Today we have a new game from Purple Lamp Studios and published by THQ Nordic. We’ve got Spongebob Squarepants
in the Multiverse of Madness Cosmic Shake. Not much more I can really say about it…except, oh yeah, an entire review! Put on your scuba gear and let’s do it, shall we?!
Wish-granting Mermaid’s Tears in the hands of SpongeBob and Patrick… What could possibly go wrong? Sure, the very fabric holding the very universe very together could come very undone, opening up portals into Wishworlds full of knights, cowboys, pirates, and prehistoric snails. But that’s nothing everyone’s favorite sponge can’t handle – with the right cosmic costume! Everybody do the Cosmic Shake!
- Unlock classic and new platforming skills like the Fishhook Swing and Karate Kick
- Don more than 30 F.U.N.tastic costumes like SnailBob and SpongeGar
- Travel to 7 distinct Wishworlds like Wild West Jellyfish Fields and Halloween Rock Bottom
- Experience all the buddy movie banter with SpongeBob’s permanent companion Balloon-Patrick
- Meet all your favorite Bikini Bottomites from the series, voiced by their original actors
- Enjoy the in-game soundtrack featuring 101 songs from the series, including Sweet Victory
The game features over 100 songs from the TV show across its storied history. Now in my time playing this game, I certainly didn’t hear all of those songs. I don’t know how anybody could, but I did hear tons of catchphrases. The bummer of it is that since it’s directed at a younger audience, you’ll find that the more recognizable catchphrases are heard the most. Not that that’s particularly a bad thing. But it almost makes you not want to pick up that special item or do the thing that it’s asking of you to do for the dozenth time. However, I remembered later on that I could turn down elements of the audio that I didn’t want to hear anymore and that made the game far more tolerable. Because the music I did hear was mastered well and mixed properly, so it was truly like watching an episode of Spongebob again. It felt right to hear the right things non-repetitiously. The game is interesting though in terms of cutscenes. There are cutscenes that happen in engine where the models you’re playing with have generic mouth flaps and talk, subtitles are on by default. There is also cutscenes that appear to be pre-rendered little videos, these are typically longer and the subtitles are on by default. One issue I had was I turned off the subtitles from the options/settings menu. However, it only disables subtitles from the pre-rendered cutscenes, not the in-game ones. I hope they fix this, because I really dislike subtitles.
The story is very simple and they get it into your hands within the first fifteen minutes of the game. Essentially, Spongebob and Patrick don’t feel so cool. They see cool kids and lament that they have nothing cool about them, their dress code, or their demeanor. As they walk along, a mysterious wagon appears (as they do) and a jaded, witchy mermaid is selling stuff from it. Spongebob is looking for something cool, and picks up the one not-cool thing she has. He offers to buy it from her, she realizes she can use him to get it to do what she never could. So she talks it up in a big way to make him use it to grant his wishes, just to see what happens. Well, in true Spongebob fashion, he botches the town and its main characters. She shows back up, telling him if he and Patrick enter the portals to the multiverse realms, then they can likely put Bikini Bottom back together again. And there starts our story, I won’t discuss it from that point.
Having said that, the controls are very similar to the previous Spongebob game. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? This game is much more forgiving than it’s predecessor. I found myself “dying” a bit more in the previous game or baddies taking more to kill them. There are new baddies in this game on top of previous ones, the Jelly Bandits. They get purposed in different ways in each themed universe. They’re very easy to kill, including a way to blow a bubble and capture them. This was a really fun wrinkle in the gameplay mechanics. The bubble would either defeat them or stun them, depending on the bandit type. To defeat them, you can smack them with your jellyfish net. To platform in the levels accordingly, you’ll find that you can jump and eventually double jump. There is even a glide function, which half of the time makes him sing “Krusty Krab Pizza, is the pizza, for you and me”. Which was the final straw for me, causing me to turn down the audio.
You’re also allowed to fast travel in this game. You unlock the ability at some point early on, I believe it was the end of the first universe. Fast traveling let’s you do a number of things, I don’t remember this being in the previous game.
Finally, the levels are intelligently designed. They’re very intuitive and easy to dechiper and make progress easily. I only found the parts where you ride the seahorse jarring. The mechanics of boosting through enemies and walls were fine. The very end of the sequence you just get booted off of the seahorse. The first 5 times this happened I was seriously wondering if I was doing something wrong. It’s such a definitive toss off the seahorse and the animation of it looks incorrect. I thought maybe I was supposed to be able to keep riding it. It wasn’t until I figured out that there were little context clues showing that you have to walk from that point, did I understand it’s just the crazy fast animation booting you off of the horse. They should either fix the animation or give an audio cue from Patrick. Patrick is with you at all times floating around, giving word of mouth tips to help you or save you if you’ve fallen. It seems easy enough for Patrick to say, “Spongebob, your ride is coming to an abrupt stop!” or something.
Which segue’s nicely into this topic; the replayability of it all. This game seems to have you inhabit a universe (Wishworld) for about an hour. So since there are less than ten ( I can’t remember precisely), you’ll beat this game likely in 6-8 hours. We just mentioned that there is fast travel in this game, but why would a developer introduce fast travel into a game that is “short”? Well that’s because to adults it may be short and simple, but for younger audience members, it’s brilliant. Having fast travel enables you to go back and get more gold items.
You additionally can go back to find and complete side quests that you may have missed. After you beat the entire game, you’re even afforded the ability to go replay boss battles. Because of all of this, it seems to be that you could conceivably double your play time of the base game. Like me, I rushed through and beat as much as I could before jumping into this review. But now I can go back and fill in the blanks if I wanted to.
Dude, this game is easier than the last game by what feels like 20%. And I think that that’s a nice balance for the younger folk. I also find it incredibly fun for an individual like myself with ADHD. I need constant reward and movement through a game less than I need challenge. For me, making progress keeps me interested. Getting stuck on an area, a baddie, or puzzle does not tickle my fancy. Having said that, this game is definitely playable and fun for anyone who picks up the controller regardless of their age or abilities. I recommend it wholeheartedly and unironically to anyone who loves Spongebob Squarepants. It really, honestly, truthfully felt like playing a Spongebob Movie from 2006. And that, dear scuba diver, is the best feeling.