Sackboy – A Big Adventure is probably the closest thing to an iconic first party release we’re getting with the launch of the new PlayStation and Xbox console. Our PlayStation 5 hadn’t come in yet at the time of this review, but we’re testing the game on a PlayStation 4 Pro just to get an early taste of what to expect.
I really enjoyed MediaMolecule’s LittleBigPlanet games, even though I never did much with the creative side of them – something that eventually evolved to Dreams. The platforming part of those games went through their own evolutionary cycle, and now we have Sackboy – A Big Adventure, a 3D platformer (developed by Sumo Digital) that does away with LittleBigPlanet’s creation suite but gives us some lovely co-op multiplayer action in return.
In his new adventure, Sackboy is the only one to escape capture when Vex (an evil jester) snatches up the other Sack-people in Craftworld. After your escape, you link up with Scarlet, who’s a Sackgirl and ready to help you on your quest to rescue your friends. Her presence also segues into the option to play cooperatively, but the game can still be enjoyed as a single player adventure as well.
In order to unlock boss battles and get past a game world, you’ll need to find so-called Dreamer Orbs – and as was the case in the LittleBigAdventure games there are plenty of collectibles and hidden secrets to find in Sackboy’s new game. Levels can be tackled in multiple ways, and you can even play with up to four players at once, which makes this a lovely family adventure.
Perhaps this, more so than any of the LittleBigPlanet games, is how Sack – A Big Adventure was conceived – a game you can play with the entire family. As a solo adventure the game starts off kind of slow and uninspired, but you forget about all that in a heartbeat when you’re playing together with loved ones or friends. By yourself, Sackboy takes an hour or two to really find its stride in the gameplay sense – until that point, you’ll mostly just marvel at how gorgeously charming it all looks, and I can only imagine things will pop even more on a PS5.
Things become more exciting and complex from a gameplay perspective once you hit the point where you start acquiring new abilities, like the ability to wall-run. Other new abilities that make the gameplay more and more engaging over time are a grappling hook and the ability to briefly hover. It’s at this point where the developers at Sumo really start to embrace the legacy that MediaMolecule left behind with some excellent, challenging and creative level designs. There’s more of that to unlock once you beat the game as well, which is a great incentive to keep playing.
A special mention should go out to the soundtrack, which is full of recognizable tunes and even a few licensed tracks that – in Rayman-style – are featured in levels that are choreographed to the music. Sackboy – A Big Adventure is a joy to look at and listen to, and visually holds up extremely well on the PS4 as well.
If the platforming portion of the LittleBigAdventure games was your favorite part, you’ll have a blast with Sackboy – A Big Adventure. It’s especially great in offline multiplayer, but is also a fine single player adventure despite a bit of a slow start.