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Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a 3D platformer by Sumo Digital, the developers of PlayStation’s LittleBigPlanet 3, featuring the series’ lovable sack-covered character.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure was originally released for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 on November 12th, 2020 and is available for PC via Steam since October 27th, 2022. In Sackboy your mission is to navigate colorful worlds full of jumps and slides, collect bells and blue orbs all while avoiding or battling minions of the infamous VEX who wants to enslave other sack creatures. Like it’s predecessors, Sackboy is sock full (see what we did there?) of charm. From realistic looking textures of cloth and everyday objects in unique stages, to funky fun music that accompanies every level.
Gameplay can be a mix from extremely laid-back easy to controller-slamming difficult in later worlds. But, even though some parts can be annoyingly difficult, everything is achievable with patience because the game has several options to make losing not so frustrating.
For one, you can set the game to infinite lives, so at worst you get set back a little bit in a level as the game does feature checkpoints. At worst, you lose all your progress for that level and have to start over. It’s not that harsh as each level can be completed in minutes.
One thing you will learn soon enough is that each level is meant to be played again later, as you get scored on several different factors: How many blue orbs you get, how many bells you get, and if you found all the items in the game. By the third world, this will become an actual challenge.
What sets this game apart from LittleBigPlanet is that there is no mission editor or level editing. While a lack of creativity is disappointing, you do find wardrobe parts to outfit your Sackboy in an array of different costumes.
Bells earned in levels can be traded in to buy unique clothing options. The blue orbs you collect go toward unlocking later worlds. For example, to pass one world, you might require 20 orbs, and each level gives about 3 or 5 orbs each, so getting enough orbs shouldn’t be too difficult, even for younger players or those less inclined to do a stage repeatedly. Every so often special bonus areas will open up that give you access to locked levels for collecting massive amounts of bells.
The story is a common “beat the bad guy’s minions, then fight the bad guy” theme, but the story isn’t really the focus. Having fun during the journey is the what you should take from it.
The first few levels are rather simple, but difficulty starts ramping up and by the third world there are just same orbs and places we just can’t get to. Maybe more experienced platform players would have no trouble, but some of the timing and precision requirements just feel ridiculous. Even so, by the time you get to the third world, you should have enough orbs that you can still progress through the game without worrying about every single orb and it does give the player some extra content to try and master.
Most of Sackboy is a single-player experience, but it does have a full-fledged multiplayer/co-op experience, and on the PC version, you can do couch/local co-op if you have more controllers or one player wants to use mouse and keyboard. There are a few stages that are multiplayer-only, but they are not required to complete the game.
There are also timed speed challenges that require the player to navigate tricky levels within a time limit to score extra bells. To get a gold score, you either have to be really good at platformers or re-do the levels over and over.
- Colorful, very detailed worlds and objects
- Platforming is simple to learn, but hard to master
- Young age-appropriate themes and gameplay
- Fun music and sound effects
- Collect bells to unlock extra clothing
- Co-op or single-player options
- No texting/chatting with other players, so no worry about younger players being exposed to inappropriate conduct from others
- Lots of side missions and little extras to keep players engaged
- Some stages are very difficult, by the time the third world is entered, difficulty can get almost aggravating if you are trying to be a perfectionist and get every item on every level. This can be seen as a Pro/Con depending on how dedicated you are to platforming.
- Some orbs are hard to find, you may have to repeat a level a few times to figure out where the orbs are hidden. Backtracking in a lot of levels is just not possible as you get into slides or areas that are locked behind you.
- A more comprehensible tutorial for advanced moves would be appreciated as some sections can be very finicky about platforming. In one section we died about 10 times trying to perform a jump to find an orb, only to later learn that in the options there was a setting you could enable that would allow you to temporarily wiggle your arms longer, which allows you to jump further. Even with that setting, there was one area in world 3 we just could not get to.
- The story is nothing to write home about, but honestly, it’s not that important.
- Some cut-scenes can not be skipped, younger players might not have the patience to sit through the same cut-scene over and over again if they are having difficulty getting past a certain part.
- On the flip side of the Pros, the lack of communication in the game can be difficult if a online partner is playing with you and want you to do something to help get through a level, however, through miming actions, we would be able to get our point across.
- None of the creativity or extra bonus of creating your own levels or playing other player created worlds, which is the biggest flaw of this game.
- This is a personal gripe, but the audio/sound of Sackboy has been changed to use audio that sounds like a human child, where as before Sackboy was not speaking any actual words, just grunts (provided by Kenneth Young).
If you’re looking for a LittleBigPlanet game, this is not it, as this is a separate, self-contained Sackboy adventure set in the LittleBigPlanet universe. If you’re looking for a mature, deep story that will have a lot of plot twists and intrigue, this is not it. However, if what you’re looking for is a somewhat laid-back, fun experience that you can just pick and play with your child or younger siblings, this might be right up your alley if you can overlook the idea that getting a gold star every level might take a lot of dedication.
Maybe one day PC players will be graced with the full LittleBigPlanet experience, but for now we’re content to be jumping through worlds to the song “Uptown Funk” with Bruno Mars.
TITLE: Sackboy: A Big Adventure
DEVELOPER: Sumo Digital
PUBLISHER: Sony Interactive Entertainment
PS5/PS4 Release Date: November 12, 2020
PC Release Date: October 27, 2022
Review Author: Chunky Moe
We captured the screenshots with the Steam version Sony provided.