Face thrilling, unpredictable challenges as you explore distinctive hand-crafted lands through deeply immersive and expressive controls. Go solo in an epic race against time stuffed with danger and peril — or create teams of two to four adventurers for fun-packed party play as you work together to overcome nefarious tasks however you can imagine. Can you save Craftworld from the dastardly Vex and his nightmarish Topsy Turver device… and become the Knitted Knight of legend?
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Reviewed on: PS5
Also available for: PS4
Cast: Dawn French, Richard E. Grant, Eve Karpf, Lewis Macleod, Rupert Degas, Simon Greenall, Susannah Fielding, Darin Nargada, Leo Hart, Dexter Norbury-Bell, Elliot Cundy
Developer: Sumo Digital
Development Director: Gary Moore
Design Directors: Ned Waterhouse, Jack Houghton
Technical Directors: Craig Wright, James Graves
Art Director: Joel Smith
Audio Director: Jay Waters
It can’t be a new console launch without a brand new 3D platformer. For the PS5 (although also available on PS4) Sumo Digital have cooked up a new Sackboy adventure, the first since LittleBigPlanet 3 released in 2014. However, this is a straightforward 3D platformer more in-line with a Mario game. The franchise has officially ditched the player-creation tools and level creation that the LittleBigPlanet franchise is known for. Some may find the decision disappointing, but Media Molecule (the creators of LBP) are giving you more than enough creative freedom inside Dreams. Alongside Astro Bot, PlayStation now has two adorable and platforming mascots back in their portfolio. And between these two games, the launch of the PS5 has felt more like a PlayStation celebration. We may have had Knack to launch the PS4, but that game never delivered the mascot-action fans where seeking.
An evil mastermind named Vex is attempting to destroy and steal away the creativity of all worlds. You play as Sackboy and must traverse five worlds and over 50 levels to put a stop to Vex’s evil mission before the all of Craftworld is forever wiped-away.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure keeps the overall creative and dreamer aesthetic of the LBP franchise, even if it has lost the user-created content. Each level Sackboy visits is built upon tangible things and everything in the game gives that aura of realism you get watching Toy Story or playing Yoshi’s Crafted World. That said, the levels do get a bit more fantastical than the franchises mentioned above. Although you start in a sunny environment that could have been a highly detailed diorama, later worlds take you to bayou swamps, and future-inspired towers run by rogue AI.
One complaint that stuck with LittleBigPlanet throughout its three games was that Sackboy was a bit too floaty. In Sackboy: A Big Adventure, the sack-character has kept that similar feeling, even if it has been tightened up somewhat. There’s no double-jump here, but Sackboy can hover for a second in the air. You can perform rolls and dive rolls, however, which when strung together add a speed to the usually dawdling nature of Sackboy. In the game’s most challenging levels towards the end of the campaign, the lack of a double-jump can become a frustrating exclusion. It’s significantly more noticeable and annoying if the last 3D platformer you’d played this year — like I had — was Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time.
In combination with the PS5’s activity cards, the level design of Sackboy: A Big Adventure is designed for quick pick-up-and-play. There’s no lengthy levels or even frustratingly tricky roadblocks. Each level lasts at most 10 minutes and if you’re not seeking out the collectables that reward you with new costume pieces, you can fly through them in minutes.
For the completionists, there’s a nice mix of goals on-deck. Every level has three-to-five secret ‘Dreamer Orbs’ to find, and there’s a handful of costume-bubbles that reward you with new costume pieces. There are also rewards for collecting enough prize-bubbles to achieve a bronze, silver or gold ranking in each level. Each level also has an objective for completing it without dying. You don’t have to do all of those things in one playthrough.