‘SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake’ game review: A super-fun game for the fans

The game is packed with delightful elements, transforming the old-school cartoon into a colourful world

February 08, 2023 02:47 pm | Updated 03:49 pm IST

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake

I have rarely watched Spongebob, the hottest cartoon of my childhood. So, for this review, I have enlisted the help of my daughter, an expert in the politics of Bikini Bottom, the setting of the SpongeBob SquarePants series. Though I played a bit, I mostly looked over her shoulder as she explained all the characters to me in great detail.

Hot on the heels of the re-release of the legendary SpongeBob Squarepants: The Battle for Bikini Bottom, comes a new release, SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake, bringing the timeless cartoon character and his cohort of underwater buddies back together for another adventure. Though it falls short of its predecessor, it compiles some of the best episodes in a playable form. In my daughter’s words, “The game is about SpongeBob accidentally getting a magical cosmic bubble soap, and in true SpongeBob style, it has cracked the universe, and now he has to go into different portals to save his friends and Bikini Bottom”. 

A visit to a mermaid fortune teller has put the entire world in peril as SpongeBob and Patrick, who has turned into a balloon, must reverse the effect of whatever is in that bottle of bubbles that has covered Bikini Bottom in cosmic jelly. 

The opening of each of these “wish worlds” that SpongeBob has to jump into to save his friends are revisitation of several memorable episodes of the cartoon. According to my daughter, “Each friend has an opposite version of themselves, making each portal different from what you expect. For example, for the Flying Dutchman, SpongeBob had to wear a pirate costume in a pirate-themed world.” Each of these worlds features a lot of memorabilia from the show, making these “what if” scenarios quite intriguing.

The Cosmic Shake, similar to Super Mario Odyssey, is packed with delightful elements, transforming the old-school cartoon into a colourful world. All of the Wish Worlds are well-designed. As a gaming veteran, one could point fingers at the environments that are a tad too large and objects that feel too spaced out. To my daughter, however, they all felt fine. Just the act of running around Bikini Bottom got her excited. 

The game could have been a bit more fluid. Often, my daughter struggled with the stiff controls. Almost all of the segments require double jump and glide but the camera’s placement and the way the environments throw off the depth are frustrating. Moreover, many double jump glides require precision. It was a bit difficult for us, seasoned Odyssey players. A reduced difficulty level would have allowed us to focus more on the story and the world.

Instead of opting for cel-shading, which most cartoon games opt for, The Cosmic Shake uses simple shaded solids with mild textures and natural lighting, which works well with pools of water. The visuals are not groundbreaking, but it does the job while keeping the performance buttery smooth on the Nintendo Switch. The audio is excellent, and it’s great to see Hindi as a language. This regional language option is something all games could have.

For young fans of SpongeBob, the game is superb with lots of hidden gems and a unique take on the show’s characters.

(The review was co-written by the writer’s daughter, Akira.)

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