The absurdist world of that yellow sponge that lives under the sea has returned to a console near you! That’s right, that lovably annoying goofball, SpongeBob Squarepants, is back with a whole new video game so you can enjoy the wonderful, weirdness that is Bikini Bottom and all its denizens.
After innocently causing chaos through his well-intentioned use of some cosmic bubble-blowing, SpongeBob and his best friend Patrick find themselves dealing with a multiversal rupture that has smashed Bikini Bottom together while sucking away his friends into different universes. To make matters right, SpongeBob and Patrick, who is now a balloon, must jump into different worlds, all inspired by various moments from the television show, to bring his friends back and undo his blunder in the process.
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
As with 2020’s remastered Battle for Bikini Bottom: Rehydrated, SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake is a classically-designed 3D mascot platformer. The game focuses on large levels with multiple objectives, complex platforming sections, and – par for the course in this genre – plenty of things to collect.
Using a variety of costumes, again all taken from the cartoon, SpongeBob needs to make his way through these themed worlds in his efforts to rescue his friends. You’ll traverse the parched underwater landscape of the Wild West, platform your way across the scattered islands of a Pirate World, and endure trials and tribulations as the leading role in a movie set overseen by director Squidward. Oh, the horror!
Bikini Bottom, or what’s left of it after SpongeBob’s snafu, acts as your hub and is, itself, home to multiple sub-quests and platforming challenges. Sadly, these never amount to anything more than finding something for someone, either in the game’s various levels or across the hub area itself, usually through stupendous use of your platforming prowess. They were the least interesting part of SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake as the collecta-thons were mostly repetitive and time-consuming.
Where SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake shines is in its level design and how the platforming evolves. As with every good platformer, each new level gives SpongeBob new abilities and skills, the bulk of which can be used in combat as well. The movie level, for instance, gives SpongeBob a wonderful flying kick that can be chained together to defeat multiple enemies but is also used to cross large gaps by popping a series of balloons to get you to the other side.
Levels start off simple enough, with just the right amount of challenge to get you used to that new ability, before closing out with a platforming gauntlet that requires you to use all the skills you’ve picked up thus far. These moments definitely rank amongst the game’s best as they’re tightly designed without being overly difficult or obnoxious.
On that note, SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake is, overall, an incredibly easy game. It hasn’t just been designed with the show’s fans in mind, but for younger gamers and possibly new fans who are just looking for a fun platformer without all the heartache. That may perhaps put off platforming veterans, but I found the difficulty to be perfect as it meant that everyone, at all skill levels, should be able to complete it. I never found the low level of challenge never dulled the fun of tackling those platforming gauntlets, or any of the other content you’ll find yourself doing across your playtime.
Shake things up a bit, will you?
SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake may not be trying anything new or doing things that haven’t been done in other platformers, but what it does do, it does incredibly well with a great amount of polish. Jumps are almost perfectly set out and combat is never overwhelming. SpongeBob is pretty nimble and responsive, though I did feel that his overall speed was too slow given the size of the levels.
The combat sections are smartly placed in such a way that they prevent the platforming from becoming monotonous, providing a break from leaping hazards and collecting things. As with the rest of the game, combat isn’t particularly difficult but does ask you to use multiple skills in tandem to deal with the different enemy types thrown at you.
That is a fine-looking bikini bottom
Visually, SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake is the best that Bikini Bottom has ever looked in video game form. It’s a very pretty game whose design style, coupled with the use of textures and colour, manages to capture the look and feel of the show perfectly.
Each area of the game is packed with “stand still and enjoy the view” kind of moments, whether it’s the beautiful rippling water in the Pirate Island level or the dusty cartoon browns of the Wild West. Character models and animations are top-notch as well, while the expressions on SpongeBob’s face as he does something – such as cartwheeling past an enemy attack – always brought a smile to my face. The game has a very whimsical tone to it that the visuals and level design capture perfectly.
An added plus is that the voice actors from the show reprise their respective characters here, making for a seamless tie-in for fans of the cartoon.
Aye Aye Captain!
SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake is a well-designed if overly familiar platformer. What it may lack in innovation it more than makes up for with some exciting platforming sequences, accessible difficulty, and an overall light-hearted tone. While not all of the humour landed, SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake is whimsical enough to entertain just about anyone. That said, how much you get out of it is going to be dependent on how much you like Spongebob and his retinue.
A review code for SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake was provided to gameblur by the publisher.
SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake (Xbox Series) ReviewSpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake (Xbox Series) Review
Visuals8/10 Very Good
- Beautiful visuals
- Fun platforming
- Nice, easy difficulty
- Levels can feel too large...
- ...as SpongeBob’s movement speed is too slow