The newest SpongeBob video game has the unenviable task of following in the footsteps of the remake of cult classic, Battle for Bikini Bottom. With this new game also dipping its toe into the platforming genre the comparisons will no doubt come in spades between the two games. In this SpongeBob SquarePants The Cosmic Shake review I will be detailing how the game excelled when it focused on platforming, but came unstuck at others.
SpongeBob SquarePants The Cosmic Shake Review (Switch) – Rehydrated
Title: SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake
Developer: Purple Lamp
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Genre: Platforming, Fighting, Action, Adventure
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One
First thing first, this game is brimming with charm.It is written just like an early season episode of the show with jokes aplenty, references, and a whole lot of personality. It’s impressive really, as the TV side of the franchise draws more ire, that they so easily managed to replicate the atmosphere of the series’ prime throughout this game.
I really enjoy it when a game has personality and the Cosmic Shake is full of it. Some may end up viewing it as a love letter to the glory days of SpongeBob
Still Great at Platforming
For a reason that nobody has ever quite been able to figure out, SponegeBob took to the platforming genre like a duck to water. While not a full-on platformer like previous releases, The Cosmic Shake absolutely excels when it embraces traditional platforming tools.
The most enjoyable sections of gameplay were usually centred around using every one of the game’s new mechanics to traverse an area, one great example being the castle in one of the later worlds. I had to get from one side of the room to another by hopping from bed to bed, karate-kicking enemies, inflating platforms, and swinging from a hook. It was exhilarating! The platform setpieces control so well that I could play them again and again.
While not exclusive to platformers this game also embraces some collect-a-thon vibes that the gaming world has kind of left behind. There are different awards, complicated platforming offers the chance to collect secrets, and levels need replaying due to added objectives, there’s a lot of fun to be had when this game embraces what it is good at.
Spreading Itself Thin
There’s a lot of stuff thrown on the plate with this game. There are a number of different mini-games thrown into levels that are usually very surface level, some are inoffensive but most end up feeling very tedious.
The game runs into this issue quite often, it has a new idea and a new mechanic but barely ever makes use of it. A prime example is the additional stealth sections and the enemies who can only be beaten by scaring them, it’s not a bad thing but it definitely beaks the flow of the game and it’s not very difficult or engaging.
This rears its head with the seahorse riding and tongue surfing sections sprinkled in the game. The tongue surfing was a fan-favourite in Battle for Bikini Bottom but this time around it controls very poorly and anytime the game tries to mix tongue surfing with anything else things get crazy, frustratingly so given the lack of checkpoints.
At its core there is a very strong game here, but it tries to spring too many plates which leads to large parts feeling of the game feeling completely undercooked.
This issue especially comes through in the combat. So many of the enemies are tedious to beat, the frame rate will actively drop if there’s too many enemies trying to attack, and there’s very little they can do to make the combat more difficult so they just throw more enemies at you instead. The combat ends up getting in the way of the more fun parts of the game, which isn’t ideal as this game really wants to focus on its combat.
The issues with combat are never more apparent than in the boss fights, this game doesn’t trust its own combat so much that the boss fights are often about dealing with goons than actually fighting a boss. Battle for Bikini Bottom got this right years ago, but Cosmic Shake can’t?
The game is tied together with a solid story that gives things a natural reason to progress. Without delving into spoilers too much, SpongeBob accidentally breaks the universe a little and some of his friends end up in different realities. It is up to him to save them. While not groundbreaking, this story works pretty well with what the game wants to be and gives each costume a reason to exist beyond just wanting SpongeBob to wear a funny costume.
SpongeBob SquarePants The Cosmic Shake Review – The Last Word on Gaming Viewpoint
SpongeBob SquarePants The Cosmic Shake is a charming, funny, and sometimes great game. At its heart, it is a masterful platformer but it gets sidetracked too often with underexplored mechanics and a desire to focus on tedious combat. It is still a very easy game to pick up and play through, but it falls short of the excellence that this franchise expects in the video game world.
SpongeBob SquarePants The Cosmic Shake Review – The Verdict
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