SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review — A Little Dab’ll Do Ya

You don’t need a game review to demonstrate the value the video game industry places on nostalgia. Over the past decade and a half, publishers like Devolver Digital have made a splash by releasing retro-inspired titles and games with pixel art graphics.

Despite appearances, many of these games have forward-thinking ideas beneath the surface. It’s extremely rare to play a brand new game that feels like it’s from another era of game design. But that’s exactly it SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake feels like.

The cosmic shake is a spiritual sequel to 2020 Battle for Bikini Bottom: Rehydratedan enhanced remake of the 2003 console platformer. During The Cosmic Shake shares many elements fight for bikini bottom, A major difference in the new game is that You only play as SpongeBob. Instead of switching between characters, you’ll unlock new costumes for SpongeBob as you progress through the themed levels.

The nautical nonsense begins when SpongeBob and Patrick grant three magical wishes from mysterious mermaid fortune-teller Kassandra. However, once all three wishes are granted, Bikini Bottom falls into cosmic chaos and the city is nearly destroyed. As SpongeBob, you must travel through a portal to different worlds where the residents and landmarks of Bikini Bottom have been kidnapped. Patrick has been transformed into a balloon, which turns out to be a clever plot device, allowing the dynamic of the show’s main duo to be omnipresent.

Each of these worlds mixes a location or episode from SpongeBob’s story with a different fantastical theme. During the course of this 8-10 hour linear adventure, you will travel to the Pirate Goo Lagoon, Halloween Rock Bottom and five other worlds. The simplicity is soothing yet antiquated.

The one part of The cosmic shake What feels most modern is the use of the series’ original voiceover. These iconic voices bring a degree of legitimacy to the world and get most jokes off the ground. While it’s ultimately a $40 budget game, this casting underscores that again The cosmic shake is the new, big Spongebob Game – for better or for worse.

Image via THQ NordicImage via THQ Nordic

If that all sounds wonderful and is exactly what you expect from one Spongebob game, you will probably have a decent time. If Battle for Bikini Bottom rehydrated by Purple Lamp, it was a divisive release based on just how far your nostalgia could reach. Although it is a completely new game, your enjoyment of The cosmic shake will depend entirely on how fond you are of your childhood 3D platformers.

While I can’t speak to the other versions of the game, I’ve experienced distracting inconsistent frame rates when playing on Nintendo Switch. Halloween Rock Bottom, the best and most open of the levels, had a lot of problems with Nintendo’s hardware due to the size of the room. Generally, The cosmic shake was relatively bug-free, but those performance issues were hard to ignore as it has the scope and fidelity of a remastered PS2 game.

There’s a joy in simplicity, there’s no doubt about that. Exploring the creatively decorated worlds as different iterations of the world’s most popular sponge is a breeze. The galactic romp takes you to and from all your favorite characters as SpongeBob saves them through boss fights and platforming puzzles.

The fight itself is weightless and mundane. There are a handful of enemies you’ll fight and teach very clearly how to defeat (it’s supposedly a kid’s game), but by and large these encounters are sparse and meaningless. Immature stealth encounters add variety, but lack any challenge, even for younger players, I suspect. While SpongeBob’s move set is limited, it expands with each level. However, there is only one combat power-up that will ever make a significant difference.

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You get the flying karate kick early on. My first thought was that speed runners are going to have a great day with this thing. Once in the air, this kick allows you to target most enemies and dash straight to them. It has a ridiculous range and often feels like it’s interrupting encounters. But unlike many others SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shakethe karate kick is pure, unadulterated fun.

Image via THQ NordicImage via THQ Nordic

In its devotion to the retro feeling The cosmic shake often stumbles into antiquity. SpongeBob barks the same five or six vocal lines throughout the game, though he tires after the first world. The character is already on the razor’s edge, and while I was one Spongebob Fan since childhood, it can easily be a headache for a prolonged session with Tom Kenny’s iconic squeak.

However, my biggest problem is that during The cosmic shake focuses on SpongeBob’s costumes, the way you earn them is backwards. During the game you collect jellies, of which there are plenty. You can also collect gold coins, but there are only a handful of them per level, and many of them can’t be found until you replay a level. These coins help you increase your Star Rank, which in turn earns you four costumes that you can unlock for 500 jellies each.

There are seven tiers, but each doubles the coin requirement. It wasn’t long before I was halfway through the game and needed eight coins for the next four costumes. In the time it took me to get these, I collected thousands of jellies and had reached the final boss.

The forced repeated content is not necessarily the problem. The residents of Bikini Bottom give you quests that add additional collectibles to each world, and revisiting them allows you to open paths that were previously limited by abilities. What’s so frustrating is that a lot of the game’s collectibles are kept for the post-game, so that includes the costumes.

The way Cosmic Shake Progression throttles is unsatisfactory and ultimately discouraging. It stretches the length of the game, sure, but the fun of replaying the game should have one Ground to wear all the outfits you’ve spent time unlocking. By nature, there are many costumes that you won’t get until you’ve absorbed almost all of the content. A focus on fashion should encourage player expression. Instead of this, The cosmic shake treats it like just another carrot on a stick.

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review – The Bottom Line

Image via THQ NordicImage via THQ Nordic


  • Lovingly crafted worlds and costumes that reference the best moments of the TV series.
  • The original voice is (mostly) charming.
  • The karate kick is completely OP and I love it.


  • Slow costume progression and a broken jelly economy.
  • Combat feels pretty weightless.
  • SpongeBob has five catchphrases that he repeats ad nauseam.
  • Performance issues and annoyingly inconsistent frame rates.

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake attempts to be a lovingly rendered throwback to the licensed 3D platformers of the early 2000s. It’s hard to argue that it fails on any of these counts. As a modern game, however, it feels antiquated in a way that holds it back. Not everything has to be for the stars, however the cosmic shake would have benefited from fresh ideas.

[Note: THQ Nordic provided the copy of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake used for this review. Featured image via THQ Nordic.]

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