake – Review
Score Definition
When the issues of a game are rolled and stomped by its greatness, then it’s something to invest on if you have some spare.
The worlds are colorfully crafted
Gives the right amount of nostalgia through references and jokes
Funny and dumb dialogues
Can help with a bit more complexity
No additional dynamic between SpongeBob and Patrick outside dialogues and cutscenes
Staff Writer