SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake review

Nintendo /

Title – SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake
Release Date – January 31, 2023
Developer – Purple Lamp Studios
Publisher – THQ Nordic
Platforms – Switch (reviewed on), PS4, Xbox One, PC

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is the newest foray into the video game realm from Nickelodeon’s hit TV franchise. Since 1999 fans have flocked to SpongeBob and his lighthearted idiocy along with Patrick’s cluelessness. The Cosmic Shake capitalizes on all of the history of the franchise, but it shows that nostalgia can only go so far.

The Cosmic Shake begins with SpongeBob and Patrick finding a bottle of wish granting mermaid tears. SpongeBob proceeds to make a number of wishes that overrun the fabric of reality and tear holes throughout the universe. The result sees all of his friends get sucked into different realities, and SpongeBob has to rescue them all. Each world sees SpongeBob have to rescue a different friend and don a brand new outfit. Our right-angled friend takes on the role of a karate expert, a pirate, a knight and more. Each outfit grants SpongeBob different abilities, and you can hot swap them at any point after they are initially unlocked.

First off, we need to state the obvious – SpongeBob is for kids. There’s no other way around it, and unfortunately that’s The Cosmic Shake’s biggest problem. Each of the world’s SpongeBob gets sucked into has a main story along with various minor little side quests you can do. You’ll also need to use the costumes and their abilities to their capacity in order to earn gold coins. These coins will then be redeemed for any of the game’s 33 special costumes. The issue is, as I said, SpongeBob is a little kid’s TV show. There are a lot of things to do in The Cosmic Shake, but the issue is the game’s target audience of 8 year olds won’t possess the where with all to complete side quests and grind for the available items the game possesses.

There is only so much you can do in a game like The Cosmic Shake. I appreciated the fact that the developer added so  much into the game, but the downfall is that it pigeonholed itself into targeting such a small group of people. Little kids will play the game, but they’ll stick to mostly just the main story and therefore not experience/appreciate these extra items. Only adult mega fans ranging from 25-35 years old who grew up with the TV show and are old enough to actually process what the game entails can appreciate it. These added extras are lost on little kids as they aren’t mature enough to “get it”.

The combat in the game is a perfect example of this. Each enemy can be taken out in a max of three hits regardless of difficulty. Most are taken out in 1 hit, and SpongeBob rarely even takes a shot. The bosses may take a bit of time as you are forced to go through the motions of watching them spin around the screen until they get dizzy, but it’s still only taking a few hits and they’re gone. While entertaining for a kid, I had to force myself just to complete the story.

All of the main line voices are back, so there is no shortage of the franchise’s classic laugh. Bill Fagerbakke returns as Patrick, and only someone as old as me will remember watching him as Dauber on Coach a full 10 years before SpongeBob was even a thing. And yes, of course, Clancy Brown is the money obsessed Mr. Crabs. The comedy is there in The Cosmic Shake with the classic jokes, laughs and sound tracks. I didn’t expect anything to change as successful as the franchise has been. However, the downfall is that the short fuse of this comedy doesn’t do enough to augment the rest of the game.

I was hoping that some of the unlockable costumes would provide some extra fun or variety. I had to stop at 14 total costumes out of the available 33. The reason is that the gold coins needed to get them were tied to quests or actions that simply would not be entertaining to an adult unless they are a superfan.

Don’t get me wrong. In no way does The Cosmic Shake not have a solid base of players it is geared for. Any kid that loves SpongeBob right now will love this game. There’s no doubt about it. The issue is that the extra features are wasted on kids for reasons stated above. Even with SpongeBob being as popular as he is for 23 years now, there still isn’t going to be that many adults lining up to play a SpongeBob game.

A few of the quests are really long as well. As an adult with a much larger attention span than a child, it shouldn’t be a chore for me to play each level. Unfortunately, it seems as many of the kids who would play The Cosmic Shake wouldn’t even finish it for the same reasons as I expect them to get too bored too quickly.

I played through the main story and completed a couple of side quests. After that, I just couldn’t get that into the options available to me. I’m an admitted side quest whore who leaves the main story as the absolute last thing to do. Even still, I wasn’t able to get excited about this extra content. I appreciate everything the developers did in setting up the game as there truly is a lot to do. Unfortunately, The Cosmic Shake’s biggest asset is also itss biggest flaw as its target audience remains severely limited to a small group of nostalgia infused adult super fans.

Spongebob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake (Switch) score 5.5 / 10

The Cosmic Shake’s biggest advantage is unfortunately its biggest flaw as it does too much for the kind of game it is. As a result, it suffers as a slightly above average game that only kids and a few nostalgia soaked adults will enjoy.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.