Spongebob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake Review
Our review of this game will contain no spoilers. I’ll cover a brief synopsis of the characters and plot presented in the first half hour of the game and any screenshots shown herein will be spoiler-free.
Spongebob is a cartoon that has lasted over a generation. When I watched the original episodes that aired back in 1999 I was a child, but now I’m well into my 30’s and I could show modern episodes of Spongebob to my kids. You’ll be happy to know that The Cosmic Shake would be a great game for audiences of all ages. It’s a very light-hearted and colorful platformer that never gets too difficult and has all the great mainstays of Spongebob, from its silly characters to the countless memes that have been created over the years.
There have been many Spongebob games released, from Revenge of the Flying Dutchman that released in 2002 (which my first Spongebob game) as well as Battle for Bikini Bottom in 2003 and the Spongebob Squarepants Movie (the game) released in 2004 just to name a few. The Cosmic Shake is more of a successor to Battle for Bikini Bottom speaking strictly in terms of the gameplay – it’s a platformer in the same vein but it also improves upon Battle for Bikini Bottom’s original formula with different abilities and many modern quality of life improvements.
The Cosmic Shake has a completely original storyline and you don’t need to have played any of the Spongebob games or have even watched the show to understand the plot, but I guarantee that you’d definitely will find the game much funnier if you catch the references.
The premise of the plot is that Spongebob and Patrick meet a travelling saleswoman named Madame Kassandra who sells them a mysterious jar of gooey fluid. Spongebob uses this liquid to blow bubbles, but it somehow ends up covering the entire town with goo and also creates alternate dimensions that trap his friends, as well as turn Patrick into a bubble.
It’s up to the duo to explore these realms and save their friends. The story is quite basic but very child-friendly and the game has plenty of funny dialogue from classic Spongebob characters, such as Mr. Krabs being cheap, Squidward wanting peace and quiet and Plankton not putting any effort into his restaurant.
The game features a hub area, Bikini Bottom, as well as seven other dimensions to explore. As you progress the story you unlock more dimensions and more areas of Bikini Bottom are unlocked for you to explore.
This game is not quite a “collect-a-thon” like Battle for Bikini Bottom. Rather, this game is much more linear with a few branching paths for collectibles. You progress the story by continuing forward and you’re never blocked by gates requiring you to collect a certain number of collectibles, but you do need to complete earlier worlds to unlock later worlds. In fact, you could progress the entire story without completing any secondary missions if you wanted to. You can’t also choose to go in the levels in any order, you have to progress through them linearly in this title. Thankfully a marker shows where you need to go to progress the story if you get lost.
Collectibles in this title include globs of jelly, which is used to purchase outfits for Spongebob. Spongebob is the only playable character in this game. To unlock the outfits for purchase, however, you actually need to collect doubloons, which will unlock sets of outfits for Spongebob in sets of ranks. These outfits are purely cosmetic and don’t affect the gameplay in any way, but they are a neat throwback to the show, with many funny costumes such as Spongebob’s maid outfit from the episode “Can you spare a dime?” as well as his outfit from the Bubble Bowl, just to name few. Some costumes are unlocked from completing levels in the story as well. Jelly is very easy to collect and is unlimited because if you die or go through levels again you can find more of it no problem. You don’t use jelly for anything else other than the costumes.
There are other upgrades such as Spongebob’s golden underwear, found sparingly throughout the levels. Spongebob’s health meter is represented by the number of clean underwear he is wearing (how many hits he can take), and you can get more of them as health pickups. The golden underwear upgrades your health permanently and will make the game easier. There are many other collectibles as well which are the game’s secondary missions you obtain from talking to NPCs after rescue them which involve finding Plankton’s pet Spot in the levels, fortune cookies, good noodle stars, as well as many other items.
In terms of difficulty, this game is really easy, with checkpoints almost everywhere and if you fall into a pit you’ll respawn on the ledge you just came from. One great addition is that Spongebob can even grab ledges if you were about to barely miss a jump, not present in Battle for Bikini Bottom. Patrick will also point the direction to go to and even give verbal hints on secret collectibles, as well as even give you extra health if you’re low on underwear. The only slightly hard part was a short auto scroller level which would automatically kill Spongebob if you hit the end of the screen and you had to restart it from the beginning, which I was able to get through after a couple of tries.
I really like how the game incorporates Spongebob memes into it. The loading screens for example are the “2 hours later” screen which got a laugh out of me. You’ll also see many callbacks to episodes, such as Squidward painting Bold and Brash, references to the Alaskan Bull Worm, characters using dolphin noises as swear words and many creepy zoom in images. I was also able to learn about newer characters on the show as well, such as Plankton’s pet Spot.
As you progress through the story you get new abilities for Spongebob which makes the game more fun and they are very different to his abilities in Battle for Bikini Bottom. His regular moveset is very basic such as swinging his jellyfishing net to attack enemies. You will eventually unlock the ability to karate kick enemies which is basically a homing attack to close the distance between you and the enemy quickly and is extremely useful. You also unlock a leafblower during certain segments, letting you suck up smaller enemies to spit out projectiles and hurt larger enemies and bosses.
As you progress you see a wider variety of enemy types, all themed around cosmic jelly. One annoying enemy type was the glob of enemies wearing an anchor hat that spawned other enemies because anytime you’d hit it it would stun you and I couldn’t find a workaround to avoid getting stunned. This was annoying because while being stunned I’d get attacked by other enemies. But overall the game was easy including the combat as well and it gets much easier if you collect more golden underwear to permanently increase your health. The game has bosses at the end of some of the levels which are also never overly difficult and give you a chance to use all of your abilities.
Other new abilities include riding a seahorse, which can be done in the hub world to travel around quickly as well as certain story areas. The controls are not the best and it’s tricky to collect all the cosmic jelly on the seahorse, but it gets the job done and mixes up the gameplay loop. Another new ability is being able to roll on a spherical rock, which is very fun – usually you roll on the rock over a hazard such as lava, and you avoid enemies and pick up collectibles. You can also use hook swingshots and glide, making platforming easy.
The worlds are also very colorful and distinct. Rather than just visiting different areas in Bikini Bottom, they’re also set in varying time periods, including a Wild West Jellyfish Fields, a karate film set version of Downtown Bikini Bottom, pirate Goo Lagoon, Rock Bottom during Halloween, a prehistoric Kelp Forest, and a medieval Sulfur Fields just to name some examples.
The only other gameplay mechanic I found annoying was that if you wanted to do a lot of the secondary objectives you have to revisit the levels. There are many collectibles you can get on your first run through a level, but there are also many collectibles that require powerups from later levels to get them. The problem is that this game isn’t quite open world. After completing each world you can warp to any checkpoint in the level, but it still feels annoying having to replay a portion of the level to get to the secret areas. The menus also don’t have a good breakdown of which checkpoints have secrets, which was present in Battle for Bikini Bottom. Another slight disappointment is only having Spongebob be a playable character when older games had Patrick playable as well.
Battle for Bikini Bottom was slightly better in this regard because you collected spatulas in a nonlinear world and you could warp back to any spatula you wanted to if you didn’t have the correct abilities at the time. But in Cosmic Shake, you somewhat have to progress through the linear levels again a bit to get to the secondary objectives. The checkpoint warps certainly make it easier but it does feel like backtracking. It’s never mandatory to do secondary objectives though. The game took us 10 hours to complete, but if you go for more secondary objectives it’s possible to spend 15-20 hours on it.
Despite just a few missteps, the game is really fun whether you’re an adult who grew up with the show or if you want to purchase it for your kids or children in your family. It’s never a tricky game and the visuals and distinct worlds look bright and amazing with today’s technology compared to older Spongebob games. I really recommend you to pick up this game and give it a shot, it’s a very fun game and it was great to immerse my self in the world of Spongebob again.
Spongebob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake
- Very fun and colorful platformer. The developers of this game have done their research, and the characters act accordingly and they even put memes into the game.
- Has many more abilities compared to the older games such as a karate kick that homes in on enemies, making combat more addicting.
- Never overly challenging.
- There can be a bit of back-tracking if you’re a completionist. I would’ve preferred if I could’ve obtained more of the collectables on my first visit to a world, but you can’t because you need abilities unlocked from later in the game.
– Brandon Harris
Reviewed on PC