THQ Nordic revealed a new SpongeBob SquarePants game during its 10th anniversary showcase livestream today, and while the trailer lacked any actual gameplay, it was bursting at the seams with iconic references to the series.
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake follows SpongeBob and Patrick as they break the fabric of reality using the wish granted by mermaid’s tears. The trailer doesn’t offer much concrete info on gameplay, but it sure does deliver heaps of series references. Here are the ones I caught.
The trailer plunges us deep into SpongeBob nostalgia from the start as Plankton plays the first piano notes of “Sweet Victory,” a song from “Band Geeks,” season 2 episode 15 of the show. In this episode, Squidward tries to assemble Bikini Bottom to play at a Super-Bowl-style halftime show. This moment was so popular in the series that it found its way onto the real Halftime Show stage during the 2019 Super Bowl.
After SpongeBob and Patrick get sucked into a portal, SpongeBob rides a bubble surfboard into the next reference. BUT I have a theory that this bubble surfboard is the soul of the departed character, Scooter. Hear me out: In season 2 episode 23 (“Bubble Buddy”), SpongeBob and his friend Bubble Buddy leave Scooter buried in the sand before a large tide comes in. Scooter drowns offscreen, and is shown as an angel in the next scene. The official SpongeBob YouTube channel references this event in the video Scooter’s Haunting Secret | Bikini Bottom Mysteries Ep. 6, which leads me to believe he might have been reincarnated as a bubble surfboard in the next life. The logic behind my theory is that Scooter, may he rest in peace, was surfing in the episode in question, and although Bubble Buddy was…a bubble, the now-deceased Scooter was the only one who surfed in the episode. I might be on to something…or I could be overthinking things. You decide.
The next noteworthy reference in the trailer occurs when SpongeBob squares off against Sandy Cheeks in his protective karate gear. This is a nod to season 1 episode 14, “Karate Choppers,” in which SpongeBob shows off his martial arts prowess.
The fourth reference features caveman SpongeBob, as seen in “Ugh,” the 54th episode of season three, in which a prehistoric Spongebob, Patrick and Squidward discover fire.
The fifth reference depicts SpongeBob morphed into a snail, a sight that will haunt my dreams for nights to come. This is from the 13th episode of season one, “I Was a Teenage Gary,” in which Squidward accidentally injects SpongeBob with snail plasma. Yeah, let’s just all collectively forget this episode exists.
The final reference shows SpongeBob riding Mystery the Seahorse, a nod to season three episode 42, “My Pretty Seahorse.” In this episode, SpongeBob gets a pet seahorse and attempts to hide it at work from Mr. Krabs.
That’s a lot of references! Although I’m sour that we didn’t see any actual gameplay, it was pretty sick to hear Mrs. Puff’s guitar solo. Hopefully soon we can discuss how The Cosmic Shake actually looks as a game rather than just all the ways it’s trying to remind us of the show.