Ooooooh, who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob SquarePants! Whose videogame antics aren't really for me? SpongeBob SquarePants!
Yes, SpongeBob SquarePants, the...eh...the square sea sponge who wears pants, is back for another bite at the video game cherry and, well, it's very much a case of us having seen it all before, we're afraid. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is a very mediocre platforming adventure, a resolutely old-school effort that blasts you through seven short levels with absolutely nothing in the way of invention, surprises or novelty to cushion the blow of how short the whole thing is.
If you've played SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom you'll pretty much know the score here. This is a very old-hat kinda thing, a 90s platformer effort that sets up a lazy story then punts you through a handful of hackneyed levels that couldn't be more rote.
But let's try to be nice for a bit, eh? SpongeBob's home town is thrown into chaos when he rubs a genie's lamp and makes some very silly wishes, heralding the arrival of a pantomime baddie who has both SpongeBob and a balloon version of Patrick jump through portals to collect cosmic jelly for her own nefarious purposes. Try to be nice. Trying to be nice...let's see...there are a lot of costumes to collect! That's something. When the game ends you can revisit levels to hoover up...stuff. Hmmm. Yeah that's us all out of nice really.
Anyway, yes, there's just a very lazy setup to the whole thing and what it means for you, the player, is a jaunt through some of the most generic nonsense we've played in a very long time. Fancy a bland wild west level? A little dullard movie set action? A very un-scary haunted Halloween chapter? It's all here, there's zero reasoning behind any of it and every single new area plays out in exactly the same way. SpongeBob isn't exactly Mario, that's for sure, with fiddly platforming, no repercussions upon death and dull combat against braindead purple enemies who pose absolutely zero threat. Look, we know it's primarily aimed at kids, but make an effort, kids can deal with a lot stiffer challenges and more interesting level design than this cookie cutter nonsense.
The thing is with licensed games like this, they nail the look and feel of the TV show, they've got the voice actors and the graphics down, so it's hard not to get a little excited about it all, but then you stand back and fully realise just how bare minimum it all is. Level after level of naff platforming, all of it barely managing to keep you focused on moving forward, just trudging through, jumping here, swinging there, punching a few stupid enemies and then it's all over.
There are a handful of boss battles, all excruciating. You'll fight a giant Gary, which should be hilarious but they've managed to make it unenjoyable, and then the game ends after five hours. Yeah, five hours. That's it. Well, you can replay levels to collect everything, but why would you? SpongeBob seems like the kind of cartoon property that could really benefit from a South Park style RPG, something that really digs into its off-kilter humour and characters, but unfortunately all fans are getting here is the most generic, cookie-cutter platformer nonsense imaginable.
Oh, and there's performance issues too. This is not a great looking game by any means, but even on Series X, every time there's a decent amount of action on your screen, expect stutters and janky framerates, expect enough slowdown that it affects your ability to make the next jump or swing into another flat, bland space full of moronic, pink jelly foes. Performance improvements are at least planned post-launch, so hopefully this'll improve pretty soon.
Let's wrap it up. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is a lazy, generic platformer. It's five hours of content that feels like it was made by people who watched some footage of a bad 90s platformer and decided that was how they wanted to proceed. This writer's kids love SpongeBob, they were done with this game in about ten minutes.
"The thing is with licensed games like this, they nail the look and feel of the TV show, they've got the voice actors and the graphics down, so it's hard not to get a little excited about it all, but then you stand back and fully realise just how bare minimum it all is."
That's pretty much how I see the majority of games like this, and yet, I still get excited that one day we will get that one game that hits all the right notes, across the board.
Also, that campaign length is shocking...
Oof…well, I’m in on it and have it pre-loaded so I’ll hopefully enjoy it more than this reviewer did, reception seems mixed across the board.
Weird how varied the reviews are across Hookshot Media. Nintendo Life gave this an 8, Push Square a 6, and in Pure Xbox a 4. It's like choosing which one of your kids you want to eat.
The reviews seem to be varying wildly. I really enjoyed Bikini Bottom so will wait for a hefty discount before trying this for myself.
I'll pick it up when it drops to 12 bucks like Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated.
Oh wow. Your partner site Nintendo Life gave it a sparkling review.
Who knew my talent for singing reviews like a pirate was a hidden talent of mine? Although my throat still feels like a cheese grater was let loose on it.
4/10 puts it on the same level as balan wonderworld 😬
Maybe the reviewer isn't really a platformer enthusiast, especially with nintendolife giving the game an 8/10.
I love PJ's snarky reviews. I really wish PJ could have reviewed Forspoken.
The campaign sounds crazy-short, though it's also not a full priced game, so that may not be a bad thing. 90's platforming for a few hours sounds like a fun switch up, and it can't be worse value than NSO.
It does amaze me though like others said that NL gave an 8, Push gave 6, and PXB gave 4. An amazing range spanning from "One of the worst games ever" to "one of the best games ever" to "At least it's not worse than Forspoken"
@HelloCraig OMG I had to listen with audio after that and that was......shockingly....good?
Who has a future in voice acting sprees? SPOn...er...Craigpants Square.....something.
Some games don't need to be too advanced. Super Lucky's Tale had bad reviews, but my gf loves it. These games exist for non gamer audience.
No excuses for bad performance in cartoon game tho. Most games with cartoony graphics run better than realistic games (probably because there are less tiny details to process).
NLife: this is the best spongebob game in years! 8/10
PX: this is pure, lazy, garbage! 4/10
Push: meh… 6/10
@NEStalgia Bahahaha! VO opportunities? Sign me up
@Savage_Joe The review split is hilarious. Ok, PJ is usually much more negative that most of his peers on reviews, so maybe we can throw away PJ's score as the outlier. Rob is usually pretty central. I'd like to think Spongebob is better than Forspoken, but I'll go with the tie. It's condemning enough that Squares mega-budget over-marketed open world whatever is rated no higher than a short half price licensed Nickelodeon title.
But I really don't get how NL could come in at 8. And Mitch is a seasoned reviewer normally on point, not some newcomer flybynight, so that's even stranger.
@grumpypotato - I cannot understand bad reviews for Super Lucky's Tale. It's a superb, fun game that is replayable. Can't wait to play the New Super Lucky's Tale (bought it a while ago before getting Game Pass. It's still worth buying). I feel bad reviews for that game are fake.
OpenCritic has this at a 69 with quite the split on scores as well. 8/10 seems to be the ceiling and 3 and 4 outta 10 being the floor with most being in that 6-7 range. This is one that is probably best to either wait for a sale or if you're a hardcore Spongebob fan who loved the previous game then go for it. We all have that 6 or 7/10 game that we personally love I am sure so this game is probably that for some people.
Tap here to load 16 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...