SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is a 2023 platform game developed by Purple Lamp Studios and published by THQ Nordic. The game was rated by Valve as playable on Steam Deck with some minor problems that I will address later in the article. First, I am going to talk about the gameplay itself.
Based on the popular Nickelodeon animated series, the game follows SpongeBob and his trusty companion Balloon-Patrick as they journey through several alternate realities called “Wish Worlds” to save their friends and the town of Bikini Bottom while collecting Cosmic Jelly for the mermaid fortune teller Madame Kassandra. The game is faithful to the source material and features all the beloved characters voiced by their original actors, including Tom Kenny as SpongeBob and Bill Fagerbakke as Patrick.
One of the highlights of the game is the wide range of platforming skills and costumes available to SpongeBob. Players can unlock classic and new platforming skills, such as the Fishhook Swing and Karate Kick, which are used to navigate the levels and defeat enemies. Additionally, there are over 30 spongetastic costumes to don, including SnailBob and SpongeGar, each with their own unique abilities and powers.
The game features seven distinct Wish Worlds, each with its own theme and set of challenges. The locations include Wild West Jellyfish Fields, Halloween Rock Bottom, and Prehistoric Kelp Forest, among others. Each Wish World is beautifully designed and captures the essence of the corresponding theme from the show. The soundtrack is also noteworthy, with a brand-new score from the composers of Battle for Bikini Bottom and dozens of songs from the series.
The 40 FPS limit lets you play for roughly 2.5 hours on a single charge
The game’s story is simple but effective, with plenty of humor and references to the show. The buddy movie banter between SpongeBob and Balloon-Patrick is delightful and adds to the overall charm of the game. The gameplay itself is fun and engaging, with a good balance of platforming and combat.The Cosmic Shake is also relatively accessible, with a reasonable difficulty level that should appeal to both younger and older players.
Optimization is great – the only heavy frame drops I noticed were near portals to new worlds
One potential drawback of the game is its lack of innovation. While the game is faithful to the source material, it doesn’t do much to push the boundaries of the platforming genre. I find the game to be too similar to its predecessor, Battle for Bikini Bottom—Rehydrated, which was also developed by Purple Lamp Studios.
In SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake, you can change only … the resolution.
Overall, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is a fun and entertaining 3D platformer that should appeal to fans of the series. The game’s charming characters, vibrant worlds, and enjoyable gameplay make it a worthy addition to any SpongeBob fan’s collection. While it may not be the most innovative platformer out there, it delivers an enjoyable experience that captures the essence of the beloved animated series. So how does the game work on Steam Deck?
Overall SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake works really great on Steam Deck. However, there is a very interesting phenomenon here, because the game does not allow you to change settings beyond the resolution. If you absolutely want it, there is an option to set a resolution of 1152×720 (60 FPS screen) – it offers slightly better performance than the native 1280×800 (55FPS screen). However, there are still minor frame drops, so is it worth it?
In my opinion, the game works best on the 50Hz setting. The framerate is almost perfect, the game looks great, and the battery life on a single charge is about 2 hours. If you want to improve it then reduce the framerate to 40 or 30 FPS.
When it comes to other essential features, I didn’t come across any issues with font legibility during my playthrough (although it’s worth noting that subtitle size can be adjusted in the options menu), and the game also includes seamless gamepad support. All in all, I believe that SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is an excellent option for those playing on the Steam Deck. It’s a pity that the graphics settings were missing here, as this would have improved battery life, but other than that it’s really hard to complain about anythin else.
I would like to thank THQ Nordic for giving me free access to the game for testing.