SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review

Fresh off the heels of Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated resonating with players, Purple Lamp Studios are going for round 2 with The Cosmic Shake, with mixed but ultimately pleasant results. Read our Review to find out more.

Published: January 30, 2023 11:00 AM /

Reviewed By:

A spread shot image of The Cosmic Shake's game cover, showcasing SpongeBob floating with Patrick Star, Sandy, Mrs. Puff, and various enemies within the game.

When it comes down to it, SpongeBob SquarePants really is an irreverent and universal cultural icon. Going past the memes, or the endless references to lines, moments, or specific frames of animation people cite as their favorite, it’s just a simple kids show that branched out into something people of all ages can enjoy. It’s to the point where even its video game counterparts tend to escape the grip of being mediocre tie-in material, something which The Cosmic Shake wishes to attempt.

This is the latest release from Purple Lamp Studios, fresh off the heels of their previous SpongeBob release, Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated, receiving warm reception and sales. Similar in scale and tone, The Cosmic Shake sees SpongeBob and Patrick Star send Bikini Bottom into chaos after SpongeBob uses a magical bubble wand to grant wishes he cannot. With the mysterious Mistress Kasandra by their side, the pair use her guidance, despite her own benevolent purposes.

One thing that has to be commended right away is the consistency of stakes and pacing The Cosmic Shake has throughout its course. Thanks to the original VAs for the main characters of SpongeBob SquarePants being a part of The Cosmic Shake, and Purple Lamps’ previous work on Battle for Bikini Bottom, the atmosphere is superb. You will always feel like you’re a part of making a big-brand Nickelodeon journey alongside everyone else.

A gameplay screenshot of The Cosmic Shake, showcasing Patrick and SpongeBob talking with Tom, better known as the "CHOCOLATE?!" character.

Interestingly, while framed as a “best-of” chronicling SpongeBob’s most famous moments, The Cosmic Shake does well to only pay lip service to the memetic infamy part of SpongeBob Squarepants. Despite a Wild West-themed level, alongside a caveman adventure to save Squidward, there was no token nod towards the likes of “Pinhead Larry” or that one frame of Spongegar used as a meme template. It does well to create its own moments, which The Cosmic Shake has in spades.

Together with Patrick Star, who has been transformed into a balloon due to SpongeBob’s mishaps, the chemistry the two possess is fantastic, with pitch-perfect writing to go alongside it. Alongside each character playing their usual personas, the new gags and punchlines all work to various effects, with a lot of chuckles to be had. Again, it can’t be overstated how much this feels official, like a truly universal SpongeBob SquarePants experience.

As for the gameplay, while its core is completely respectable, it struggles to find the same confident identity that The Cosmic Shake’s aesthetic does. Similar to Battle for Bikini Bottom, you’ll be galavanting through levels with a brisk pace, finding items and saving Bikini Bottom’s more famous residents from these bubbles of time. Once a level is completed and you return to the hub world, the game tends to throw in a side objective, in order to motivate players to go through the level again.

A gameplay screenshot of The Cosmic Shake, showcasing SpongeBob speeding through a race course, with sea bears on each side of the track.

It’s a perfectly adequate reason to encourage replayability, but the Golden Doubloons, the game’s main collectible throughout, are not. The Cosmic Shake presents an awkward explanation as to why the costumes are so important, with Mistress Kassandra explaining that they’re vital for traversal in the level. In reality, they’re not, it’s just so you fit in with the rest of the set dressing, but it also throws the player for a loop in regards to the many, many optional costumes you unlock.

With each handful of Golden Doubloons collected, you’ll unlock another costume tier, which holds 4 different costumes available for purchase, which reference lesser moments in the adventures of SpongeBob SquarePants. These are purchased with royal jelly, which Mistress Kassandra also states is vitally important to save Bikini Bottom, but never explains why. It may be weird to harp on such an aspect of a kids game, but it brings to mind just how unfocused The Cosmic Shake can be as a 3D platformer.

Take the controls, for example, which are also perfectly adequate. SpongeBob moves with precision, his move set slowly expands over time as you go through more levels, and fighting hordes becomes an eventual arena brawler with a lot of variety. The roster is perfectly sized to allow for all types of experimentation with the combat, and there’s a lot of effort in showing how enemies will react to SpongeBob being in proximity of a hit.

A gameplay screenshot of The Cosmic Shake, showcasing SpongeBob in a lagoon while wearing a pirate's outfit.

At the same time, there is so much weight placed in SpongeBob’s movements, that it’s hard to actually make precise platforming, especially when things get more heated and complex in the later levels. Actually controlling SpongeBob in the later levels becomes a test of trials and tribulations as you attempt to discern whether or not the thing you’re about to jump towards is a platform or an invisible wall. Making longer jumps in the latter half of the game becomes an awkward feat of handling the game’s absurd decision to tie a hover option to the same button that you jump, leading to avoidable deaths.

Despite this, it’s hard to consider it a deal breaker, especially since the level design is utterly phenomenal, seemingly accommodating to players of all ages, unlike the actual platforming. Every new playground is filled with collectibles, Royal Jelly, and enemies, is a constantly intertwining loop of paths that always consist of shortcuts and new ways to approach a single spire, or peak. In any other game, this spaghetti junction approach to platforming would feel like an utter mess, but The Cosmic Shake makes it work.

Still, it brings to mind whether or not this is the type of game kids will enjoy, as opposed to the adults who are now steeped in the memory of constant SpongeBob SquarePants games & memes. Despite a 7+ age rating, some of The Cosmic Shakes' later obstacles and environmental hazards become instances of trial and error when they really shouldn’t. Even when the game embraces more linear paths for vehicle sections, or downhill moments, the actual telegraphing of pitfalls and enemies is a blur.

A cutscene of The Cosmic Shake, showcasing SpongeBob SquarePants in a karate outfit, posing within an exaggerated art style.

The Cosmic Shake can inspire replayability, but it does feel arbitrary, especially when it comes to the move set being drip-fed to you over time. Once you reach the final level, you’ll have a small arsenal of weapons, moves, and abilities to use to open up areas of previous levels, but it does feel pretty cheap having two different ground pound-type moves for two seemingly identical buttons. It feels like a dartboard approach to making a playground for the player to frolic in.

Despite faltering in the second half of the game, the lack of motivation and confidence The Cosmic Shake has in its mechanics is almost overshadowed by the exuberant and brilliantly saccharine joy SpongeBob SquarePants has by default. Strap yourself in for ten to twelve hours to find SpongeBob, Patrick, Sandy, and Mr. Krabs at their peaks, backed by a brilliant script, fun times, and Bikini Bottom at its brightest.

TechRaptor reviewed SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake on Xbox One S, using a copy provided by the publisher. It is also available on Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

Review Summary

The Cosmic Shake houses a fantastic recreation of the adventures that SpongeBob SquarePants has gone on throughout the years, only let down by an inability to provide adequate context for its gameplay mechanics. (Review Policy)


  • A faithful adaptation and adventure that rivals SpongeBob's best
  • Brilliantly crafted and accessible level design
  • Orginal VAs and performances provide a joyous time
  • Enemy roster helps keep combat fresh


  • Excuses for replayability seem cheap at times
  • Unchangeable control scheme leads to unnecessary deaths
  • Weighty platforming may alienate younger or less susceptible players
  • The game's second half can struggle finding the same magic as before

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More Info About This Game
Learn more about SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake
THQ Nordic
Release Date
January 31, 2023 (Calendar)