SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review - Screenshot 1 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

A few years ago, Purple Lamp Studios released SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated, a solid revival of a 3D platforming classic from decades past. Sales for that remaster were evidently robust enough to justify development of an all-new sequel, as SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake was announced a little over a year later. Built from the ground up for modern hardware, this new release carries on the spirit of the original while integrating many new ideas and designs of its own. Though The Cosmic Shake isn’t exactly a game that reinvents the 3D platforming wheel, it offers an enjoyable and delightful experience that no fan of this nostalgic genre will want to miss.

The Cosmic Shake picks up with SpongeBob and Patrick meeting a mysterious mermaid named Kassandra who offers them a bottle of mermaid tears for them to use as bubble soap. The tears have magical properties and legend has it that they have the ability to grant wishes, but things get out of hand when SpongeBob and Patrick overuse them and tear apart the multiverse. As a result of their mistake, Bikini Bottom has become drenched in cosmic jelly and overrun by strange jelly creatures, while all of SpongeBob and Patrick’s friends have been scattered across the various Wishworlds that opened portals all around town. The two thus set out to repair the damage and collect jelly for Kassandra, who totally doesn’t have ulterior motives.

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review - Screenshot 2 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

The story isn’t anything exceptional, but it does a fantastic job of emulating the feel and humor of a typical SpongeBob episode, especially one from the first three seasons. References and in-jokes abound and will be appreciated by fans of the show, though even newcomers will still find plenty to love in the goofy and irreverent humor on display here. SpongeBob and Patrick’s banter and commentary as they explore the worlds help to fill the silence well, and all the characters (even minor ones like Fred or the chocolate guy) being voiced by their original voice actors helps to add that extra touch of authenticity.

Gameplay in The Cosmic Shake follows typical 3D platforming game design, tasking you with exploring vast playgrounds, beating up baddies, and picking up a whole lot of collectibles along the way. Unlike its predecessor (which had three playable characters) you only play as SpongeBob here, but he learns new techniques as you progress. One level may teach you how to grapple and swing between fish hooks, while another unlocks a new bubble surfboard that you can use to glide set distances. Plus, there are occasional simple minigames tossed in to break things up even further, tasking you with things like cooking Krabby Patties or outdrinking Sandy in a saloon.

Even beyond obstacles focused on SpongeBob’s expanding moveset, each level introduces some fun, exclusive gimmicks to mix up the action. For example, one level features several stealth sections where you need to sneak around enemies and scare them, while another has several auto-scrolling platforming and combat sections as you ‘act’ in a karate movie. You never venture too far from the core 3D platforming, but we appreciated the gameplay variety on offer here, as it gives each Wishworld its own feel while new abilities give you reason to revisit previous levels to ferret out collectibles you couldn’t reach before.

Level design feels like it strikes a good balance between something more focused like Demon Turf and something overstuffed with collectibles like Donkey Kong 64. Each Wishworld has a central quest and a clear path for you to follow, while there are myriad rabbit trails and optional side paths you can explore along the way to find extra goodies. For example, characters back in Bikini Bottom (the hub world) will often hand out side quests asking you to collect things for them, like pennies for Mr. Krabs or ‘Good Noodles’ stickers for Mrs. Puff, and these extra collectibles are usually stashed away in hard to reach places across several Wishworlds. The central paths usually don’t require too much technical skill to overcome, but the optional content for the side quests can feature some nicely challenging gauntlets that push your reflexes a little harder.

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review - Screenshot 3 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

Along the way, you’ll come across all kinds of jelly monsters standing in your way, and though it isn’t exactly a central focus of the gameplay, the combat strikes a nice balance between being engaging without stealing the spotlight. Moves like a dodge roll and a Sonic-like homing attack give SpongeBob a lot of mobility in combat, while new enemy types are introduced with each new Wishworld to introduce more variety to brawls. For instance, one enemy type can spawn other foes and takes a few hits to destroy, while another one usually hangs back in a hard-to-reach spot and supports its allies from afar with cover fire from a tartar sauce gun. Every now and then, you’ll get locked in an arena where you have to overcome a brief brawl with jelly monsters to continue, and we appreciated how these got increasingly dynamic as SpongeBob’s new abilities and new enemy types were introduced.

Regardless of whether you are platforming or fighting, cosmic jelly and doubloons are two of the main collectibles you’ll be grabbing across the Wishworlds and are directly tied to The Cosmic Shake’s cosmetic economy. Cosmic jelly is everywhere and acts as the main currency for buying new outfits, while doubloons are rarer and are usually found at the end of tough platforming sections, but unlock new costume tiers if you can grab enough of them. Costumes are pulled from across the series' history and don’t have any function beyond looks, but we really appreciated that collecting jelly isn’t something you just do for the sake of it. Collecting all the costumes will take you about as long as it takes to complete the whole game, meaning that there’s always something else worthwhile to be working towards.

Visually, The Cosmic Shake is a clear step up from the Battle for Bikini Bottom remaster, which was already quite a good-looking take on the platforming classic. Character animation feels much less stiff than it did in the original, allowing for cutscenes that convey a lot more expression as characters react to events. Meanwhile, the worlds are far more expansive than before and employ a deeper color palette, giving each one a sharp and distinctive look that sets it apart.

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review - Screenshot 4 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

The only drawback here is that the beefed-up visuals seem to have come with some performance issues. Though we didn’t note any progression-breaking bugs like in the launch version of Battle for Bikini Bottom, we did see that the frame rate tends to take a hit when things get too busy on screen, and there are graphical hiccups like how the fog that encircles an arena fight just pops into existence with no fade in. The Cosmic Shake is a bit rough around the edges, then, but we’d say that these issues only amount to minor irritations rather than something that actively hampers the gameplay experience.

Overall, The Cosmic Shake feels like an exceptionally well-paced and consistent game all the way through. There’s always another collectible or costume that’s just beyond your reach and things really start to open up once you've cleared the main quests for a few worlds and have a lot of options for backtracking or further progressing the story. At the same time, it never feels like there’s too much padding or busy work to clear out here—this is a game that offers up a lot of variety, but it doesn’t overstay its welcome. We hope that Purple Lamp Studios gets the opportunity to continue its work with SpongeBob, as it’s quite clear that the developers poured a lot into making this the best SpongeBob platformer yet.


SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake is a triumphant and varied 3D platformer that no fan of the series or the genre will want to miss. It’s not the game that’ll change your mind if 3D collectathon-style games aren’t your thing, but it demonstrates at every step that it’s not just some half-hearted cash-in. Focused level design, lots of gameplay variety, tight controls, and a charming cast voiced by the original voice artists all combine to make this one of the best SpongeBob games yet. Though it’s occasionally let down by performance issues, we’d still give this one a strong recommendation to anyone who likes a 3D platformer and a Krabby Patty.