Sackboy: A Big Adventure review: Whimsical platformer is gentle by-the-numbers fun
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The arrival of the PlayStation 5 brings with it the return of beloved PlayStation mascot Sackboy for a new, big adventure, unsurprisingly titled Sackboy: A Big Adventure.
This latest entry in the LittleBigPlanet franchise tweaks the format slightly, going from 3D graphics on a mostly 2D plane to a fully 3D platforming experience.
A Big Adventure sees our fabric-based hero embark on an epic quest to save his fellow Sackfolk and their planet Craftworld from the villain Vex and his plot to use a machine called the Topsy Turver to harness the nightmare energy of the Uproar. So far, so 80s Saturday morning cartoon.
Sackboy returns to save Craftworld
The Uproar can only be dispelled by Dreamer Orbs, which you are tasked with collecting from an array of different lands. Aiding you on your quest is Scarlet, your mysterious advisor who also educates you on the legend of the Knitted Knights, a long line of darned heroes who’ve faced similar threats in the past. The franchise’s British roots are proudly on display, with national treasures Richard E Grant and Dawn French lending their voices to Vex and Scarlet respectively.
The structure of the game is much like many other modern examples of the genre. Levels are accessed via hub worlds, with portions gated off by thresholds of collectibles, in this case, the Dreamer Orbs that are found in the game’s numerous stages. Some are in plain sight, while others require a bit of exploration or puzzle solving to obtain.
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As well as these Orbs, there are the punnily named Collectabells to hoard. This currency can be spent at a shop run by French-accented costumier Zom Zom, who offers an array of outfits and emotes that you can use to customise Sackboy, whether it’s a yak disguise or punk rocker ensemble. This is especially handy if you’re partaking of the 4-player co-op and need to be able to distinguish between different Sackboys.
Each level is full of eye-catching designs and neat little touches
The levels themselves are packed full of personality, and not simply because everything seems to have a face. Environments feature a brilliant array of textures and designs, from the hand drawn 2D characters that pop out from behind buildings to the flora and fauna that populate each area. Even though it’s a cartoonish game, everything has a high level of detail, from the wispy fuzz on Sackboy to the almost photo-realistic sheen on the Collectabells.
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Sackboy: A Big Adventure
Each main stage can be tackled solo, but some portions have clearly been designed to be conquered more quickly with two or more players, and there are also some optional co-op only levels if you have a friend to play with. At the moment, only local co-op is available, with online multiplayer set to be added before the end of the year.
Beyond the main quest, there are also the Knitted Knight Trials, a set of difficult timed challenges that will test your platforming skills against the clock.
The whole thing is set to an incredible soundtrack made up of uplifting pop and feel good ambient music that is a perfect accompaniment to the on-screen action.
Fun for all the family
Sackboy: A Big Adventure isn’t a particularly revolutionary platformer, replicating a structure seen many times in the likes of the latter Rayman titles and so on. But what it does, it does with panache and bags of charm that will appeal to kids and the parents who’ll end up joining them for co-op. The woolly protagonist’s latest outing is something that fans of the franchise – or just platformer lovers in general – will have a great time with.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure is out now on PlayStation 5 for £59.99