Review: Sackboy: A Big Adventure – Along with a new console release, fun new games are always coming out. Although we expected that a new Knack would also be released with the PS5, Sony is bringing back an old acquaintance instead. In addition to Miles Morales and Astro’s Playroom as first-party games, Sackboy is also coming back. This time not in the form of LittleBigPlanet, but with its own stand-alone adventure. Although we consider the game a launch title for the PlayStation 5, Sackboy is also coming to the PS4 with his new great adventure. However, we played the game on the PS5 and in this review you can check our findings.
Platformers and console launches
It seems kind of a thing that Sony comes with a new platformer with the release of a new PlayStation. We saw the release of Knack on the PS4 and now on the PS5 Astro’s Playroom and Sackboy: A Big Adventure. Sony clearly focuses on these types of games, because they naturally appeal to a wide audience. A year after the release of the PS4 Pro, Knack 2 was released, which made optimal use of the hardware and hence our expectation that Sony would now come with Knack 3. So instead, Sackboy: A Big Adventure. This is of course a game in the LittleBigPlanet universe, but let’s make it clear right away that this is not a LittleBigPlanet game. You cannot create levels and there are no creative possibilities, it is purely a narrative experience with different types of levels and gameplay elements.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure is therefore a spin-off of the LittleBigPlanet series. The only thing in common is the main character, the creative style and the fact that you can unlock stickers, packs and other cosmetic items, but also buy them with bubbles to collect in the worlds. The gameplay and design of the worlds remind us a lot of a more expanded version of LittleBigPlanet on PS Vita. This time, however, the perspective is different, because the world is entirely in 3D. So you don’t look at the levels in 2.5D as you are used to from the former single player in the LittleBigPlanet games. The game therefore feels fresh on many fronts, but at the same time also recognizable.
What made the LittleBigPlanet games and of course Sackboy very recognizable was the visual style of the games. Using familiar real-world aspects such as metal, knitwear, sponges, ropes, water, fire, wind, and more. These elements are constantly played with and the use of the knitting mainly results in a very characteristic graphic style, where you can even see the fluff on Sackboy when you zoom in or view cut scenes. The worlds are in turn extremely creatively designed and provided with fun elements, such as rotating sponges that you can clamp yourself to with Sackboy or balls that protrude that you have to pull loose from a string.
Each level also has a unique element that constantly returns, for example you go deep-sea diving with a crab, or you get a machete boomerang in the jungle with which you have to mow away plants and enemies. In total there are five different worlds, each with its own style and characteristic, which ensures that the variation in adventure is maintained. Nevertheless, we have to admit that the gameplay can feel a bit repetitive over time. Our experience is that Sackboy: A Big Adventure is not a game that you will play for hours on end, but rather serves as a fun snack.
Entertaining, but in the long run you will know it
Although Sackboy introduces several beautiful worlds, the game – as already mentioned – is mainly much of the same in the long run. There are now and then some small new elements that make the playing style just a bit different, but these then trickle down to all levels within a certain world. In the previous LittleBigPlanet single player experiences you were introduced in a more natural way to the inexhaustible creative possibilities and you went along very gracefully. That feels a bit different in this part, many things are repeated in a slightly different setting and so after a few levels per world you actually already know what to expect from the following levels.
In terms of gameplay, you will notice that this typical LittleBigPlanet style may work best with a 2.5D display. Although this new perspective is refreshing and somewhere nice to experience with Sackboy, we still secretly long for the familiar rendering. Then we mean the way the camera works, because it floats dynamically behind you and that sometimes results in a somewhat limited overview, so that you cannot properly estimate certain jumps, which means that you repeatedly go wrong. A fixed camera angle closer to Sackboy, as seen in other platformers, might have been better for an even smoother gameplay experience. The reason for this is probably the co-op, where you need more overview, but at the same time this could also have been determined on the basis of the number of players. It is certainly not bad, but we feel it could have been better.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure is therefore possibly a bit repetitive in terms of gameplay and the camera perspective could have been worked out better, but where the game does score a lot of points is in terms of originality. There is no other game in the near past that has managed to impress in style like this, it steals your heart with fantastic music, the characters stick with you and it stirs up emotions you never knew existed before. just a knitted figure. This is what the game should have it from, it is not a high flyer in terms of gameplay, but an extremely imaginative brainchild of Sony that can be widely used as a mascot for the PlayStation brand.
When the first PS5 games are released, it is always a question of what makes each title so special on a new console. For Sackboy: A Big Adventure this is not so bad graphically, the game is razor-sharp and runs at 60 fps, which is very nice. The difference for Sackboy on the PS5 is mainly in the use of the DualSense. The music, the gameplay elements, everything can be heard and felt in the controller. The novelty was a bit off due to Astro’s Playroom, but Sackboy once again proves the enormous added value of the DualSense with crazy platformers like this one. It is really enjoyable.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure – Conclusion
Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a fun platformer that is very entertaining, but at some point it starts to feel a bit repetitive. In the first few hours in the game in particular, you may wonder when the creativity will emerge, but halfway through you start to discover this a little more and the game turns into an imaginative game with fantastic music, memorable characters and more. Plus, you’re starting to love Sackboy even more than you already did. On a technical level you should not expect extremely impressive next-gen violence, but the game is wonderfully sharp in 4K and runs at a stable 60 fps. The use of the DualSense is also proof in this game that a controller can take your experience to the next level. As far as we are concerned, Sackboy is:
Pros of Sackboy: A Big Adventure
- Beautiful worlds that are extremely imaginatively arranged
- Sackboy remains a magical and delightful mascot
- Nice gameplay elements
- Good use of the DualSense
Negatives of Sackboy: A Big Adventure
- Camera angles are not always useful, which means that precision is sometimes lacking
- Repetitive at times