Released in 2020, SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated proved popular with over two million copies in circulation. THQ Nordic called the game a fantastic success and decided that the SpongeBob audience needed a second part. The sequel, which the creators call a spiritual sequel, does not have such an intricate name – SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake, but it brings just as much fun as the original.
Friends need to be saved
SpongeBob and Patrick naively get into another mess. They meet the sorceress Cassandra in Bikini Bottom, who hands them a bottle of mermaid tears and promises that with this little thing you can become whoever you want and get whatever you want. The guys made their wishes, but after that Bikini Bottom plunged into chaos: the buildings disappeared, the inhabitants were scattered across different worlds, and hostile jelly creatures began to walk along the streets.
SpongeBob was not hurt, but Patrick got it – he turned into a balloon. Therefore, he constantly accompanies his best friend – both in gameplay episodes and in story ones. You can’t play as Patrick – unlike the previous part, where there were three playable characters, here you can only go through the story as Bob.
Bikini Bottom serves as a hub where we return after each outing and from where we go to other worlds. Compared to the previous game, here the city is noticeably brighter – then they obviously tried to make it look like the version from the animated series, and colors were added in the sequel. Plus, as you progress, it becomes more and more lively due to the return of characters and buildings.
But most of all I want to praise the rest of the worlds, which are radically different from each other. You have to visit the pirate lagoon, Halloween Rock Bottom, Jellyfish fields decorated in the style of the Wild West, and other locations – there are seven zones in total. Everywhere has its own peculiarities: in a primeval region, you often need to ride a large boulder along lava rivers, in a film studio – do tricks and look for hidden paparazzi.
Not all locations are equally beautiful (the primeval one seems to have been created at the last moment – it’s good that according to the plot it is not the final one), but most of them were successful. Traveling through each of the worlds takes about an hour, and there is a feeling that you have watched another episode of the animated series. The videos are of high quality, there are plenty of absurd and funny jokes, and the dressing up characters never cease to amuse. Squidward in the image of the director, karateka Sandy, Princess Pearl Krabs – there are a lot of references here, and they haven’t forgotten about memes.
They tried to add more variety to the levels: either you fight with someone, then you solve a puzzle, then a chase begins or a quick descent along a slope with obstacles. There are no new ideas for the genre, and the tasks are sometimes archaic – for example, you will be asked to collect so many items at the location (and more than once) or knock on all the doors in Rock Bottom to get five candies from the locals. However, it doesn’t get boring – you always know that in the next scene there will surely be something more funny.
Okay, but it could be better
My main complaint about the locations is the presence of dead ends due to the lack of any ability. You explore the region, jump from platform to platform, leave the main path to climb somewhere, and there you will either find a lock waiting for you or a button with the image of a skill you haven’t acquired yet. Therefore, if I tried to actively “vacuumize” the first two locations, then I didn’t do it in the next ones – I still don’t remember exactly where to return later. And when the game was completed, I didn’t really want to visit all the levels again, even though there are funny tests.
And for the most part, there is no need to look for collectible items. The only kind of prizes here are costumes for SpongeBob. Before entering each of the worlds, you are given a new skin, and if you collect golden doubloons, you can buy even more items of clothing in the main menu – there is a ghost skin, and Bob in underwear, and much more. Perhaps the children will like to dress up the character – some of the images look very funny – but the plot costumes were more than enough for me.
So The Cosmic Shake turns out to be not a game of the collectathon subgenre, where you look under every bush in search of secrets, but a 3D platformer with an emphasis on a fun story. If you later want to return to the old worlds and completely clean them up, new entertainment will become available there, but without dialogues and cutscenes, the impressions will not be the same. This can hardly be called a minus – the eight-hour adventure turned out to be very colorful, I laughed at some jokes, and in general the game looks like a gift for fans.
What can get a little tiring towards the end of the walkthrough are the battles with the jelly monsters. The authors seem to have tried to do everything to prevent this from happening: in each world they add one or two new types of enemies, and SpongeBob learns new tricks – it releases bubbles and briefly locks opponents in them, then kicks in the air and bounces off the target. But you still get tired of some opponents, especially due to the fact that their design does not change.
For example, a muscular strong man banging a bathtub on the ground is found in the second half of the game in almost every arena, and the tactics are always the same – you wait for him to hit and hit, and then repeat twice more. Or a jelly slide that emits a wave when injured and creates minions – you see it in each of the seven worlds. But the bosses are different, and it is interesting to fight with them, although they are easy to defeat.
The difficulty here is generally very low. SpongeBob has four health but no “lives” – if you get mortally wounded, you respawn near the last save point, and they are generously spaced. There are no fines – even the currency needed to buy costumes is not taken away.
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is a textbook 3D platformer that brings nothing new to the genre. But this was not required of him – the main thing is that the fans of “SpongeBob” like it. He copes with this task perfectly: there are references, and humor, and everything is drawn with great love for the animated series.
Pros: Great recreation of Bikini Bottom with dozens of familiar characters; diverse worlds with their own challenges and mechanics; fun, albeit simple, boss battles; costumes for every taste for the main character; excellent humor in the spirit of the animated series.
Cons: unsuccessful primitive world; exploration of locations without access to all abilities is almost meaningless; enemies by the end of the game begin to pall.