Developed By: Sumo Digital
Published By: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 4 & 5
Reviewed On: PS4PRO
With the steady hand of Sumo Digital which developed LittleBigPlanet 3 back in 2014, PlayStation Studios have decided to give Sackboy a big new adventure for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. However, even though this game is also a platforming in the same vein as LittleBigPlanet, the platforming elements have been expanded upon for full 3D platforming. Thanks to PlayStation Asia we were given the opportunity to review this game and the review will be for the PlayStation 4 version.
After playing as much of the game and watching the credits roll, I feel that Sackboy: A Big Adventure starts off surprisingly strong but fails to sustain the momentum until the end. I do think it is still a solid effort and hopefully the start of more adventures to come.
This Hit, That Ice Cold, Michelle Pfeiffer, That White Gold
The story in Sackboy: A Big Adventure starts out with the village that Sackboy lives in with other Sack people being attacked by a jester called Vex. His villainous plan is to enslave them and use them to build his Topsy Turver to spread Uproar across the LittleBigPlanet Universe. Being the hero Sackboy escapes and with the mentorship of Scarlett, Sackboy journeys across multiple worlds to thwart Vex and learn what it is to be a Knitted Knight. Along the way, he will meet colourful characters that are meant to be the hosts of the world like the monkey queen, lobster king or the malfunctioning N.A.O.M.I. with Scarlett always close by.
I cannot really talk much about the story as it is simple and does its job. Even though it is geared towards a younger crowd the myriad of characters lack depth to them. Now I am not saying that the developers just decided to skimp on the world-building and characters as there is some semblance of that here, but I guess I would have liked more.
With A Taste of Your Lips, I’m On A Ride
The graphics and performance of the game is very gorgeous even on the PS4 and I thought it was adorable. The textures in cutscenes and in the world look so well made that I can just reach out and touch them. The game runs at a steady 60fps and apart from minor texture loading issues in cutscenes the game looks delightful especially with lighting and colours that pop. Players will guide Sackboy across different environments as well from pantries, jungles, swamps, and even futuristic environments. One thing that kept nagging at me though was the fact that a lot of the world’s players go through should have additional effects due to the new DualSense controller coming with the PS5 but unfortunately at this moment I don’t have a review unit to expand on that experience.
However, if there was one aspect of the game that really took me by surprise is how the soundtrack to this game really veers so close to perfection. This is due to how the original tracks mixed for each level are already so good but then once in a while there will be a stage that is more rhythmic than usual due to the licensed music being used. Those stages are without a doubt the best stages in the game and you really cannot help to move along to the beat while playing.
Cause We Are Living In A Material World
In total there are 6 worlds (and some hidden ones) for players to explore in Sackboy: A Big Adventure. Each world is broken into multiple stages with the main objective being collecting enough Dreamer Orbs to face the world boss. In each stage, players will also be given score objectives to fulfil from Gold to Bronze tier that will award cosmetic items and collectibells. Collectibells are currency that can be used in Zom-Zom’s Emporium to buy costumes wholesale or just individual pieces of clothing to dress your Sackboy however you wish to. There are also time trial levels that are short but challenging enough for those looking for a tougher challenge and extra dreamer orbs. Each stage will also grant Sackboy 4 lives in which at the expiration of these 4 lives will require players to restart the level from the beginning. From start to credits players can expect (without completing everything) a general playtime of around 10-12 hours.
Sackboy can run, jump, grab, punch and roll away from danger but he will also be able to utilize some tools for fighting and platforming in his adventures. The Whirltool is like a boomerang and can take out multiple enemies with a single throw, the Clawstring is like a grapple gun to grab distant objects and lastly the Plasma Pumps can let Sackboy hover for a short while and also shoot out plasma blasts.
I found that the platforming to be generally solid with a few frustrating drawbacks. Firstly, I found Sackboy’s desperately needing a sprint button. Secondly, some of the enemy encounters can be a tad frustrating because Sackboy isn’t as responsive as he should be. On the ground it’s still tolerable but when it comes to aerial platforming it can be downright torturous. I restarted the mission Bubble Jeopardy so many times due to how Sackboy just having such limited aerial manoeuvrability and I almost put down the game right there and then but thankfully just got by the skin of my teeth. Due to some camera angles as well the 3D platforming can result in just weird attempts but those were thankfully not a huge problem.
I also wished that the tools that Sackboy can utilize was just added to part of his arsenal instead of only limited to certain stages but that is just wishful thinking on my part. The enemy types that players encounter is sufficiently varied with some clever remixes to provide extra challenge but feel quite by the numbers towards the end. The mini and world bosses provided an adequate challenge but fail to give any memorable moments as well. There were a few fights in the game against Vex that felt too repetitive as well as I know there were new mechanics in each subsequent fight but still did not prevent that feeling of monotony.
What I Liked
- Graphics – In my opinion, the worlds look nice but could have added more interactability.
- Soundtrack – The soundtrack is incredibly good and although for me it just missed the mark slightly it’s going to be the one thing that stays with me from this game.
What I Wished Was Better
- Story & Characters – There was an effort but just felt like there could have been more on both fronts to make it memorable instead of just solid.
- Platforming – It felt fine but there was just something extra missing to really make the whole experience smoother and pain-free. I felt like I was wrestling more with Sackboy rather than the challenge of the game.
Let’s Dance, Put On Your Red Shoes And Dance The Blues
Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a solid effort but even though I was really surprised by the creativity early on it just failed to capitalize on that early momentum. I do think that there is something to build on here and ironically enough hopefully the imaginations of the developers can shine even brighter to really bring Sackboy and his adventures to greater heights. Should you buy this game? For PS4 owners it is a solid title but it isn’t a must-have one. You will get the added benefit of getting the PS5 version for free and I am sure that with the Haptic Feedback the DualSense provides it might even be a transformative experience but I can’t really comment on that.