Following the success seen with the remake of SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated back in 2020, developer Purple Lamp Studios has returned once more with another stellar entry in the SpongeBob saga. Unlike Battle for Bikini Bottom which got the remake treatment, Cosmic Shake is a brand new game created to act as a spiritual sequel to Rehydrated.
Not only does Cosmic Shake deliver as a welcome sequel, it also serves as a delightfully fresh, unique offering that SpongeBob fans are sure to love. It doesn’t necessarily surpass Battle for Bikini Bottom, but is more on par with it, complementing it while opening the doors wide for more SpongeBob games in the future.
Make a wish
The game’s story follows SpongeBob SquarePants and his buddy Patrick who are tasked with setting things right after accidentally destroying the fabric of the universe. Not necessarily of their own volition, but simply as an accident that occurs right after the duo obtain magical wish-fulfilling Mermaid Tears from the mysterious Madame Kassandra. To piece their beloved Bikini Bottom back together again, the pair will need to travel through portals to 7 different “Wishworlds” each with its own unique theme and assortment of objectives.
For example, players can expect to explore locales including a Western-themed world called Wild West Jellyfish Fields along with the extra spooky, Halloween Rock Bottom Experience. During their adventures, SpongeBob and Patrick (transformed into a balloon companion by the magic of the Mermaid Tears) will run into and assist a variety of characters from the series such as Squidward, Sandy, Mr. Krabs, Plankton, Mrs. Puff, Pearl, and more. For fans of the show, or past SpongeBob games, there are plenty of references and Easter Eggs in Cosmic Shake to make the story feel like a fun, wholesomely enjoyable experience from start to finish.
In many ways, Cosmic Shake’s campaign feels a lot like playing through an interactive SpongeBob film, aided in part by its inclusion of the full voice cast from the show in addition to its original writers. This means you can expect to hear the one and only Tom Kenny reprise his role as SpongeBob, along with Bill Fagerbakke as Patrick, Clancy Browns as Mr. Krabs, Doug Lawrence as Plankton, and so on. The voice acting is fantastic throughout, though I will say the methods used to record these voices does falter a bit at times, with some of the voices sounding strangely tinny and echo-y in parts. Lines can be repeated a bit too often as well, such as when SpongeBob is collecting jelly, often exclaiming, “Sticky sweet!”
Cosmic Shake’s sound design and soundtrack are superb, with the same sound effects as what’s featured in the show used for things like SpongeBob walking around. Adding to the game’s effectiveness as a sequel, its soundtrack also comes courtesy of the same composers who worked on Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated. With this, audio wise and otherwise, there’s a nice feeling of continuity to Cosmic Shake. From top to bottom, Cosmic Shake feels like a proper sequel to Purple Lamp Studios’ previous work. That said, if you’re wondering whether you can enjoy Cosmic Shake if you’ve never played Battle for Bikini Bottom (Rehydrated, or the original from the early 2000s) the answer is also a resounding yes, you can.
Adding to this, Cosmic Shake feels uniquely approachable with its themes and designs keeping a younger crowd in mind. Something that's further emphasized by the game’s forgiving, approachable gameplay. With this, if you’ve been looking to get your kids into SpongeBob or have been wanting to buy a game to help keep them busy after school, Cosmic Shake is one I strongly recommend as a parent of a 5-year-old. Cosmic Shake is a title I can easily see my son enjoying just as much as I enjoyed it, and one he shouldn’t have too much difficulty playing either.
Shake it up
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake features a wealth of approachable, yet effective gameplay mechanics that keep things feeling constantly engaging. There really is never a dull moment in Cosmic Shake.
Unlike Rehydrated, which gave players the ability to take on the roles of multiple characters including SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy, Cosmic Shake simplifies things by focusing on SpongeBob as the sole playable character. While Patrick isn’t playable this time around, he’s still able to be helpful to SpongeBob in other ways. Namely, by acting as a trusty companion in his Balloon-Patrick form and doing things like dropping fresh undies (which act as lives in the game) for SpongeBob when he takes damage.
For the sake of keeping things feeling fresh with its singular playable character, SpongeBob is not only able to smack and whack foes around in Cosmic Shake, he can also dodge attacks, freeze foes using Bubble Throw, and deal damage in alternate ways such as through skills like Ground Pound. Combat is decent for the most part, though the real highlight of Cosmic Shake’s gameplay is its platforming elements and areas where you can bounce between SpongeBob’s skills like using his powerful Karate Kick to blast through obstacles and Swing Hook to pull yourself forward.
A great example of Cosmic Shake’s platforming elements being implemented to the fullest is a section where SpongeBob needs to parkour over tall buildings for Squidward. To do this, SpongeBob largely uses the aforementioned Karate Kick to dash forward through objects like special red balloons and specially marked wooden planks. Minor nitpick when it comes to platforming, but strangely the base jump mechanic feels a bit stiff and noticeably less snappy and responsive than other moves. That said, the game more than makes up for its wimpy jump with a workable double jump and delightfully effective glide mechanic where SpongeBob whips out the iconic Krusty Krab pizza box.
Another nitpick with Cosmic Shake’s gameplay is that most of the combat encounters feel far simpler and easier to get past than the game’s platforming and light puzzle-solving elements. This is due, in part, to there being no real fail state in the game outside of being sent back to previous checkpoints. I didn’t necessarily mind the fact that most enemies can be button-mashed into oblivion, though. Nor did I mind how, if you take a few too many hits, you won’t have to do too much retracing of your steps thanks to the overly fair checkpoint system as it only serves to add to the game’s casual, approachable, laid-back feel. I just wish things like “boss battles” (which don’t always feel like boss battles) presented more of a challenge to spice things up, especially in the first few Wishworlds you explore.
Each Wishworld has its own unique objectives for you to complete, and you can double back to any previous Wishworld at any time to wrap up anything that might be left over. As you play through the game as well, you’ll unlock and collect fun costumes for SpongeBob. In total, there are over 30 costumes to collect in Cosmic Shake such as SnailBob and SpongeGar.
Accessibility wise, Cosmic Shake offers subtitles with text size that can be adjusted along with text opacity. There’s also color blindness correction, and the ability to toggle things like objectives as being always visible or not. When the objectives are kept visible, the game becomes even more approachable for younger gamers as you’re constantly being pointed in the right direction. Little to nothing in Cosmic Shake will leave you feeling confused, as added to by things like pop-up tutorials that quite literally show you what you need to do.
So fresh, so clean
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is nothing short of a delight, and will go over swimmingly well with those who already enjoyed Purple Lamp Studios’ previous efforts with Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated. For newcomers, there’s plenty to help pull you in and make you feel comfortable, and as an added bonus Cosmic Shake is a top tier pick for parents looking for something suitable for their kids to play.
The game shows that not only can Purple Lamb Studios give games the proper remake treatment, they can also follow them up with something refreshingly new, and I can’t wait to see what else the studio cooks up in the future. Especially if it’s another SpongeBob game, because if Cosmic Shake is any indication, Purple Lamb Studios clearly “gets it” concept wise, and are fully able to execute that concept to the fullest.
This review is based on a digital Xbox One copy supplied by the publisher. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is set to release on January 31 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake
- Vibrant, colorful, graphics
- Stellar voice acting from original voice actors
- Fun, engaging story packed full of references
- Rich platforming elements throughout
- Plenty of skill variety for SpongeBob
- Simple and approachable for gamers of all ages
- Jumping mechanic feels a tad stiff and unresponsive
- Voices can sound tinny and echo-y
- Overly simple combat encounters and boss battles
Morgan Shaver posted a new article, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake review: A splish-splash n' blast
I am fully pre ordered and pumped for SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake : https://store.steampowered.com/app/1282150/SpongeBob_SquarePants_The_Cosmic_Shake/
The first game SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated : https://store.steampowered.com/app/969990/SpongeBob_SquarePants_Battle_for_Bikini_Bottom__Rehydrated/ is really awesome and is one of my favorite 3D platformers.
Really looking forward to playing the next game my juices are intensifying!