The Krabby Patty formula hasn’t changed over time as the burger today is still as mouth-watering as it was decades ago. The Cosmic Shake follows this same principle, staying in line with the best SpongeBob games of all time, just delivering up another familiar yet delicious serving of the recipe fans have grown to know and love.
If you were hoping to see an entirely new item on the Krusty Krab menu, you’ll be sorely disappointed with The Cosmic Shake. But if you’re after another excellently seasoned, perfectly grilled slice of that nostalgic Sponge-flavored, collectible-hunting, platform-jumping goodness, you absolutely can’t miss the latest release featuring everyone’s favorite square.
Following up on the delight that was Battle for Bikini Bottom’s 2020 remake, The Cosmic Shake keeps all the same third-person platformer mechanics intact while dropping SpongeBob and his friends into a new universe-hopping adventure.
It’s effectively more of the same but given the structure still holds up to this day, there’s little need to veer off into new territory when it works so well. Great level design, fun gameplay, an immense list of secrets to find, and that ever-charming humor all ensure The Cosmic Shake stands alongside the very best SpongeBob games.
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake – Key Details
- Developer: Purple Lamp
- Price (PS5): $39.99 USD | £34.99 | $59.95 AUD
- Release Date: January 31, 2023
- Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, & Nintendo Switch
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake – Trailer
Not fixing what isn’t broken
If The Cosmic Shake is your first time with a SpongeBob game, what you’ll find is an old-school collectathon. Harkening back to the likes of Ratchet & Clank and Jak and Daxter, this style of game throws you into a number of vast yet varied areas littered with currencies to collect, items to hunt down, characters to greet, and mini-games to enjoy.
Along the way you’ll be jumping across narrow platforms, timing the right movements to avoid hazardous drops, and karate-chopping pesky jellyfish blocking the path ahead. While there’s a clear main path in every section, you’re always encouraged to check around every corner for secrets hidden away. Whether it’s a surplus of credits to buy new costumes for Spongebob or a hidden coin to hit 100% in the area, there’s always a reason to backtrack and thoroughly explore all of the eight well-crafted zones.
As you progress, you’ll come across a range of new mechanics to keep things fresh. Some are permanent additions you can benefit from at any time, such as SpongeBob’s honing karate kick. Others are fleeting moments of chaos like riding a Seahorse to catch up with a speeding train. They all serve to keep you on your toes and ensure the flow doesn’t grow stale into the later half of the 10-12 hour experience.
Each area is capped off with a unique challenge or boss fight that often puts that realm’s particular new mechanic to the toughest test. While some are fairly button-mashy and simplistic at times, it’s always a blast ending each run with one final objective before you head back to Bikini Botton.
All zones are unique in their own ways and they’re equally fun to explore multiple times over. Clearing one zone may give SpongeBob an ability needed to reach a certain area in another, letting you double back and clean up some collectibles you may have missed metroidvania style.
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When it comes down to it, if you didn’t quite click with Battle for Bikini Bottom, nothing in The Cosmic Shake’s gameplay will change that. But if you’re eager to scratch that itch again and get another dose of nostalgia while playing through a new adventure with modern refinement, it’s on par with the most enjoyable SpongeBob games thus far.
It wouldn’t quite be a SpongeBob game without all the familiar faces you know and love from the show. As they did with Battle for Bikini Bottom, the developers at Purple Lamp know this fact all too well and incorporate a wide range of the most recognizable sea critters. From Squidward and Mr. Krabs to Larry the Lobster and Mrs. Puff, you get to interact with just about everyone from the most memorable episodes of the series.
In some cases, they’re main characters in their own areas, serving as the head honcho of a particular chapter. In others, they simply appear for brief side missions. Popping up in the occasional cutscene or appearing throughout Bikini Bottom’s hub world at various intervals. Making it all the more sweet when you come across your favorite characters is that most are written well and voiced as you’d hope. That’s not always the case, however, as some certainly stand out with noticeably different delivery, but it’s never enough to break the experience.
Similarly, The Cosmic Shake also does a great job tying in many of SpongeBob’s most iconic moments. While venturing through the eight unique zones, tracking down collectibles then allows you to unlock an assortment of costumes, each of which pays homage to the character’s high points. Be it the time he ripped his pants, or even a hilariously rendered version of a dried-up sponge from his terrifying time in Sandy’s tree dome, running around as different versions of the iconic figure is always a good time.
Obviously, The Cosmic Shake doesn’t set out to reinvent the wheel. It’s effectively a full-sized add-on to Battle for Bikini Bottom with all the same features and mechanics making you feel right at home. But as this tried and true method still holds up brilliantly today, it’s almost a relief this new SpongeBob game didn’t strive to shakeup the formula. Instead, it presents another round of awesome third-person platforming with a fun story tying it all together.
The Verdict 3.5/5
Put simply, if you enjoyed what worked in the past, you’ll absolutely love The Cosmic Shake. While the game doesn’t take any giant leaps forward, following a familiar path proves what we already know still works just fine. The team at Purple Lamp has clearly found its niche and let’s hope they continue to serve up more of the same style moving forward.