Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob SquarePants does! Who also messed with the fabric of space and time, leading to his latest zany adventure: SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake? That same, yellow, cartoon dude.

Almost three years ago to the day, Purple Lamp and THQ Nordic jumped on the remake/remaster train with SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated. At least, that’s when the new, updated and modern day version of the PlayStation 2 fan favourite was released. Now, the two companies are back with The Cosmic Shake, which is an all-new adventure for SpongeBob and friends. However, despite us being well into the current generation of consoles, this title began development on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Switch, and has remained only for those consoles, though it’s obviously also playable on Xbox Series and PlayStation 5 through backwards compatibility. Plus, it’s out on PC, for those who prefer the mouse and keyboard based platform.

Now that all of that is out of the way, we can talk about the game, itself.

This new, comical and weird, adventure begins with our titular hero and his friend, Patrick, coming across a special trinket. One that allows them to make wishes out of mermaid tears, and leads to them damaging the fabric of both space and time. The result? Many of their friends, pets and curmudgeonly neighbours have been sent to other dimensions and have also lost their traditional personalities. Thus, the two nincompoops must jump into portals, traverse themed dimensions and restore normalcy to Bikini Bottom.

The result is a game that feels like a classic platformer from decades and consoles gone by. It’s a nice, comforting and nostalgic experience, which fans of the series are sure to get the most out of. That’s something I happen to not be, because my house never had cable and I kind of grew up before the SpongeBob SquarePants craze. The only way I could watch such shows was to visit my grandparents, and that required a 2.5 hour drive. Needless to say, we mostly went up on different weekends, or holidays, or for vacations, at which point I’d revel in the greatness that was cable TV. It sure put our antenna TV to shame.

Sure, I’ve seen a bit of the show, and part of its movie, in the years that have passed, but it’s never really hooked me. I respect it, though.

The general goal of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is to work with a random mermaid vendor to restore everything to what it once was. This means collecting lots of cosmic jelly, which is spread throughout both Bikini Bottom and the different worlds you’ll venture through. It’s not rare, whatsoever, but you’ll need to do some difficult platforming in order to collect all of it. Then again, you don’t have to worry about that, because it’s kind of like coins in Super Mario Bros. or one of its offshoots.

Of course, each of these dimensions has its own theme and related costume, which you’re given before entering. The first is a cowboy hat, which complements the seahorse riding you’ll do in what is a wild west universe. Another gives you a karate suit, and tasks you with filming a movie wherein SpongeBob is a karate master, who can complement his jumping, spin attacks and butt slams with kung-fu kicks at red balloons and doors/gates bearing that symbol. A third, then, tasks you with exploring a Halloween town wherein a giant snail monster has taken up residence and developed an obsession with candy bars.

Wild West Jellyfish Fields, Halloween Rock Bottom, the movie studio and another, pirate-themed, location are just some of the approximately seven different locations you’ll visit in what is surprisingly a budget priced release. Along the way you’ll pick up multiple different costumes, although the nice thing is that you won’t have to switch to them every time you want to do a specific move. I appreciated that, because it could’ve been a pain in the ass. Plus, this way I was able to wear whichever costume I wanted, including some that we were given via a separate code and others I purchased using jelly. There are a number of costumes to purchase, many of which I’m sure that fans of the show will recognize, but I did not. As you play and progress, you’ll unlock different tiers of purchasable threads.

Most of this interactive and zany experience involves traditional platforming, like jumping from one place to another, or making your way up to rooftops using boxes and other environmental objects. You’ll also do a lot of spinning attacks and kung-fu kicks against a plethora of different jelly enemies, including basic grunts, large behemoths who pound the ground, a massive bruiser with a box he likes to slam to the ground and other who can shoot or bite. The combat is generally pretty simple, but it works well, and health continues to be handled by collecting new pairs of tighty whities. These are occasionally brought by Patrick, who I forgot to mention has been turned into a balloon as the result of one of his and SpongeBob’s many mermaid tear wishes. I was hoping that Patrick’s balloon based existence would factor more into gameplay than it did, but he’s there for comic relief and is occasionally helpful.

I should also mention that there are bubbles, which can be shot at enemies or certain things in the environment. If you shoot a bubble at a foe, it’ll get trapped in one and become unable to attack. This can lead to an easy kill. Meanwhile, shooting bubbles at inflatable platforms will cause them to temporarily inflate, whereas shooting them at targets can cause things to happen. There are even moments where some target practice can be done.

All of this is complemented by some aerial surfboarding, fishhook swinging and floating using a pizza box from SpongeBob’s place of employment. He even likes to regularly sing a little ditty about how the pizza is the best for you and him. It’s oddly charming, as opposed to being annoying, which is true of most of The Cosmic Shake‘s colourful, weird, over-the-top and downright zany dialogue. Not to mention some of the close-up, gross out images of different returning characters, as well as some of the newcomers.

There are some boss battles, but not every universe has one. You’ll sometimes face off against a creature using stealth, bravado or a combination of the two, but will also find yourself collecting a special type of soda or doing something else, like making sure to stay in frame and complete the scene at the right speed. You never really know what’s coming next, which is part of this game’s charm.

In all honesty, I wasn’t a big fan of Bikini Bottom Rehydrated, as I found it to be a bit dated and nothing special overall. Maybe if I’d played it years ago, on PlayStation 2, things would’ve been different, but it didn’t wow me by any means. That wasn’t the case with SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake, though, because I quite enjoyed this game from the start. It’s a very colourful experience, and one that is both well made and enjoyable. Not the best platformer I’ve ever played, by any means, but definitely far better than average, and worth playing even if you’re not really a big fan of this show. That is, unless it annoys you, because it’s not like it’s going to make you like SpongeBob all of a sudden.

One of the nicest things about this title is that it has support from all of the show’s voice actors, who’ve revisited their roles herein. As such, you can look forward to a TV show-esque experience, which is full of both familiar animated faces and their iconic voices. There are, of course, also new characters to meet and interact with, and their voice actors fit in wonderfully. Granted, it helps that this is a comical and pretty well-written game, and that it retains the charm of the show and everything it involves.

What I said above is also true of the visuals, which are spot on and very easy on the eyes. Although I knew that I was playing an Xbox One game on our Xbox Series S review unit, it felt like I was playing something for the S. The character models are well designed and faithful to the show, the worlds look colourful and nicely detailed, and it all really pops thanks to how bright and colourful most of this universe is. Plus, there’s a good amount of creativity to be found within, not to mention appreciated variety in the worlds and their denizens.

Those who are looking for a fun, well made and memorable platformer should take a gander at SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake. It’s a nice addition to the genre, retains its series’ personality well, and is an improvement over a game that many liked a couple of decades ago. On top of this, it’s nicely budget priced at $39.99, which is a bonus. Sure, it’s average length or shorter, but that’s okay given the price.

This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game. We were provided with a review code.

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is well worth your time if you're a fan of classic platformers from the PlayStation 2 era. This is especially true if you're a big fan of the show, because it's very faithful to its source material and has a lot to offer to its biggest fans.
The Good Stuff
  • Average length platformer
  • Looks and sounds really good
  • Quite a bit of good content to be found within
The Not-So-Good Stuff
  • Not super long, but it's budget priced
  • Not for everyone
  • Doesn't revolutionize the genre, but that's ok
81%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

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