SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review
- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is a great new reason to return to Bikini Bottom and reunite with iconic characters from your childhood.
- Varied Gameplay
- Decent Story
- Beloved World And Characters
- Beautifully Crafted Levels
- Alluring Art Style
- Enemy Encounters Can Get Tedious
- Mediocre Rewards For Exploring
- Occasional Performance Drops
Our SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review is an analysis of a game that is based on one of the most iconic animated TV shows in the world, featuring characters firmly etched in every 90s and 2000’s kid’s mind. And although its first fanbase has grown up and moved towards other things, the memories it created will forever roam the lush nostalgic plains of their minds and tug at their heartstrings.
Over the course of its run-time, the show has spanned many games including everyone’s favorite platformer Battle for Bikini Bottom, which also received a remake in 2020 with generally positive reviews. That game had surely been made pretty, but it also carried over most of the mechanics from the original 2003 version, which were severely outdated at that point.
To fix its shortcomings, the franchise has spawned another major platformer title under the name of Spongebob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake. But does it uphold the legacy that Bikini of Bottle Left Behind? Or is it forever doomed to remain under the shadow of its critically acclaimed predecessor? Let’s find out in our SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review!
Story And Setting
The story kicks off with our beloved SpongeBob and his best friend friend, Patrick, meeting a mermaid named Kassandra. This mysterious mermaid gives them bubble soap which possesses a potent magic ability to grant any wish. Thus, our kind-hearted, and might I add impressionable, friends journey across Bikini Bottom, granting the wish of every person they meet. Does grumpy old Squidward want to become famous because of his paintings? No problem at all, his annoying neighbors are here to save the day!
However, every wish comes with a catch. And granting too many wishes at once causes magic tears to appear across the multiverse, creating portals to different universes and scattering SpongeBob’s friends among them. In the process, this also floods Bikini Bottom with a mysterious cosmic jelly, which brings a host of outlandish creatures along with it. Thus our favorite duo must now venture into the different portals and rescue their friends, and also restore Bikini Bottom to its former untouched state, by collecting cosmic jelly for Kassandra.
There are 7 different worlds, or we can address them as levels if you prefer, that the player must progress through. Each level has a different theme ranging from medieval times to the Wild West, and there are also a number of references to the earlier seasons of SpongeBob SquarePants through each of them. These references are a nice touch and I had many moments of recognition as I played through the campaign. These were nice little nods for old fans, and they unlocked many of my past forgotten memories and evoked a feeling of deep nostalgia. There were far fewer references to the newer seasons of Spongebob though, so younger fans are gonna be a bit upset.
Now, the story is not anything groundbreaking, but it does serve as a nice and coherent foundation for the events that occur. Each of the iconic characters preserves their original personalities which I really loved seeing, and yes, Mr. Krabs is as money hungry as ever. But, the main component of a platformer has always been the gameplay. So without further ado! Let’s move on to the gameplay section of our Spongebob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review!
Now this game is once again a 3D platformer, but the level design is more linear compared to its predecessor, which had more open space for the player to explore. There are still many optional paths heading to different locations in a level, which can lead to different side objectives and secrets, but the point still stands. It preserves some sense of freedom but is limited in comparison. Still, this linear design works well for the title.
Another stark difference from the past major entry in the series is that you now only play as SpongeBob, instead of multiple characters. On one hand, you are being given less choice, but on the other, you no longer have to constantly backtrack to designated spots to switch up characters. But for what it’s worth, the platforming is really good here and SpongeBob’s move set is also vastly expanded and improved upon here. Also, new techniques and move sets are introduced as you progress through the game, further diminishing the need for multiple playable characters.
SpongeBob has access to basic combat abilities including attacking and rolling, but new items and abilities including karate kicks, grappling hooks, and many more can also be unlocked over time. Each level is also designed so that the player can use different abilities and items in combination with one another. This keeps the moment-to-moment gameplay feeling fast-paced and engaging, and also prevents the abilities unlocked at the beginning of the game from becoming useless too quickly, as they do in many other games.
There are also a variety of jelly monsters in the game and each level further enhances their variety. There are the usual fodder of low-level melee and ranged enemies, and then some special enemy types that have different abilities such as those that can summon other allies. Some of these enemies cannot be defeated with the usual run-and-gun method and require certain tactics to counter them.
Most of the foes however are a breeze to get through, but some of them can offer a little challenge. However, sometimes the same special enemies are repeated in many sequences of the level and they quickly turn from a fun challenge to the obnoxiously tedious barrier. Each level also ends with a boss fight with a major character of the series which, although not quite challenging, is quite fun to get through.
The two main collectibles are Cosmic Jelly and Doubloons. Cosmic Jelly is pretty common and scattered throughout the game, and can be used to unlock different outfits for SpongeBob. Completing optional objectives can also award you with the resource. Doubloons, on the other hand, are rarer and need some exploring to acquire, and they can be used to unlock newer and better costume tiers. Now, going off the main path to get these Doubloons might seem fun, but sometimes you are faced with certain challenges which can only be overcome using certain abilities. This calls for progressing through the game, unlocking that ability, and coming back to get the items.
Unfortunately, due to the linear level design, the motivation to do all this fades away after the first few tries. Also, these costumes do not enhance the gameplay in any way and only serve as cosmetics, so there is not any incentive to grind for them other than to look cooler. Although the gameplay and the optional challenges are really fun, these lackluster awards leave one with no motivation to pursue them.
But enough about the gameplay, let’s discuss another key feature, which are the visuals.
Visuals And Performance
The developers have nailed the art style of the game, and the entire time I felt as if I was part of a series that I have loved for a long long time. While the graphics and the geometry are not heavily detailed, the art style is absolute eye candy. The colors do look a little faded when compared to Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated, and I honestly found those to be a little better than the faded colors of this title, but that does not mean they are bad in any way. In fact, they differentiate Cosmic Shake nicely from its predecessor.
Each level is uniquely designed and has its own aesthetic which separated it from the rest, and serves to support the theme which is different for each level. SpongeBob also changes his default costume in each level, but the player can equip custom ones as discussed in the previous section of our review. The voice actors also did an excellent job of portraying all these iconic characters.
The graphical settings however leave a lot to be desired, for the PC port at least. There is little to no customization available, but that isn’t to say that the graphics are bad in any way. There are framerate issues here and there, especially when the screen gets really crowded when you are surrounded by multiple enemies and just spamming attacks. I occasionally ran into some graphical glitches, but they were too minor and barely noticeable. For the record, I tested it on my Core i7 6700 with a GTX 1060 6 GB, which is by no means a modern GPU, but this game isn’t all that demanding either.
As we approach the conclusion of our SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review, I would like to point out, in case it was not already apparent, that I really love this game. The developers just had to create a good platformer with a decent story because the characters and the world are already well-established and loved. They would sell themselves if the developers succeed in the two main aspects mentioned above. And they did just that and some more.
The gameplay and platforming here are really good, and I especially loved that each level unlocked new abilities for the players to use in conjunction with their previously unlocked skills. The story is decent and nothing out of the box, but the characters and the world flow harmoniously with it. It is believable enough for a SpongeBob adventure.
Each level itself is beautifully crafted with a number of references to the show itself. The enemies can, however, get tedious sometimes and the rewards are barely enough to justify the grind associated with them. The performance drops at high-adrenaline points, where combat is at its peak, which can also hinder your gameplay. But overall, it is a really good addition to the franchise and can go toe to toe with its critically acclaimed predecessor. The game is chiefly aimed at kids, but that should not stop you from going at it and having a blast.
That has been our SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.
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