THQ Nordic and Purple Lamp have released their follow-up to the excellent SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated in SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake. Having been handled the reigns for the remaster by parent company and publisher THQ, you’d have thought Purple Lamp would have had enough time and inspiration to take their own creation and build on its predecessor’s success. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, at least not completely.
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SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake
Whilst playing SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake, it was difficult to not want to be playing the aforementioned remaster. To understand exactly how the sequel drops the ball, we need to go back three years and look at SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated. In the much lauded and well-received remaster, you’ll control either SpongeBob, Sandy or Patrick as you traverse multiple worlds and levels in an attempt to thwart the ever-scheming Plankton and his malfunctioning machines. For a game aimed at children, the puzzles are satisfactory and will make you think for more than second, the platforming is tight and the combat varied enough that you won’t get bored over its ten or so hours playtime.
Purple Lamp seem to have forgotten these lessons from the Heavy Iron Studios remake, and instead opted for something considerably more simple, and also more average. Unlike its predecessor, you’ll spend the entirely of the five or so hours campaign playing as SpongeBob, albeit with a particularly adorable balloonified version of Patrick along on the journey with you. There’s no swapping characters and therefore no character-specific platforming or puzzles. The combat is as simple as constantly mashing the square button, with the frankly baffling decision to include some hoover-like weaponry at the very end of the game, as well as tutorials and new moves being introduced throughout the game, including in the last hour, another odd decision.
No-one really plays these games expecting an Oscar winning story, so it’s no surprise that the story is as simple as SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated, with Kassandra using SpongeBob to cause havok in the universe and then enlisting him to fix the problem she helped create, whilst actually just collecting enough jelly to become all powerful.
One thing the game truly excels at is the presentation of the world and characters that Purple Lamp have created. Everything looks glorious, and even though this was played on a PS5 and no doubt benefitted from the extra processing power afforded it, the base game was on PS4 and still looked better than some current gen offerings. From the general environment, the cinematics and definitely the ‘gross-ups’, it never got boring to look at, with vibrant colours adorning every inch of the screen at all times.
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SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is short in its gameplay offerings, puzzles and length and whilst beautiful to look at, I’ll be more likely to load up the much more varied and frankly far better SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated before I end up revisiting SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake. Admittedly kids will love it, which is the game’s target audience, but for those like myself that grew up with the show and continue to love the character all these years later, it’s undeniably a disappointment.
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake was played on a code supplied by THQ Nordic.
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