You understand how generally actual property brokers will describe a home as having “good bones”? It’s when a home is slightly bit garbage, or slightly bit outdated and outdated, however it has quite a lot of potential for enchancment. That’s precisely what SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake is — a sport with good bones.
That’s to not say it’s unhealthy, by any means. If we had been dwelling in 2004 and this was a licensed sport for the PlayStation 2, it might be the best-licensed sport available on the market. However it’s not 2004, and we are able to do higher.
The Cosmic Shake is an authentic story set within the SpongeBob universe, moderately than a tie-in to some current film or occasion within the long-running sequence. That’s factor, as a result of it provides the builders quite a lot of freedom in how they strategy the storytelling, they usually’ve definitely accomplished job with that freedom right here.
The story begins with SpongeBob and Patrick on the way in which to Glove World, a theme park dedicated to rubber gloves, which is an precise factor that’s within the present for some motive. It doesn’t actually work out, and the dynamic duo as a substitute find yourself speaking to an apathetic mermaid who owns a touring market.
The mermaid sells SpongeBob a bottle of magic bubble liquid that may grant needs, and naturally SpongeBob blows a bunch of bubbles for his pals. This tears a gap within the cloth of time and house, and opens up a sequence of portals in Bikini Backside to alternate universes. It additionally turns Patrick right into a balloon, permitting him to tag alongside with out getting in the way in which, which is good.
It’s actually a extremely strong story setup, feeling very applicable for SpongeBob whereas nonetheless opening up quite a lot of alternative to take SpongeBob and Patrick exterior of the same old stomping grounds. Letting the duo discover a sequence of unusual and wacky alternate worlds – just like the set of a karate film, a wild west city, and a dinosaur-infested volcano – is a good way so as to add selection with out bending the foundations of the norm.
The Cosmic Shake can be voiced completely by the solid of the present, with some stellar performances throughout the board. That has its drawbacks too, as usually you’re solely actually uncovered to SpongeBob and his pals briefly, 20-minute bursts. Right here, you’re caught with them for not less than 10 hours, often an hour or extra at a time, and it will possibly positively begin to get grating over time.
It’s not helped by the repeated voice traces for sure actions. For instance, generally whenever you glide, SpongeBob will sing “Krusty Krab Pizza is the pizza for you and me”, and that’s humorous and cute the primary couple of instances. Once you’ve been taking part in for an hour, gliding tons of of instances in that hour, you’ll have heard this music a number of dozen instances, and it turns into extra annoying than anything.
Different facets of the sound design received on my nerves too. Each step SpongeBob takes is accompanied by a rubbery squeaking sound, and that doesn’t change all through the sport’s runtime. It doesn’t matter what floor you’re stepping on, it’s at all times there, at all times squeaking, at all times annoying. I genuinely performed the final couple of hours of the sport with the pontificate for every part however cutscenes as a result of I simply couldn’t take it anymore.
After which we get to the gameplay, and it’s… nice? It’s nice. For essentially the most half, The Cosmic Shake performs like your typical 3D motion platformer. You’ll leap and glide and hit issues along with your bubble wand, and all of that’s okay on paper, however in apply all of it simply feels a bit off.
Platforming might be the worst of it, owing largely to some floaty, imprecise controls coupled with degree design that requires nice precision. Both of these elements may have been modified to alleviate the opposite, however collectively they make for a irritating expertise.
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I can not inform you the quantity of instances I died attempting to platform over a quite simple hole, as a result of what I had out there to me was a sequence of tiny packing containers to leap on. It’s onerous to successfully gauge momentum and distance, and meaning it’s straightforward to overshoot or undershoot your goal.
There are some motion skills unlocked later within the sport, they usually assist considerably, however they’re largely locked to particular interactive set items and don’t assist with basic motion all over the world.
Fight doesn’t fare too significantly better, however that may simply be pinned down on the enemy design, moderately than the fight itself. The fight is pretty fundamental — you possibly can hit, dodge, leap, and floor pound — and it might get the job accomplished in nearly another sport of this sort.
The enemies simply make the entire thing really feel unfair and annoying. The essential enemy sorts are okay, however the particular enemies are really terrible to cope with. For instance, there’s a giant blob enemy that has an annoying hit field, spawns extra enemies, and might assault you from afar. To high all of it off, you must hit it thrice, and in between every hit, it will possibly (and can) stun you, which lets different enemies hit you.
There’s one other enemy, a giant fish man holding a bath, that asks you to look at for its poorly telegraphed assaults, dodge them, after which rush again in to hit it. The hit field is terrible, combating it’s sluggish, and it’s simply not a enjoyable expertise.
Like with motion, you do get some fight skills later within the sport, they usually assist massively with the monotony and frustration of fight encounters. They’re a band-aid on a bullet wound, although, and even at its greatest, fight is rarely actually enjoyable, simply tolerable.
Fortunately, there are some redeeming elements in The Cosmic Shake. Its alternate worlds are quite a lot of enjoyable to discover, filled with secrets and techniques and collectibles which can be genuinely enjoyable to search out. Every world has a dozen or so cash to gather, which may then unlock costumes for SpongeBob to put on. Most of those cash are locked behind puzzles or platforming challenges, and whereas the issues inherent to platforming are current right here, these segments are quick sufficient and pleasurable sufficient to make it price doing.
There’s additionally a number of facet quests that may have you ever monitoring down much more collectibles scattered all through the worlds, in addition to some foolish minigames like burger-flipping, horse racing, and Mario 64-style slides. All of those are pleasurable distractions from the principle sport, and any time spent exterior of fight and traversal is at all times factor on this sport.
Yet another minor level of rivalry I’ve is with the sport’s costumes. As you progress by the story, you’ll be given completely different costumes which can be applicable to the world you’re about to go to — a cowboy costume for the wild west world, a karate costume for the film set, a Halloween costume for the Halloween world. You can too unlock costumes by accumulating cash, and these are all very cute little references to iconic moments in SpongeBob historical past.
I’m simply not completely certain why these costumes exist. None of them change something about how SpongeBob interacts with the world, and none give any particular skills, fight buffs, or motion perks. You don’t even should put on the particular costumes for every world, you possibly can grow to be no matter costume you want at any time and it makes no influence on the sport in any way.
In fact, not every part must be useful. It’s generally sufficient that one thing is only a good little beauty flourish. However when costumes are just about the one factor to work in direction of, and when there’s such a deal with the costumes in key story factors, it feels slightly bit unusual that they don’t actually do something. They don’t even change SpongeBob’s ft sounds, and that might have been the simplest potential win.
SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake isn’t a foul sport, however it’s not a very nice one both. It exists firmly within the center, a sport that’s barely extra good than it’s unhealthy, and a sport that might be fairly good with only a few tweaks and modifications. If I had been an eight-year-old child with loads of time and persistence, I don’t assume I may discover a lot to fault right here, and on condition that’s primarily who this sport shall be aimed toward, that’s most likely ok.
Model examined: Xbox Sequence S