With the PlayStation 5 console launching to record numbers, there is more to it than just raw console fandom and thirst for increased power. Sony and PlayStation have built a reputation powered by excellent gaming experiences in a variety of genres, and with Sackboy: A Big Adventure, it is yet another home run for the console as an awesome 3D platformer.
The early thunder may have been grabbed by Astro’s Playroom, but Sumo Digital has put together one hell of a package here for the PS5 ecosystem. Oozing with charm, brilliant level design, and a mesmerising soundtrack to top it all out, this is a co-op romp that is not to be missed.
Although Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a spin-off from the bigger LittleBigPlanet games, it is defined by its own set of rules and design mechanics. Whether you are playing it alone or with up to three other friends, levels usually give ample room to explore and play around with the many different elements.
These adorable dioramas that run the gamut when it comes to visual designs are full of surprises. As Sackboy goes about unearthing secrets, kicking the enemy’s butt, or just amassing a collection of point bubbles, every level feels fresh and unique. There is always something that catches the eye, or music that is irresistibly good. Sackboy: A Big Adventure is always a good time.
Rather than overwhelming players with other modes like LittleBigPlanet’s level editor or community sharing mechanics, Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a pure 3D platformer that tells the story of Sackboy and Craftworld. With the villainous Vex hellbent on sowing chaos and bringing about the Uproar, it is up to you to thwart his plans and make some friends along the way.
For such a simple tale, it is testament to the game’s overall style and presentation that helps Sackboy: A Big Adventure stand out from its contemporaries. Just looking at Sackboy’s variety of expressions is enough to bring a smile to the face. Add to that environments and levels made up of household objects and how everything all makes sense via different themes and you have a formula for success.
Whether you are taking to the deep seas or flying high up amongst the stars, it all works. More importantly, there are enough stylistic choices that connect everything together that help sells Craftworld as a sum of its parts. Even the enemy designs are perfectly put together to add to that charm.
Sackboy himself is a star, made even better by a burgeoning wardrobe of costumes and parts that can be used for customisation. This is particularly useful when playing in co-op, as everyone can bring their own taste to the table. Saving the world in style, nothing could be better.
Even with all of that gorgeous visuals capturing your attention, it is recommended that you take the time to truly appreciate the musical nirvana that is Sackboy: A Big Adventure. The original score that punctuates the game is great, but there are also some unexpected remixes and reimagining of classic songs that will come as pleasant surprises. Nothing like a head-bopping masterpiece to take your mind off a platforming snafu.
There are also certain levels that take advantage of the music, constructing every action and move you take to the different beats of the songs. The execution is spot on, every single time.
At its core, Sackboy: A Big Adventure is all about getting to the end of the level. During your journey, you will be picking up different items to fulfil the game’s other secondary objectives. Collecting enough points will qualify you for bronze, silver, and gold medals. Make it all the way without dying earns you an Ace medal, while finding all the cosmetics and the Dreamer Orbs reward you in other ways.
Aside from the Dreamer Orbs, which are required to progress past certain gates of the game, the rest are all optional. That said, it is always entertaining to see how the developers go about hiding secrets all around the levels.
With its pretty generous checkpoint system and plenty of lives to spread around, Sackboy: A Big Adventure provides just enough challenge to keep you motivated. While you may not get all of the secrets and collectables at one go, it only provides more reasons for you to jump back in and enjoy the magic once more.
Sumo Digital also attempts to spice things up by adding additional tools to Sackboy’s arsenal. Specific levels may grant you the ability to use a grappling hook or hover boots, and breaks the monotony if you have not put the DualSense controller down for a while. These different levels also provide a decent challenge in how you approach obstacles and platforming sections.
The platforming and collecting nature of Sackboy: A Big Adventure is really good, but movement can sometimes be a tad frustrating. Jumping can be inconsistent, especially with some of the camera angles employed, which can result in unexpected deaths. Sackboy can also extend his time in the air by holding down the jump button, but it definitely feels too short to be always effective.
Thankfully, the inclusion of co-op play elevates Sackboy: A Big Adventure to another level altogether. Although the majority of the game, save for the optional co-op levels, can be enjoyed solo, having friends along for the ride is always a bonus.
Level designs can often provide you with multiple paths, which can be taken advantage of by several Sackboys running about. Being part of a team and all working to contribute to the cause makes Sackboy: A Big Adventure an even better time. The element of competition is also there for those who like to compete, and you always engage in some mischief by picking your friends up and giving them a toss.
With everything in place, Sackboy: A Big Adventure is without a doubt a force to be reckoned on its own. Full of charm and wit, and entertaining from start to finish, even the occasionally frustrating platforming does not take away too much of a shine from this neverending well of positive feelings and vibes. If you want to enjoy a game with a smile permanently plastered on your face, Sackboy is waiting for you to join his adventure.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Sackboy: A Big Adventure gives the adorable Sackboy another platform to charm his way into your hearts, and the platforming is fun to boot.
Gameplay - 8/10
Story - 8/10
Presentation - 10/10
Value - 8/10