There’s been a resurgence of 3D platformers over the last few years, and SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake – brought to you by the developers of Battle For Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated, Purple Lamp – is the latest game of the genre to hit consoles. A spiritual success to Bikini Bottom, The Cosmic Shake sees SpongeBob and a balloon version of Patrick embark on a hilarious and fun, multiversal-like adventure to save Bikini Bottom.
The Cosmic Shake begins with Patrick and SpongeBob taking a day off work to visit the Glove World theme park, where they meet the mysterious mermaid Madame Kassandra who sells the pair a bottle of wish-granting Magic Bubble Soap. When the pair make too many wishes, the fabric of SpongeBob’s universe is undone and portals to various Wishworlds suck in the residents and buildings of Bikini Bottom, leaving SpongeBob and Balloon-Patrick to save their undersea world.
As you embark on your adventure to save SpongeBob’s friends and several iconic landmarks of Bikini Bottom, you’ll don various costumes to explore several distinctly themed Wishworlds based on episodes from the show, including the spooky Rock Bottom, the Wild Western Jellyfish Fields, the Medieval Sulfur Fields, and more. As you explore, you’ll meet new characters and unique variations of classic SpongeBob friends; Pearl, Mrs. Puff, Sandy, Squidward, and Mr. Krabs.
Although the story isn’t groundbreaking and doesn’t tread any new ground for SpongeBob SquarePants, it is entertaining and explores the importance of friendship, highlighted by the tight bond shared between SpongeBob and Patrick that is briefly, and without consequence, put to the test at the end of the game. Older players who enjoyed the show in their youths and the classic 2000s games will enjoy the nostalgia-fuelled experience The Cosmic Shake provides, while younger players will enjoy the surprising turn of events as they unfold.
As a successor to Battle For Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated, The Cosmic Shake takes a lot from Purple Lamp’s previous release, although there are major differences in the gameplay. You play solely as SpongeBob and must explore the game’s six Wishworlds to save his closest friends and iconic Bikini Bottom buildings while wearing fabulous costumes themed after each Wishworld.
Gameplay consists of lots of jumping, gliding, and swinging between stationary, moving, rotating, and destructible platforms. None of the platforming is challenging, and the controls are tight enough that you’re unlikely to make a mistake. Most of the game’s Wishworlds will require you to complete a collectable quest of sorts, such as finding socks for the Flying Dutchman or cacti juice for a Wild-Western Mr. Krabs, while others may require you to complete puzzles and action set pieces like an alleyway fight for the Hollywood director Squidward.
Alongside the core platforming, you’ll spend a lot of time fighting the game’s jelly monsters, of which there are several varieties that unlock as you progress the game; basic jellies that are defeated with one hit and mini-boss variations that take two or more hits to dispatch. Each of the jellies come with varying movesets, whether they’re throwing exploding balls that you can bounce back at them, slamming and spinning bathtubs, or spawning additional enemies. You’ll have to utilise all of SpongeBob’s abilities – net spin attacks, ground pounds, dodges, and freezing enemies with bubbles – to dispatch them, with the game occasionally requiring you to fight rounds of enemies within a secluded arena before allowing you to move on. Despite SpongeBob’s limited moveset, the combat never became tiresome due to the range of enemies you’ll constantly be fighting, with new types introduced at a frequent rate to keep things feeling fresh.
Alongside Jelly enemies, you’ll have to face several bosses, although not all of them are fights. Of the seven bosses you face, a handful are mini-games that will require you to stealth across the boss arena without being seen, deliver fragile cakes while facing an onslaught of enemies, or simply chase the boss. Others require combat, and were easy enough to complete, although the no-damage boss achievements and trophies – known as Awards in the game that unlock new costumes for SpongeBob – provide an added layer of difficulty and challenge.
The Cosmic Shake also features segments where you’ll ride bubble boards, seahorses, large boulders, and unicycles for travel. These segments offer a nice break from traditional gameplay and are fun, although the controls can feel sluggish, occasionally making them a little frustrating to play if you’re having to grab collectables or complete other objectives – this is rare though.
Speaking of collectables, The Cosmic Shake, like the PS2 collectathon games it’s inspired by, is filled with them but in the form of side quests. Throughout the game, you’ll collect Cosmic Jelly, which you can use to purchase additional costumes for SpongeBob (More on this later), and SpongeBob’s friends will each have a side quest you can complete after saving them from their respective Wishworld. These side quests will require you to revisit Wishworlds via fast travel to the different playable sections of each world to find the previously unavailable collectables – fortune cookies, lucky pennies, refreshments, and more, all of which are fairly easy to obtain.
Each level and Bikini Bottom also have a range of gold coins you can collect, either found hiding in the nooks and crannies of each Wishworld or by completing timed mini-games, like bubble surfing through rings, defeating a number of enemies, and more. The mini-games are fun and, combined with the Wishworld side quests, provide you with a reason to replay levels once you’ve unlocked additional abilities throughout the game, as there are plenty more secrets for you to uncover that you previously couldn’t access.
One of the major aspects of The Cosmic Shake is costumes. As you progress through the story, you’ll don costumes inspired by the various Wishworlds you’ll visit, each of which are callbacks to episodes from SpongeBob SquarePants. Alongside the campaign costumes are dozens of unlockable outfits, which you can purchase with Cosmic Jelly. The costumes are split across several tiers, which you can level through by completing Awards within the game, most of which correspond to the game’s trophies and achievements and require you to defeat enemies in certain ways, defeat boss battles within a set amount of time or without taking damage, completing side quests, and more. Much like the game’s collectables, the unlockable costumes provide you with another incentive to revisit the game’s colourful Wishworlds.
Visuals and Performance
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is a last-gen game, with no dedicated new-gen versions. We played the PS4 version of the game on the PlayStation 5, where it ran at 60 frames-per-second without issue and benefited from fast loading times. However, we did experience the occasional framerate dip in busy areas, and found it disappointing that the game does not support the DualSense’s haptic feedback, touchbar, or adaptive triggers for deeper immersion.
The game is gorgeous to look at, filled with colourful and bright environments with distinct themes, and the character models are incredibly detailed both in cutscenes and in-game, and they are a huge improvement from Battle For Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated. There’s plenty to enjoy in each of the Wishworlds, including small details that you likely wouldn’t have spotted during your first playthrough. The Cosmic Shake is a joy to look at and encapsulates the great animation and detail from the television show.
How Long Is SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake?
Since The Cosmic Shake takes inspiration from PS2 platforming classic, it isn’t very long. We managed to zip through the story within around seven hours, but finding all collectables within the game as well as unlocking all achievements and trophies can take a few more hours depending on how much of the game you’ll need to re-play.
Should You Buy SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake?
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is a great call-back to the older PS2 platformers, and it offers a wonderful nostalgia ride. There isn’t much to the story, as was the case with similarly-styled games from the early ‘00s, but it was enjoyable to watch Patrick and SpongeBob’s obliviousness towards Madame Kassandra’s plans as they focus solely on saving those they love.
The game is a love letter to the television show, its predecessor Battle For Bikini Bottom, and the iconic platforming games from the early ‘00s that so many of us would love to play again. It features all of the original voice cast from the show, is packed with plenty of mini-games and challenges for you to try, and is overwhelmingly fun to play, particularly in a day where most single-player games focus on providing you with a realistic and grim story.
If you’re a fan of the SpongeBob SquarePants television show and you enjoyed Battle For Bikini Bottom and want more, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is worth it. The game is great for platform enthusiasts, for adults looking to take a break from the seriousness that is gaming now, and for younger players that should find the game to be a perfect mixture of exciting, challenging, and fun!
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake releases on January 31st for PC via Steam, Nintendo Switch, and PS4 and Xbox One consoles, and it’s backwards compatible with PS5 and Xbox Series new-gen consoles.