SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake
Developer: Purple Lamp
Publisher THQ Nordic
Genre(s): Platforms, Adventure
Platform: Xbox Series X (also available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PC)
Age Rating: [EGI 7
Release Date: 31/01/2023
A code was provided for review purposes
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is not my usual game. However, variety is the spice of life, so when the chance came, I thought, why not. And so, with childish enthusiasm I loaded up the game and prepared to venture for a stroll through Bikini Bottom.
How did SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake play? Was it an out-of-this-world success or a game best sent down to Davy Jones’s locker? Read this rapid review to find out.
A Game for Younger Gamers
I think it’s fair that I am not the target age group for maximum SpongeBob enjoyment. That’s not to say this game isn’t fun for older gamers because it is. However, the degree of challenge the game presents certainly lends itself to the younger ones.
Firstly, you can’t die when playing SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake. Sure, you have health points in the form of underwear, but once they are all gone, you just return a little further back. Secondly, the controls are basic, and while you learn a few moves as you go through the game, they are single-button affairs.
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is clearly aimed at early gamers, yet, despite that, I found the game to be largely good fun. I found it got a little too repetitive for my liking, but again given the age group it’s intended for, that’s no bad thing.
As Bizarre as You Would Expect
The story of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is as nonsensical as every TV show episode. SpongeBob and Patrick are heading for a fun day out at Glove World when they accidentally tear apart the fabric of space and time. This destroys Bikini Bottom, covers it in purple goo and sends SpongeBob’s friends deep into different realms. Oh yeah, and Patrick is turned into a balloon!
You spend the game travelling through space and time, reducing your friends who have somehow been transformed into giant villains, and collecting jelly – oddly enough not from jellyfish – to seal the rift and get things back to normal.
I won’t lie; I went into this game expecting it to be a walk in the park. Yes, the gameplay is simple, and there is nothing complex about its puzzles or objectives. However, what really shocked me was the sheer amount of things you can do.
I was not expecting so many collectables and non-storyline-based challenges. As you progress through the game, you learn new moves. These moves unlock short mini-games and challenges in each of the realms. The rewards are a gold coin, which unlocks costume tiers. For those that are completionists or simply love exploring, this means you will need to keep revisiting levels to investigate them to their fullest.
Each level also has collectable icons such as the ever-classic golden spatula and also plankton’s pet amoeba ‘spot’, who is hiding somewhere inside each level. Beyond that, I found there to be multiple side quests in and around the destroyed hub world of Bikini Bottom. I put a lot of time into exploration and am not even close to getting everything.
It was a refreshing surprise to find so much to do, and it kept me playing, even when the naturally SpongeBobian nature of the game started to get annoying.
Enter an Imaginative and Colourful World
There can be no denying that SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is a wild world plucked from the very core of a vivid imagination. With all of the familiar voices you know and love from the series, I couldn’t help but feel that I was playing a SpongeBob movie.
There have been several SpongeBob games now, and while this is my first, I was already wondering how they could make it different. Each of the different worlds created was wildly different in its look, yet they were welcomingly familiar in how they played. I can imagine that for young gamers, this familiarity from realm to realm brings a sense of understanding that helps keep them engrossed.
I enjoyed the prehistoric and medieval realms the best and sadly found helping Squidward shoot his movie to be the most irritating. As an older gamer, I found the base game a little lengthy. The repetitive nature of the levels became a grind, and I lost little interest in what I was doing. However, I’m also far removed from the target audience, something I occasionally needed to remind myself of.
A Chaotic Gaming Experience
The SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake experience is surreal and chaotic. Things happen all around you and all at once. I still can’t quite fathom why you get an instant ‘death’ if you touch water, given you’re already underwater, but that’s a question for another day.
Beneath the childish, cartoony nature of the game is a fun 3D platformer. It might not have the appeal and charm of Banjo-Kazooie or the throwback appeal of Yooka-laylee, but very few games hit that.
If you are a gamer, even a distinctly average one like myself, then SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is not going to pose a challenge for you, but I am confident it will give a few laughs and a fun evening of gaming. If you’re a gamer and a parent, this is a great gateway game that means you can share your hobby with your kids.
I played SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake the regular way. However, I am sure it is a game filled with unintended potential. I feel that speedrunners will have a field day with OOBs, skips and clever strats. To be perfectly honest, I’m looking forward to watching some runs of this game just to see how differently it plays in that regard.
Final Thoughts on SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake
Not all games need to be masterpieces. Not every game is an Elden Ring or a Hogwarts Legacy. Neither is every 3D platformer going to be a Mario Odyssey or Banjo Kazooie, and that’s ok. I enjoyed myself playing SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake. Ultimately, I game for fun. I game because I love to play games, but I also play games because they let me switch off. To let go of the daily stresses and grind of adulthood. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake offers this in gratuitous silliness and nonsensical absurdity.
I went in with no real expectations, found myself pleasantly surprised by the depth of the game and had a good time doing it. Sometimes, that’s all you can ask for, but also all you really need.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5
You can get your copy of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake from the Microsoft Store today.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.