Review – Sackboy: A Big Adventure

The first time I heard about Sackboy: A Big Adventure, I’m not going to lie, I felt very skeptical. A series known for being a creative tool for players to design their own levels, now ditching its most iconic features in favor of becoming a straightforward 3D platformer like countless others out in the market? Was that going to work? The fact that this game was being developed by Sumo Digital, the people behind Crackdown 3, and the nearly absent promotion before release, didn’t help either. Nevertheless, I was eager to give this one a shot. I love me a good 3D platformer and there’s just no way I can resist the titular Sackboy’s stupidly adorable face. Time to find out if this one is a gem or a dud.


Sackboy is still a gorgeous game if you play it on a PS4.

In Sackboy: A Big Adventure, the main focus isn’t giving the player enough tools for them to start messing around with the world of game development. If that’s what you want, Media Molecule’s Dreams is way more engaging than any other previous game in the LittleBigPlanet series, letting you create pretty much anything. It’s sad, but it’s true: we don’t need LBP anymore. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have new experiences set in the same universe. For the first time in the franchise’s history, the titular Sackboy is the protagonist. And that wasn’t a bad idea.

There’s a story in here and it is as simple and straightforward as you would expect. An evil wizard name Vex invades the peaceful town of Sackland (must… not… make… jokes…), enslaving everyone, and forcing them to build an evil machine. Sackboy is the only one that manages to escape and he now needs to venture through five worlds, with countless levels each, and save his folks from the evildoer. Nothing in here will shock you; this is not a plot in the same level as other Sony exclusives like God of War, The Last of Us or Ghost of Tsushima. However, that’s actually for the best. Unlike pretty much every single other high-profile game released by the company during this entire generation, Sackboy feels way more accessible for all demographics right from the get-go.


He’s so cute, it hurts.

Gameplay-wise, Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a 3D platformer in the same vein as titles like Crash Bandicoot, Super Mario 3D World, and Super Lucky’s Tale. As in, you need to go from point A to point B, while optionally looking for some extra treasure and secrets to unfold. You don’t explore an open-ended level looking for a near infinite amount of macguffins. It really reminded me of the vast amount of more linear Mario games released during the 2010’s albeit with better level design, and one thing that was surely missing in those games: charm. Boy oh boy, this game oozes charm from its pores.

You might not be able to create new levels in Sackboy, but that doesn’t mean that Sumo Digital forgot about the franchise’s creative roots altogether. There are options dress your adorable protagonist up with tons of different outfits, be it a sherpa’s tunic, a punk rocker costume, or a samurai armor. You can either buy entire sets on one of the many stores located in each overworld, or find pieces of clothing, as well as new skins for Sackboy, hidden in each level. It might not be much, but it definitely incentivizes you to pay more attention in each level, exploring as much as possible, because trust me, it doesn’t matter how you decide to dress your Sackboy as, he’ll still look stupidly adorable.


A very relatable screenshot for 2020.

I may have played this game on a Playstation 4, but this is still a gorgeous title that features impressive texture work, lighting effects, and the franchise’s signature distance blur effects. Despite the dated hardware, Sackboy delivers these fantastic visuals with a high resolution and framerate. Just like its predecessors, it retains the franchise’s staple “arts & crafts” style, coupled with high-quality textures that make every single look like the product of a child’s imagination. It also features a vivid soundtrack and some high-quality voicework provided by some noteworthy British actors, such as Richard E. Grant.

There aren’t many issues in Sackboy, but the few that are present in here are actually very noticeable. Even though the overall gameplay is very simple and the controls are very responsive, jumping feels a bit off-putting. You will most certainly notice that whenever you try to jump from enemy to enemy, or from bouncy pad directly to another bouncy pad. It feels very weird at first, but you can eventually get used to it. You’ll just need to be patient.

I haven’t…

The biggest issue, however, is something that I’m sure that’s only present on the PS4 version: loading times. This is a substantially big game in terms of file size, since it uses some heavily detailed textures in each level. Naturally, this takes a toll when it comes to its loading times. I am sure this is not an issue that will be present on the PS5 version, since that console is built around SSD technology. But if you decide to tackle Sackboy on the PS4, be aware that the loading times are annoying and will affect the game’s overall pacing.

Great level design that will please kids and adults alike.

Sackboy isn’t as big or complex as other Sony exclusives, and that’s great. After playing countless of serious and mature titles, a smaller, less serious, and more family friendly platformer is exactly what I wanted from them. A palate cleanser of sorts in order to get ready for the next generation of consoles. It’s not a blockbuster, nor was it meant to be one. This is a carefree experience that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike, proving that Nintendo isn’t the only one capable of delivering quality family-friendly content.


Graphics: 9.0

Sackboy manages to look gorgeous and run at a very high framerate, even on the PS4’s limited and dated hardware.

Gameplay: 7.0

Basic 3D platforming gameplay, with simple controls and an uncontrollable camera. It’s responsive enough, but the jumping feels a bit off-putting.

Sound: 9.0

Just like in previous LittleBigPlanet games, Sackboy features a cheerful soundtrack and some top-notch voice acting coming from talented British actors like Richard E. Grant.

Fun Factor: 7.5

Don’t expect a complex adventure. Sackboy is a laidback platformer that can be enjoyed by kids and adults. Its biggest issue, at least on the PS4 version, is its ridiculously long loading times.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Sackboy: A Big Adventure is available now on PS4 and PS5.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of Sackboy: A Big Adventure was provided by the publisher.