A close up image shows Spongebob in a red foam hat with a mean look on his face.

Screenshot: THQ Nordic / Nickelodeon

Again in 2020, after years of followers begging, THQ Nordic launched a high-quality, beloved remake of the 2003 platformer Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Backside. Now three years later, developer Purple Lamp Studios is again with a model new Spongebob recreation: The Cosmic Shake. And whereas it shares lots with Battle for Bikini Backside—together with attractive artwork and authentic-to-the-show writing—Cosmic Shake additionally appears like a step backward from that 2020 remake I cherished a lot.

Spongebob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake, like so many earlier Spongebob video games (together with Battle for Bikini Backside), begins off with the titular character and his greatest good friend Patrick inflicting some chaos beneath the ocean. This time, the duo will get their palms on some powerfully magical cleaning soap. After exhibiting off their cool suds to everybody on the town, they unintentionally rip aside the material of area and time itself, conveniently resulting in about eight completely different areas to discover, every with its personal dimensionally distinct theming. Spongebob and Patrick must discover every world, do some platforming, remedy some puzzles, punch some monsters, discover their pals, and hopefully save the day.

I’m impressed by the look of Cosmic Shake from the second I boot it up. Just like the remake, Purple Lamp Studios’ artwork, stage design, character fashions, and textures are implausible. It typically seems to be like I’m watching a elaborate animated Spongebob film, not taking part in a online game. Some ranges, like a Halloween-themed nighttime world, look so good I simply cease and spin the digicam round, marveling on the lighting or artwork. Nice stuff!

Spongebob runs toward the camera in a jester outfit with a castle behind him.

Screenshot: THQ Nordic / Nickelodeon

Sadly, as you discover these varied worlds—some themed round pirates, others themed round medieval knights—you’ll uncover that it’s simply Spongebob doing all of the saving the day work. This can be a massive step again from Battle for Bikini Backside, which allow you to play as different characters like Patrick and Sandy, every with their very own distinctive skills, motion, and fight. This time round it’s simply Spongebob and a big (and I imply massive) closet of costumes. However the costumes, which look good and will certainly make longtime followers of the present chuckle—don’t add any particular results or change up how ranges play out.

Another area where Cosmic Shake feels inferior to the previous remake is the boss battles. They are still a part of this new undersea adventure, sure, but they all feel smaller and less epic than in Battle for Bikini Bottom, and some of the fights feel extremely boring and easy. I understand that this game isn’t designed to be a punishing platformer, but some boss fights were easier than random combat encounters, which is a shame, as Battle for Bikini Bottom’s big boss fights were exciting, tricky, and memorable in comparison.

THQ Nordic / PlayStation

Cosmic Shake isn’t a complete backward slide from that last game. Thanks to having 20+ years of Spongebob episodes to work with, Cosmic Shake is bursting with references, silly jokes, and characters. Voiced by their original actors, Spongebob and Patrick in particular get some genuinely funny lines that have me cracking up.

More so than any other Spongebob game, this one feels like you’re playing through an episode of the show, with similar gags and cutaways mimicking the iconic series. One of my favorite bits is how Cosmic Shake uses super-detailed and gross-looking close-ups of characters via glorious hand-drawn portraits.

Assuming you don’t collect or do everything in every world, Cosmic Shake is about 10 hours long, which is similar to 2020’s remake. And while it crams a lot of good jokes and pretty levels into that runtime, it leaves a lot out, too, with the lack of multiple playable characters the most disappointing excision. I also found Cosmic Shake to be a bit less stable than Battle, though its technical issues never made it unplayable. Still, even if it isn’t quite the sequel I wanted to 2020’s amazing remake, I’m still very happy to get another colorful, fun, and light-hearted Spongebob action platformer in 2023.

Spongebob Squarepants: The Cosmic shake is out on January 31, 2022 for Xbox One, PS4, Switch, and PC.


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