Sackboy: A Big Adventure - Review
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Updated: October 8, 2021
If you are familiar with the LittleBigPlanet series. You probably agree when I say that the game is groundbreaking. But it quite didn’t manage to elevate Sackboy: A Big Adventure to the games like Sonic, Mario, or Crash levels of mascot status.
Those days are gone when creation tools and 2.5D levels that the LittleBigPlanet games are famous for. As you may have guessed already, the game I am talking about in this article is called Sackboy: A Big Adventure, a 3D platformer launching alongside the PlayStation 5.
The adorable 3D model games of Astroboy may have stolen the hearts of a lot of the PlayStation 5 players.
That game didn’t set the gaming enthusiasm of players on fire, but it was interesting to see the undeniably fascinating world of LBP portrayed in full 3D. No doubt that it left the genre fans with an optimistic feeling that it could be a precursor to something much better and more significant one day.
Well, that day has finally come. Sackboy PS5 is that significant thing everyone was hoping for. Sackboy: A Big Adventure review is the first true 3D platformer for media molecules’ handcrafted world. Moreover, the game setup lovingly stitches together the characters who inhabit it. And I am thrilled to mention that it pretty much works out just like you would think it would.
It has a story that I can bet you have already seen before. And the story unfolds precisely the way that you would have seen it evolve. An unassuming hero Sackboy goes on an adventure to save his people and rescue his friends from a tyrannical, crazy monster.
The foes and tasks are seemingly impossible and hard to defeat the Vile Villain. The goal is to save the peaceful crafted village or world from being transformed into a land of nightmare and chaos.
To sum it up, if you have ever played a video game, then you have seen this story in one or more games. It is the same and as old as history goes. The myth portrays the idea of a hero. The hero is weak and damaged, but he knows that he has the potential to become great. So he voluntarily comforts the dragon, that is, in other words, his fears. The hero goes on a journey with the highest possible aim.
He confronts the dragon, gets the gold, and shares it with his community. All the heroic stories hold a mutual message between them: good vs. evil, divine vs. devil from one form or another.
While this setup weaves nicely into the LBP universe and a nice handful of well-performing charismatic characters, keep it from feeling too generic. But still, it would have been an excellent effort to do something a little bit different. Like something a little more unique and patched in. It would match the creativity of everything else. With that said, it would be acceptable to give this game a little bit of excuse.
Another charm of the Sackboy gameplay is its incredible music. That holds its original score, clever remixes, and reworkings of recognizable masterpieces (you might find yourself surprisingly noticing the theme of Madonna’s Material Girl in the heart of an otherwise operatic track), as well as its handful of explicitly music-centered levels.
The end hinted me of similar stages in Rayman Legends, having you jump and fight to the beat of songs like Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk – although, while they are indeed a thrill, these levels not being on rails like Rayman’s makes their use of those songs a little more constant if you’re taking your time to collect everything.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure?
Although most game tasks are easier to complete, some tasks cross the difficulty level along the journey and can be tricker to 100%. That includes finding all the cosmetic items, and you have to complete it without dying, collecting enough points to win a gold medal, and gathering all of the Dreamer Orbs hidden throughout your progress in the game.
The game seems more manageable to play due to the remarkable life and checkpoint systems, I only failed a level once in my first attempt, but I also didn’t win every stage on my first attempt without luck and ease. On some first attempts, I rarely passed the stage. That made Sackboy feel easy to complete while still having everything to fascinate me back for repeat attempts. That means there is a very balanced relationship between challenge and ease as the game progresses.
Later levels and time trials also amp up the difficulty a little bit, but still, it is your own choice to face that challenge. That is generally there if you want it and optional if you don’t.
Instead, what keeps the platforming fun is the 3D model of a BSW and a shake-in thing with every change in a level. Moreover, the player is introduced to new methods and rules. For instance, you might encounter a straightforward platformer at one level, while another will have you herding lovable monsters into a cage. Not only that, you will have to dodge spotlights while jumping from bubbles dangled in the air.
The game also often swaps the camera perspective, so while moving from isometric to side-scrolling to top-down, the game changes the camera perspective according to the need. I enjoyed all the levels, but my favorite levels have you riding a deep-sea treasure trawler. And with a Dreamer Orbs earned by frantically jumping off of it to scavenge gold objects and bring them back to the craft in time.
Some levels will also introduce cool little power-ups, which can alter depending on your move or fight. Levels also include:
- A boomerang.
- A set of hover boots fitted with a laser gun.
- A grappling hook that can be used for swinging.
You might relate with me that the favorite level is more straightforward than all those mentioned above. Though just some yellow gunk that would get on your feet and let you walk on walls, still, it is not so flashy. Some levels utilize these mechanics in a way that sort of help to hide collectibles. Otherwise, you can also choose to change how you communicate with obstacles is very engaging.
None of these superpowers outright fix that hazy, imprecise feeling I got at times. Still, they make stages clever enough that I generally didn’t mind it (apart from some of the more complicated stuff late in the campaign).
I may not mean it negatively, but the structure here really does feel driven by the idea of Super Mario 3D World. Moreover, if you are familiar with Nintendo’s platformer playbook, you can think it is somewhat derivative. And let me get this clear, this isn’t a bad thing. Even if the plot has some similarities, they were more like inspirations to develop a good piece of art.
But when put so directly in combat with a game like that, the spots where Sackboy is up to can’t help but stand out – specifically. The feel and depth of its platforming are what make it one of its kind. It is undoubtedly a fun platformer, but its jumping can be unexpected at times.
For example, when trying to jump on the heads of your enemies or a particular obstacle. The little flutter you can do to stay in the take a long time. In the air after a jump feels about half as long as one can expect. Also, Sackboy lacks additional methods that could offer more distinction to his move set like Mario. No doubt you can extend your jump distance by using a punch and a roll midair, but that is not enough about getting creative with movement options.
Any game that is compatible with multiplayer makes it even better. I prefer playing co-op because playing games with friends is relaxed and fun, but also co-op can make many games “better” without providing much. Likewise, in the Sackboy, these stages were intentionally designed to provide a more enjoyable time with more people.
Still, I prefer playing with friends. For a fun time (and you’ll probably want to play the time suits that way). Moreover, with more players, you can benefit from each stage’s multiple paths full of collectibles. While slowing down and returning your steps to catch them all alone is like fishing alone. Also, make sure that everyone has more exciting stuff to collect when on a team.
With friends, there’s also a bit of competition for who will get the highest score. And, of course, there’s real value in the joy of joining a ride on top of a rolling friend. I do this only to pick them up and, without hesitating to throw them off a cliff for no reason.
Most of the players didn’t like that at launch; Sackboy doesn’t support online co-op. That’s reportedly coming before the end of the year in a free patch. I was able to play online co-op at least using the PS5’s which was a limited but reasonably practical Share Play option.
But it still feels like a significant missing feature for a game this inherently about playing with others. But anyway, I am glad that the local co-op here works excellent because it allows players to drop in or out even mid-level—it also provides each player with an edge of having their inventory of costumes to collect and customize.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure was released in the middle era of the PlayStation 4. The game plays it safe at every turn, and they didn’t make any significant risks because they tried their best to make it smooth without any edges or new ideas.
Unfortunately, Sackboy didn’t even bother to go down to the boundaries of creativity. I presume that they are worried about getting the little sack feet wet. But I am not stating that the Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a bad game, however. I am saying that it does lack an element of creativity and uniqueness.
Speaking apart from that context, it’s a fun 3D model game. Only if repetitive and is covering the young market. There’s not a lot of challenges on the surface. With weak opponents and extra lives handed out every other step, it is hard to beat a game over. However, with that said, rewards for clearing a level without dying, time trials, hidden collectibles, and co-op levels. So, there’s enough chance for you to have your fun.
LittleBigPlanet launched Sackboy: A Big Adventure, a beautiful side project with enchanting sights and scenes. Its level plans are cute and inventive, truly sparkling in the center yet engaging when played alone. Its platforming can incidentally disappoint. It was missing the mark concerning the exactness and subtlety expected to make it stand apart from different games like it genuinely. However, the great vibe that saturates each side of its created world makes it a delight to play.