PS4 Review SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake PS4 Review

SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake (PS4) Review – Fun Platformer With A Shaky Start

SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake PS4 Review. SpongeBob and Patrick are back in another video game escapade. This time with cosmic consequences for the goofy goober’ duo. Find out if it’s a worthwhile adventure through time and space in PlayStation Universe’s review.

SpongeBob is practically an omnipresent force at this point. The little yellow sentient sea sponge has invaded pop culture to such a degree that he’s been in multiple movies, television shows, merchandise, and of course, a whole bunch of video games.

And those game appearances tend to be on the right side of decency. The Cosmic Shake is the latest of them to reach that safe, sweet spot.

Spongebob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake (PS4) Review – Fun Platformer With a Shaky Start

A Dimension-Hopping SpongeBob Adventure

The Cosmic Shake is a 3D platformer with all the bells and whistles you’d associate with a modern-day example of the genre. A flurry of different flavored worlds to run, jump, and smack things in. Lots of bits and bobs to collect, and a plethora of costumes and abilities to open up the secrets of those aforementioned worlds. From the outset, it’s almost a touch obvious to say that you shouldn’t go into The Cosmic Shake expecting anything mindblowing. Nor does it promise such things.

The plot does at least open things up to a bit of variety. After SpongeBob finds a magic bubble blower that grants wishes, he goes on a wishing rampage for all his friends to get what they want in life. Unfortunately, Spongebob didn’t read the small print, and now Patrick is a balloon and their other friends are spread across dimensions. It’s now up to SpongeBob and Patrick to go dimension-hopping and set the worlds to rights.

From the hub of his Bikini Bottom home, Spongebob can enter portals to ‘Wishworlds’ that hold his wish-altered friends. These range from Wild West frontiers to spooky Halloweentowns and beyond, and each comes with a special outfit for SpongeBob to put on. Each new realm is seasoned with that patented absurd SpongeBob humor, and there’s a consistently charming daftness and vibrancy to the presentation.

The writing and voicework generally fit nicely into the source material’s inherent silliness, even if there’s a strange abundance of homages to the more meme-worthy moments in SpongeBob history. It’s not that much of a criticism in itself, but it often feels like they’ve been crowbarred in for the sake of having them. The Cosmic Shake is best at translating SpongeBob’s humor in its visual gags and Patrick’s dunderheaded one-liners.

What of the platforming itself? Well, it’s certainly on the higher end of the genre in terms of toolset and execution. SpongeBob has some standard skills such as double jumping and dodging (which is amusingly performed in cartwheel form), while generally attacking using the bubble wand, which has a regular swipe attack and the ability to encase an enemy in a bubble. Beyond that, each world visit brings unlockable abilities such as a grappling hook, and a karate kick.

It’s nice that the relatively simple platforming is gradually accentuated by a growing roster of moves, and it brings a bit of replayability to previously explored levels. Once collected, players can switch between costumes at whim.

The weaker part of this concoction is the platforming. For the most part it’s pretty decent. Standard stock platforming stuff that is done well, in fact. One of the game’s issues, however, is that it often struggles to communicate depth and distance on jumps. Now, this is a kid-friendly platformer, and there’s little consequence for failure, but having to repeat jumping sequences over and over because you can’t get a good viewpoint on how far the next jump is can be aggravating.

It’s also a tad boring in the early going. After a healthy dose of Spongebob’s nonsense, the game settles into some really vanilla action that betrays how fun it can get later on. That combined with the platforming grumbles makes for an uneven first impression. The worlds are vibrant and busy at least, so it manages to avoid writing itself off before it ever gets going.

Once the game hits its stride, the issues begin to melt away and it unlocks the fun factor in a big way. Perhaps it’s because the visual side of the game reaches the heights of SpongeBob strangeness and the toolset has added a touch more variety by then. It’s most likely that it is only then it truly connects the way the game plays to the spirited silliness of its source material.

SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake is out on January 31, 2023 for PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One.

Review code kindly provided by publisher.



The Final Word

SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake makes for an inconsistent start, but grows into the kind of fun-filled platformer its star deserves.