When it comes all the way down to it, SpongeBob SquarePants actually is an irreverent and common cultural icon. Going previous the memes, or the countless references to traces, moments, or particular frames of animation folks cite as their favourite, it’s only a easy children present that branched out into one thing folks of all ages can take pleasure in. It’s to the purpose the place even its online game counterparts have a tendency to flee the grip of being mediocre tie-in materials, one thing which The Cosmic Shake needs to aim.
That is the newest launch from Purple Lamp Studios, recent off the heels of their earlier SpongeBob launch, Battle for Bikini Backside – Rehydrated, receiving heat reception and gross sales. Related in scale and tone, The Cosmic Shake sees SpongeBob and Patrick Star ship Bikini Backside into chaos after SpongeBob makes use of a magical bubble wand to grant needs he can’t. With the mysterious Mistress Kasandra by their facet, the pair use her steering, regardless of her personal benevolent functions.
One factor that must be counseled instantly is the consistency of stakes and pacing The Cosmic Shake has all through its course. Because of the unique VAs for the principle characters of SpongeBob SquarePants being part of The Cosmic Shake, and Purple Lamps’ earlier work on Battle for Bikini Backside, the ambiance is excellent. You’ll all the time really feel such as you’re part of making a big-brand Nickelodeon journey alongside everybody else.
Apparently, whereas framed as a “best-of” chronicling SpongeBob’s most well-known moments, The Cosmic Shake does properly to solely pay lip service to the memetic infamy a part of SpongeBob Squarepants. Regardless of a Wild West-themed stage, alongside a caveman journey to avoid wasting Squidward, there was no token nod in the direction of the likes of “Pinhead Larry” or that one body of Spongegar used as a meme template. It does properly to create its personal moments, which The Cosmic Shake has in spades.
Along with Patrick Star, who has been reworked right into a balloon resulting from SpongeBob’s mishaps, the chemistry the 2 possess is unbelievable, with pitch-perfect writing to go alongside it. Alongside every character taking part in their traditional personas, the brand new gags and punchlines all work to numerous results, with a whole lot of chuckles available. Once more, it could’t be overstated how a lot this feels official, like a really common SpongeBob SquarePants expertise.
As for the gameplay, whereas its core is totally respectable, it struggles to search out the identical assured id that The Cosmic Shake’s aesthetic does. Much like Battle for Bikini Backside, you’ll be galavanting by way of ranges with a brisk tempo, discovering gadgets and saving Bikini Backside’s extra well-known residents from these bubbles of time. As soon as a stage is accomplished and you come to the hub world, the sport tends to throw in a facet goal, with a view to encourage gamers to undergo the extent once more.
It’s a wonderfully enough motive to encourage replayability, however the Golden Doubloons, the sport’s most important collectible all through, are usually not. The Cosmic Shake presents a clumsy clarification as to why the costumes are so essential, with Mistress Kassandra explaining that they’re very important for traversal within the stage. In actuality, they’re not, it’s simply so you slot in with the remainder of the set dressing, but it surely additionally throws the participant for a loop regarding the many, many non-obligatory costumes you unlock.
With every handful of Golden Doubloons collected, you’ll unlock one other costume tier, which holds 4 completely different costumes accessible for buy, which reference lesser moments within the adventures of SpongeBob SquarePants. These are bought with royal jelly, which Mistress Kassandra additionally states is vitally essential to avoid wasting Bikini Backside, however by no means explains why. It could be bizarre to harp on such a side of a children recreation, but it surely brings to thoughts simply how unfocused The Cosmic Shake will be as a 3D platformer.
Take the controls, for instance, that are additionally completely enough. SpongeBob strikes with precision, his transfer set slowly expands over time as you undergo extra ranges, and preventing hordes turns into an eventual area brawler with a whole lot of selection. The roster is completely sized to permit for every type of experimentation with the fight, and there’s a whole lot of effort in exhibiting how enemies will react to SpongeBob being in proximity of a success.
On the similar time, there’s a lot weight positioned in SpongeBob’s actions, that it’s onerous to really make exact platforming, particularly when issues get extra heated and complicated within the later ranges. Truly controlling SpongeBob within the later ranges turns into a check of trials and tribulations as you try to discern whether or not or not the factor you’re about to leap in the direction of is a platform or an invisible wall. Making longer jumps within the latter half of the sport turns into a clumsy feat of dealing with the sport’s absurd resolution to tie a hover choice to the identical button that you just leap, resulting in avoidable deaths.
Regardless of this, it’s onerous to contemplate it a deal breaker, particularly for the reason that stage design is totally phenomenal, seemingly accommodating to gamers of all ages, not like the precise platforming. Each new playground is stuffed with collectibles, Royal Jelly, and enemies, is a always intertwining loop of paths that all the time include shortcuts and new methods to strategy a single spire, or peak. In some other recreation, this spaghetti junction strategy to platforming would really feel like an utter mess, however The Cosmic Shake makes it work.
Nonetheless, it brings to thoughts whether or not or not that is the kind of recreation children will take pleasure in, versus the adults who at the moment are steeped within the reminiscence of fixed SpongeBob SquarePants video games & memes. Regardless of a 7+ age score, a few of The Cosmic Shakes‘ later obstacles and environmental hazards grow to be cases of trial and error once they actually shouldn’t. Even when the sport embraces extra linear paths for automobile sections, or downhill moments, the precise telegraphing of pitfalls and enemies is a blur.
The Cosmic Shake can encourage replayability, but it surely does really feel arbitrary, particularly on the subject of the transfer set being drip-fed to you over time. When you attain the ultimate stage, you’ll have a small arsenal of weapons, strikes, and skills to make use of to open up areas of earlier ranges, but it surely does really feel fairly low cost having two completely different floor pound-type strikes for 2 seemingly similar buttons. It appears like a dartboard strategy to creating a playground for the participant to frolic in.
Regardless of faltering within the second half of the sport, the shortage of motivation and confidence The Cosmic Shake has in its mechanics is sort of overshadowed by the exuberant and brilliantly saccharine pleasure SpongeBob SquarePants has by default. Strap your self in for ten to 12 hours to search out SpongeBob, Patrick, Sandy, and Mr. Krabs at their peaks, backed by an excellent script, enjoyable occasions, and Bikini Backside at its brightest.
TechRaptor reviewed SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake on Xbox One S, utilizing a replica offered by the writer. Additionally it is accessible on Xbox Collection X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Change, and PC.
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