Launching alongside Spider-Man Miles Morales and Demons Souls as one of the big PlayStation 5 launch titles, Sackboy: A Big Adventure is the long-anticipated return of the LittleBigPlanet platforming-chaos series from Sumo Digital which had instant success when it began on PlayStation 3. Sackboy: A Big Adventure has a big role at launch. It needs to bring players in from all corners of the market to play co-operatively on Sackboy’s biggest adventure to date, and that’s exactly what it does, making the jump to a full 3D platformer with 100% more PEW PEW!
Sackboy: A Big Adventure tells the tale of the dastardly Vex and his plot to enslave Sackboy’s friends to build his Topsy Turver. Vex wants to use the Topsy Turver to turn Craftworld into a world of nightmares, but that’s where Sackboy and his newfound friends come in. There are five different worlds of increasing difficulty that you must conquer if you’re going to save Craftworld from Vex and become a legendary Knitted Knight, from time trials to Zom Zom’s, join us as we discover all the dreams and nightmares in Sackboy: A Big Adventure.
It’s worth mentioning that Sackboy: A Big Adventure is not just a PlayStation 5 launch title, but it is also available on the previous generation PS4. If you weren’t lucky enough to score a PlayStation 5 at launch then you can still grab it on PS4 and get a free update when you score a PS5. Take note though, Sony has let us know that save transfers from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5, online multiplayer, and most importantly cross-generational multiplayer have unfortunately all been delayed from launch, but these features are still expected to be added in a free update before the end of 2020.
As mentioned, there are five main worlds in Sackboy: A Big Adventure, each featuring different environments, a gradual progression in difficulty, and a superbly slaphappy name. While the first couple of worlds are relatively easy to play through, things get challenging fast when you reach the halfway point of the adventure. Co-op with friends and family is a lot of fun, but the game gets to a point where inexperienced platformers might struggle to keep up and you can no longer carry them through the tricky bits.
Yes, the familiar controls of the LittleBigPlanet games are back. You can jump, slap, grab and throw objects, enemies and friends alike. Sackboy: A Big Adventure also adds some unique items that allow you to traverse the worlds differently, such as hover-boots and a boomerang. These items are only acquired at the beginning of certain levels, and are removed at the end meaning you can’t carry them in to other levels. There are also other useful items hidden throughout levels such as an umbrella that allows you to hover similarly to the hover boots, and different kinds of melee weapons.
Each world comes with Knitted Knights Trials which must first be unlocked by locating a unique item within one of the levels. These trials play similar to maps in the hugely popular Fall Guys and require you to bring your A-game to get the best time. The worlds also contain other mini-games and challenges as well as a familiar store layout called Zom Zom’s where you can purchase new items and outfits or apply any collected items in the wardrobe. The in-game currency used to purchase items isn’t too hard to collect, and while some items cost 1,000+, you’ll collect anywhere from 50-150 in each level.
Progression to each new world requires you to collect a certain amount of orbs from the various missions available. You can stick to a direct path through each world but eventually you will need to go back and play some of the other levels scattered around each world. Some levels are hidden, while some even require you to take a portal to a hidden area of one of the other worlds. The variety of gameplay stays true to the LittleBigPlanet series, offering plenty of unique challenges and puzzles to solve, though some bits started to get repetitive with same enemy types used from start to end and the Vex boss fights being almost identical each time with just a slight increase in difficulty.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure offers amazing load times on the PlayStation 5, so much so that at times we felt like we needed a break from the constant platforming. No longer do you have the option to leave the room or even check your phone. In fact, we had a tough time even managing to read the load-screen tips, but we’re not complaining. The new PlayStation 5 Dualsense controller provides haptic feedback which gives you an unmatched feeling of how Sackboy might feel as he navigates through the wooly Craftworld. While the haptic feedback is minimal, it’s a nice touch. The Dualsense speaker also does a good job here, not going overboard with the noises unlike Spider-Man Miles Morales’ web slinging sounds which we turned off in the first few minutes of gameplay.
You’d have to be blind to not appreciate the visuals in Sackboy: A Big Adventure on PlayStation 5. The game runs in native 4K at 60 frames per second and looks gorgeous. You can actually see individual fur follicles when the camera zooms in on Sackboy, and progressing through the game brings new surprises like photo-realistic batteries and jaw-dropping costumes. What this creates is a world where you can feel totally absorbed in, even when outside of the individual levels. The only negative point we could find in the graphics is that when Sackboy himself interacts with objects such as the trophy he holds up at the end of each level, it can go through him. This is the same with costumes, and considering some of the costumes get quite outrageous, this can lead to ruining key moments in cut-scenes. Some simple collision physics could fix this, but it doesn’t detract from the actual gameplay.
Dawn French (Delicious, Vicar of Dibley), Lewis Macleod (Xenoblade Chronicles, Horizon Zero Dawn), Rupert Degas (Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder) and Simon Greenall (Octonauts, LittleBigPlanet 3) lead a stellar cast of voice actors in Sackboy: A Big Adventure with the most significant for us Aussies being Rupert Degas’ unbearably over-the-top Aussie accent. Good thing you can just slap his character to get him to hurry up! Craftworld is full of cute and charming sounds, but what stands out is that every now and then there’s a level which flows to the tune of a popular song. From Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk to Britney Spears’ Toxic, we instantly wanted to play these levels again just to see the magic of it working to the beat.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure is the go-to game for couch co-op with family at the PS5’s launch, and can be played by children as young as four (we had fun!). Expect the main story to take around 10-15 hours to complete, though a full completion will require most levels to be played through at least twice. Though the game gets a bit repetitive at times, overall, this 3D platformer is at the point now where it’s becoming a convincing competitor for Nintendo’s Mario Bros. games. With cross-gen online multiplayer on the way, we’re excited to see where Sumo takes Sackboy next.
Rocket Chainsaw reviewed Sackboy: A Big Adventure on PlayStation 5 with review code provided by the publisher. It is also available on PlayStation 4, and for more information head to the official website.
- A wonderful adventure for all ages - Decent length co-op platformer - 4K Sackboy is too cute!
- Minor animation flaws - Gets repetitive.