Spongebob Squarepants. The show that arguably most of us watched as a kid. It’s no doubt one of Nickelodeon’s best TV shows, and the fact that the series is still going strong since its inception in 1999 indicates it’s been very well-received.

However, the sponge’s transition to the video game industry has been hit or miss. Just check Did You Know Gaming for a list of not-so-successful titles. A few years ago, though, a remake was made for Battle of Bikini Bottom, one of the more well-received titles. According to Steam, the reviews are “overwhelmingly positive.”

So now we’ve arrived at The Cosmic Shake, which, more or less, uses the same engine (Unreal), 3D platforming, and developer/publisher (Purple Lamp/THQ Nordic). And the question becomes, “Is this game worth your time?”

Cosmic Shake cutscene with Spongebob and Squidward

I’d say so. But let’s get into more detail about it. It was nice to actually have enough time to play this game in its entirety, so I’m proud to say this is a full review.


Spongebob and Patrick come across a jar of Mermaid’s Tears. These tears grant whatever wish the user wants after blowing a bubble. The caveat is that wish makes the user become that wish. So, take Patrick for example. Spongebob wishes him to have “the biggest, ballooniest adventure of his life.” That wish will make Patrick become a balloon…so if you’ve been wondering why Patrick looks like the way he does in the artwork that you’ve seen for this game, now you know why.

The Mermaid’s Tears create more havok than just that. Bikini Bottom has become damaged. Slime is scattered across several buildings and landscapes. Trucks have crashed, thus draining the town’s supply of food and other resources. Sandy’s home has been destroyed. Spongebob lost his pineapple home. Mr. Krabs and Plankton have been forced to work together since the Krusty Krab no longer exists. Lava surrounds Mrs. Puff’s boating school. Gary has become a giant, aggressive monster.

Cosmic Shake Glove World

Finally, the world of Bikini Bottom has “shook” in the sense that portals have been opened to various “Wishworlds.” It’s Spongebob’s job to enter these worlds and save Bikini Bottom, one house at a time. Along the way, he’ll need the help of Madame Kassandra, the mermaid who owned the Mermaid’s Tears in the first place. But she might have some nefarious plans of her own…


The Wishworlds that Spongebob enters are vastly different from one to the next. One will have Spongebob equip a cowboy costume and enter a Western-like world. Characters that you’re familiar with, such as Sandy, Mr. Krabs, and Mrs. Puff will make an appearance, but their costumes are different, and sometimes they don’t recognize Spongebob. Their personalities are intact, however, whether you see that as a good thing or not. Mr. Krabs, for instance, remains the greedy, love-money-more-than-life stereotype.

Another type of Wishworld has Spongebob travel back to the stone ages, where he and Patrick become cavemen. Their objective is to save Squidward from the clutches of the evil Pearl Krabs. Along the way they’ll have to travel through lava by manuevering a rolling rock and keeping pace with it, and catching enough jellyfish to awaken a great whale so that he can move his fin around, providing access to the next area.

Cosmic Shake cutscene with Spongebob and seahorse

At the end of each Wishworld (there’s seven, and each generally doesn’t take any longer than an hour to finish) there’s usually a boss. Unfortunately, those who were once Spongebob’s friends are now his enemies. In the Hollywood-themed Wishworld, for example, Sandy runs around a hamster wheel with spikes on the outside, and Spongebob’s goal is to make her run into a stack of explosive barrels to stun her. Spongebob can then follow up with an attack. Three strikes, and she’s gone. Spongebob will use the magic wand, blow a bubble, and transport himself, Patrick, and Sandy back to Bikini Bottom. Somehow, Sandy gets her home back this way. The process of defeating a boss and blowing a bubble to get back to Bikini Bottom gets repeated after each Wishworld is finished, gradually restoring Bikini Bottom back to its original self.

General Gameplay/Combat

As the game is pretty much using the same assets as Battle for Bikini Bottom: Rehydrated, expect the same controls: slap with the X button, jump > double jump with A, ground-pound with B, third-person 3D platforming, what have you. Controls, at least based on my testing so far, are not able to be customized in-game (although, of course you can customize Steam Input if you wanted to). The same totem poles exist where, if you slap them, they get destroyed and produce what is called “jelly.” Collect enough jelly, and Spongebob can buy new costumes to wear, which he can change to at any time. Other than cosmetic purposes, these costumes don’t serve much else of a purpose.

Enemies are a little different, however. These enemies are made of jelly themselves. Most of them are pretty easy to beat. Just slap them and most of them are gone with just one hit. Later on Spongebob will be able to do a karate kick in the air, which will automatically home in on the nearest target. This mades enemy cleanup even more convenient. Projectiles are here as well; Spongebob can cast a bubble. If an enemy is caught, they’ll be wrapped in said bubble for a few moments, unable to move. Spongebob can follow up with an attack, with no fear of reprisal.

Things get even easier when Spongebob picks up the reef blower. Suck up some baddies with it, just like Luigi picks up ghosts with his poltergust, then spit out the garbage as a projectile. You’ll need to do this with a couple of bosses later on in the game.

Cosmic Shake Krusty Krab

There’s one enemy in particular though that’s obnoxious to defeat. While easy to beat, it becomes a chore waiting for it to throw its bathtub down in order to attack it. This is a rinse and repeat cycle that needs to be repeated three times in order to get rid of said enemy. There should have been a way to defeat it more quickly.

So, combat in this game definitely isn’t a strength. To me, it’s too easy while at the same time being a bit boring. I suppose if you’re a more casual player though, you’ll appreciate this. And Patrick can be of great help when Spongebob is on his last pair of pants; Patrick, being the balloon that he is, can pick up new pairs and deliver it straight to his yellow companion.


The humor remains top-notch. All the original voice actors are here, and let me tell you, there were definitely some moments where I cracked up. Patrick remains his dumb, yet funny self, where at one point he jokes that Spongebob can “handshake” himself with his glove hat. You can create your own humor by slapping NPCs. Are they annoying? Just slap them to shut ’em up. You’ll even get a Steam achievement by slapping a certain number of NPCs. There are some other funny moments in the cutscenes, or where there is a dialog between characters, but I’d rather not spoil them so you can get the full laugh yourself.

Cosmic Shake dialog example


That being said, there are of course certain moments where things get annoying. For example, I don’t need Spongebob saying “The Krusty Krab pizza, is the pizza, for you and me!” every time he glides in the air. Or have him breathe a sigh of relief and say “No more chafing” when he picks up a pair of underwear. Or “a little dabble-doyah!” whenever he picks up a cluster of jelly. And I don’t know if it’s just me, but the sound his sneakers make as he walks can also be a bit irksome. Fortunately there is a costume that he can wear where he becomes a hoverbot, thus eliminating the walking sound.

One other issue I have is, sometimes the transition between cutscenes is a little awkward. If you defeat a boss, for instance, you generally won’t see that boss get destroyed after the final hit. I mean, I know this is a kid’s game and all, but the way the cutscene is handled after that is a little strange, in a way that’s hard to explain.

While I like the idea of having different worlds and eras to explore, I sort of wish the characters had different personalities. They might be wearing a different costume, they might speak a little differently, but Squidward remains his pessimesstic self. Mr. Krabs continues to be the penny pincher. Sandy still remains…uh, crazy? I think it would have been more interesting to see their personalities swapped, or altogether replaced with something different, just to add a little more “spice” to each world. On top of this there’s some confusion – in some worlds, the characters won’t recognize Spongebob. In others, they do. What was the deal with that?

Cosmic Shake medieval Wishworld

While there is a little more replayability with a few side missions, these missions are pretty bland. Sandy might ask you to find a couple of hot objects in the pre-historic world so she can heat her generator. So you’re playing the same Wishworld over again, to find these objects, some of which are hard to find. Not really that fun, if you were to ask me. It’s just padding the gameplay length at that point.

There’s a part of the game where Spongebob becomes a snail. Great concept on paper…if the experience wasn’t so brief. Just run this race that doesn’t last any longer than three minutes, and the idea never gets re-used anywhere else. It’s kind of sad as this is one of the more unique aspects of this game.

How Long to Beat?

Took me about nine hours to reach the credits. There are some optional quests that you can do afterwards, which, if I were to take a guess, would add another two-or-three hours.

Cosmic Shake pre-historic Wishworld

How Does it Steam Deck?

Frankly The Cosmic Shake is a barebones PC port. There’s not much for video options. There’s no “low,” “medium,” or “high” settings quality. You’re just stuck with one preset and that’s it. There’s no options for anti-aliasing, and very few options for resolution. Just a vsync toggle and that’s it. That being said, the game plays very well on Deck out-of-the-box.

On Deck, with fullscreen mode, you have the following resolutions available:

  • 1024 x 768
  • 1152 x 720
  • 1280 x 720
  • 1280 x 800

For some reason, there’s no resolution options available for windowed or windowed fullscreen modes.

I recommend setting the screen mode to fullscreen and setting the resolution to 1152 x 720. While you could get away with 1024 x 768, Gamescope/FSR won’t rescale the screen to fullscreen; black borders are present on the left and right.

To get 60 FPS, don’t set the TDP limit any lower than 13 W.

For 40 FPS, you should be able to set the TDP to around 8 W. For further battery optimization, you can set the GPU clock frequency to 800 MHz, and limit the number of CPU threads to four if you have PowerTools. Keep in mind you’ll likely need to play around with these values, depending on how busy the in-game scene is. An explosion that happens, or if there are a lot of NPCs/enemies, the framerate will likely drop for a few moments, until the explosion or wave of enemies is cleared.

Cosmic Shake on Deck 40 FPS settings

At 30 FPS, set the TDP limit to 6 W, and the GPU clock to 600 MHz. You might even be able to get away with just three CPU threads.

One further tweak that I’d recommend, is to set some of the more frequently used actions in-game to the back buttons. I have the attack and jump buttons assigned to the top left and top right, respectively.

It’s Fun and Humorous, with a Few Asterisks

Overall I liked The Cosmic Shake. The dialog between characters can have humor that never skips a beat. The idea of having several different worlds to explore, that are vastly different from each other, is also a pretty neat concept. New characters, while carrying much of the original cast, is great. Being able to switch between tons of different costumes is cool. Works great on Deck.

On the other hand you have a barebones PC port, a story that isn’t going to last quite as long as ten hours, awkward cutscene transitions, combat that’s too easy, an annoying sponge (what did you expect?), padded side missions, new concepts that could have been explored a little further, character personalities that could have been more unique. This probably explains why the price tag is $40 rather than the full $60 that you would typically expect on games like this.

I haven’t explored the idea yet, but since there is a whole modding page for Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated, I wonder if some of the mods will work here, since it’s using the same engine. Like getting rid of letterboxed cutscenes, for example. And overall make the game less of a barebones PC port.

Cosmic Shake Hollywood Wishworld


The good:

  • hilarious dialog
  • new worlds to explore, which are vastly different from each other
  • plenty of different costumes to try out
  • works great on Deck

The not-so-good:

  • short story length
  • weird, abrupt cutscene transitions
  • side missions don’t add much value to the replayability
  • some dialog is repetitive
  • character personalities in the Wishworlds could have been more unique
  • lack of options for video settings
  • some concepts, such as Spongebob being a snail, could have been used a little more thoroughly
  • combat is too easy

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake will be available tomorrow on Steam for $40.

Review key provided by Terminals. Opinions are of my own.