Sackboy is too good a character to sit on the sidelines, but for the last six years that’s exactly what the LittleBigPlanet protagonist has done. With creator Media Molecule turning its attention to the outrageously ambitious imagination simulation Dreams, it’s been six long years since we saw the smile of Sony’s only knitted hero. But with the PlayStation 5’s launch, UK developer Sumo Digital has returned to Craftworld – and the results are remarkable.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure takes the emotive icon in an entirely new direction, as this is a pure platformer rather than a do-it-yourself construction kit. In terms of gameplay, it’ll attract comparisons to Super Mario 3D World and Crash Bandicoot, but the thumping heart of the original series remains intact: the eponymous plaything can still pick up gadgets, grab on to sponge, and jump on bounce pads. It’s a brilliant blend of old and new.
Speaking of new, we’re also introduced to a fresh cast of colourful characters, each voiced by some fairly famous faces from the world of British television and theatre. Dawn French is perhaps the biggest name, stepping into a Stephen Fry-shaped hole, and she does a brilliant job of assuming the role of Sackboy’s stately yet silly mentor. Her performance is quite understated, but along with Richard E Grant she steals the show.
Grant plays Vex, who serves as the title’s pantomime villain: a kind of Tim Burton-esque puppet with a sewn together grin who’s trying to enslave all of Craftworld so that they can work on his Topsy Turver. It’s down to you and up to three friends to navigate five worlds – with a little bit more once you’re done – in order to put a stop to his nefarious deeds. These locations span an underwater area, known amusingly as Crablantis, through to a jungle and a sci-fi metropolis.
The title retains the make-do look of the LittleBigPlanet games, meaning there are lots of stickers, cardboard cut-outs, and balls of yarn. The materials are simply stunning: you can see little tufts of frayed thread around the edge of Sackboy’s bonce, while woollen coral reefs appear physically soft to touch on the screen. An incredible depth-of-field effect gives the release a really glossy appearance: it’s almost like you’re watching the most amazing puppet show ever made.
Sackboy has a variety of moves in his arsenal, including the ability to punch, jump, roll, and more. As alluded to earlier, some stages are built around power-ups, like the hookshot from LittleBigPlanet 2 or a pair of futuristic hover-boots. The developer gets a ton of mileage out of these mechanics: there’s a shuriken that you use in one stage to chop down inflatable cactuses, which later becomes a teleportation tool you have to fling in order to avoid obstacles and reach new areas.
It’s this creativity that keeps the title feeling fresh over the course of its 10 to 15 hour running-time, with the studio surprising with almost every stage. There are a few rare occasions where the release feels like it’s relying on a little bit of filler – including one boss fight which is disappointingly recycled – but the vast majority of the time you’ll be forging ahead just to see what the designers have come up with next.
The game does get difficult, and throwing other players into the mix can only add to the challenge. Of course, what you lose in precision platforming you make up for in sheer chaos when playing with friends and family, and the gameplay is just about simple enough that anyone can have fun. We will stress that this is still thoroughly enjoyable in single-player, although there are a handful of co-op levels that can only be tackled by two or more. It’s also a shame online play isn’t available at launch.
It’s the sheer swagger of this release that’s won our heart, though. In one moment you’ll be bounding between bubbles to the motif of Madonna’s Material Girl, while other levels are built entirely around fully licensed songs. When this game was announced, we never would have imagined that it’d have us hopping over laser-beams to the beat of Britney Spears’ Toxic, but it’s not like we’re complaining. At all.
Outside of the core stages, you can navigate each world through interactive hubs, which also harbour stores operated by a fake Frenchman named Zom Zom. It’s here that you can spend all of your precious Collectibells – which you’ll discover in levels – on costumes to personalise your Sackboy. As with previous games in the franchise, there are full-sets ranging from deep-sea divers to mountain climbers, but you can mix-and-match the accessories to create your own unique look.
There are also time trial stages which will really challenge your dexterity, each offering orbs if you can beat the par times. These orbs represent the primary collectible in the campaign, and are hidden everywhere; finding a full-set in each stage rewards you with a sticker, with one of your sub-objectives being to complete an entire album of your discoveries. Effectively, you’re going to be replaying stages multiple times to master them – especially if you want to 100 per cent the adventure.
There’s a lot of love been poured into Sackboy: A Big Adventure, and thus it’s hard not to love it back. This is a brilliant platformer with tons of imaginative ideas and a strong sense of style. The lack of online multiplayer at launch is a bit disappointing, but it’s coming as a free update before the end of the year, so we can forgive the developer that. If you’re looking for something bright and breezy to begin your PS5 journey, then this is a near-flawless romp when it’s at its pomp.
I'm about to start Sackboy, so reading this praise makes me even more excited to play it.
@RBMango Have fun, it's fantastic!
Ooh, I’m liking the look of the cast list, some brilliant names on there. Honestly, my only bugbear is that this is £60. Yes, I know it’s a fully fledged game but that’s just a lot considering Miles Morales is the heavy hitter and that’s cheaper.
I bought several launch titles for the PS5, yet this is the game that I keep on going back to. It’s just such a joy to play.
I'm looking forward to playing this, but Spider-man and Demon's Souls won't stop beckoning me. There are just too many great games to play on my PS5.
What a problem to have.
@Enuo Truly incredible launch lineup. Every single one is a hit!
I'll probably pick this up on a sale and once online coop is implemented. Looks solid!
Richard E. Grant in a LittleBigPlanet game huh
My interest has risen
I mean as long as it isn't Little Big Planet 3, I'm in!
@get2sammyb Could this be Sony's best ever launch line up? Yes some games are cross-gen, but if you take demons souls, spidey, this, and astrobot - Sony have knocked it out the park with each and every one.
And then some of the 3rd parties look to be delivering on top of that, and it's hard not to be excited about the future of this console
This games deserve higher rate
At least we can insure that sony doesn't abandon this franchise
How long to beat?
Really looking forward to this one. I won't be picking it up next week, I've ordered Dirt 5 and Spiderman which will keep me occupied for a while. Ive found in the past if I pick up too many games at once I never really tend to play them properly as I'm constantly flitting between them.
I'll probably request it as a Christmas present
Sackboy is absolute joy, and yes, I think this is Sony's best launch lineup. The PS5 is just an all-around wonderful machine so far. I'm hoping Immortals continues the trend.
This is my most anticipated game on PS5 other than Astro Bot, and I can’t wait to play it with the wife. I do have a question though - in LBP3 (I understand this is not a LBP game) you would need 3 snd 4 players to do certain tasks. Can you do all levels and activities with 2 players on this game, including get all trophies? And do trophies properly pop for both players?
Secondary question / request, can someone please check LBP3 on PS5 for load time improvement. This is the only game in over 3 decades of gaming that I’ve given up on due to horrendous load times (and I had a c64).
Will definitely get this once it's on sale. I'm currently making my way through Miles Morales. The 60fps mode is such a smooth experience. After that I will be diving into demon souls but waiting for my friend in the UK to start that cause he asked me to lol
@Cheems It says in the review. 10 - 15 hours. So a little short I suppose but not too bad for a platformer.
How about the Dualsence ? Is it used as much as Astrobot ?
@Dobbos game is fantastic me and my wife have been playing it nightly since launch it doesn’t use the triggers really but the haptic and the sounds from the controller are fantastic if you really want a showcase of the triggers get cod the right trigger actually jams when you need to reload
@thefourfoldroot Ah the joys of loading 'The Last Ninja' on C64 only for it to crash when you started it...
Reads like a 9.
Only an 8? I'll give it a miss.
I love a good 3d platformer and PS5 is weirdly the place to be for those at the moment. I have this ready for day one and it looks great, my 3 year old likes the look of it too so I got an extra controller for him to play with me
@carlos82 ive not really paid much attention to this one but i think it looks like something me and my kid can get stuck into together. Quite possibly just nudged itself to a day one purchase.
I’m all over this when I get my PS5!
The graphic is indeed very cartoonish and colorful.
But... I want to inspect the trivial things, easter eggs since i don't want to find any nasty easter eggs from Sony 1st party games. 🧐
@Saucymonk Only a 8? Ok whats wrong with a 8 I just wanna know.
@Anti-Matter Oh its you again with the utter nonsense. A toy Kratos the horror. 🤣
This to me is a launch title in a nutshell:. Decent single player, technically superb and a good excuse to grab an extra controller so the kids can join in. It's pretty hard to justify a brand new console if you're only interested in games for yourself!
Microsoft massively dropped the ball on this last gen. There are next to no good co-op family games on the Xbox outside of Lego.
After Astro's Playroom, this shot up as the next PS5 launch game I really want to play. Good to hear it doesn't disappoint.
This again? Your name truly is apt as nothing you complain about actually matters. Nor is any of it actually visible. There will be nothing “nasty” in Sackboy, by any definition of the word.
I really really really really (x 1 BILLION) can't wait to play this!!! I LOVE Sackboy The only(good) problem is i need to play Astro's Playroom first to
I found the nasty easter eggs from Gamespot website just now.
Definitely Sackboy is NOT allowed on my gaming list.
Pardon me for bothering you.
Have a nice day.
There are no “nasty” Easter eggs. You are completely mistaken / lying.
I saw it by my eyes.
They are skin packs from rated 18+ 1st party games.
They are the nasty easter eggs.
You are either a troll or have some serious mental health problems kid! But OK, I’ll bite, show me these “nasty” Sackboy costumes that reveal oh so much sack (you know, more than his initial nakedness). Or are you saying they have demonic symbols on them or something?
I really hope you’re just a subtle troll.
@Anti-Matter well my 3 year old isn't scared of the big bad Sackboy game, sad that you'll miss out because of such nonsense
@Anti-Matter oh dear entitled much
I've got miles morales ultimate ,ac valhalla ,watchdogs legion and demon souls for when my ps5 gets delivered next week ,kinda wish I'd got this now instead of watchdogs.
Take a look.
When i saw this, i immediately changed my mind and definitely not allow Sackboy on my gaming list.
I still have another room for other 3rd party 3D platformer, just matter of time i will find them on PS4 / PS5.
Oh, btw. I'm not a troll here.
I'm 36 years old man.
I'm also on Nintendolife as well.
I asked that question because i was concerning about unwanted contents from that game but now i got the answer.
After this i will not bothering Sackboy again.
Sorry for bothering you.
I didn't mean to start the arguments.
Your words say no, but your image says troll. Clearly there is nothing nasty or 18 rated about those costumes. Case solved.
Although, if crazy enough to think there is, I’ll point out that it is a special edition that includes them, so your faint trolling heart should be safe from those nasties!
Ahhh, The Last Ninja... Now your talking!!
A real classic and another system benchmark game in as much as Demons Souls was in its own way.
For any other fogies like me who loved the music, here's a live performance by the late, great maestro Ben Dalglish with a band called Fastloaders doing a couple of tracks from the game in Camden a few years ago. Wish I'd been there!
RIP Ben Dalglish
Look at the other 3 costumes.
@Anti-Matter Yeah you probably wont be able too handle GI Joe or Eek the Cat either its just ridiculous. Its a puppet with and beard, a ninja and a guy in astronaut costume for a small kid. Yeah i know the franchises that they are from but who cares.
Thanks for replying me. 😀
I got the answer.
I will not bothering that game again.
Sorry if i accidentally started arguments again.
I think I'll get this game with demon's souls and miles when my ps5 arrive. I'm glad the game is good, sony rarely make platformer and suddenly this gen start with 3 great platformer (sackboy, astro playroom, and ratchet ra)
@Anti-Matter. Are you ok .what are you talking about.sackboy is a amazing game and thats what matters word up son
@Rob_230 I think it’s their best launch lineup, yeah. There’s an argument this is their best year as a publisher too!
@get2sammyb dont let those last of us 2 haters catch you saying that 😂 for what its worth, i 100% agree with you
@Cheems Depends on your skill level and how much you want to do. Takes about 10 hours to finish, but runs longer if you want to do all the challenges and find everything.
@Optimusprime706 Thanks, I'm looking forward to trying all things PS5 hopefully this thursday.🙂🙂
I very much like it. However...
1. If Astro’s Playroom was a bit longer, it’d honestly be in contention for greatest 3D platformer of all time. It’s hard to follow up.
2. I’m not a fan of the multiple paths I can’t backtrack and get to unless I restart the level.
3. The health system is a bit more annoying that it needs to be. Do games like this need health at all?
Otherwiss, yes, beautiful and fun.
@Cheems not sure but it’ll show up on here when a few people have completed it...
@get2sammyb Cheers for the write-up, seems like a lot of fun. How does the platinum look?
It's crazy that, unlike with PS4 which took a while for the first party gems to start hitting, we got 4 right at launch on PS5. I'd have to say best day one for a PlayStation system (including the PSP and Vita), ever, but in fairness I was younger, and still more of a Sega and Nintendo guy, when PS1 launched and don't remember that lineup quite as well as the succeeding machines.
Hopefully less about making your own levels and more designed levels to play. Little big planet 4 was rubbish the playable levels where good but there was not many it was all about begin your own levels.
Little big planet 1 was fantastic and 2 was ok.
@Anti-Matter Knew I recognized you from somewhere. You comment on Nintendolife and play Smash Bros, a game filled with characters from "bad" games. Hypocrite much?
I don't even play Smash Bros games. 😕
@get2sammyb did you happen to get a chance to play around with the ps4 copy? Just curious how much of a difference we are looking at between the two versions.
@get2sammyb Isn't this game also available on the Playstation 4?
I haven't played the previous but il get this one if I get my ps5 on Thursday lol
@thefourfoldroot @1_W1NG3D_4NG3L @playstation1995 @Flaming_Kaiser
I've "known" @Anti-Matter from NL for a long time now, and please believe me, he's absolutely genuine with what he says.
I know it's hard to wrap your head around his reasoning as it was for me too at first (and I'm not saying I agree with him), but please understand that he simply has different tastes and needs compared to you, but that doesn't mean you should dismiss him.
After all, it's not like he said anything bad about you or the game 😃
Ok, well, if it’s a developmental thing I feel bad now. Just goes to show how easy it is to presume troll when nonsensical things get said online.99% of the time you’re probably correct, but there are always going to be exceptions outside the general range.
I haven't gotten to the "Toxic" level yet, but I don't think a video game level has ever put a bigger smile on my face than the "Uptown Funk" one. Some serious genius there.
@Flaming_Kaiser I think they're being sarcastic, I saw a bunch of people on the website over the last couple years acting like anything below a 9 was a bad game.
@get2sammyb Ok, but is there a level with a Taylor Swift song? Haha
Sounds really fun! Probably my 2nd game after Miles Morales.
@1_W1NG3D_4NG3L @thefourfoldroot no problem, I didn't wanna be judgmental nor anything because, as I said, at first I thought the same as you, and the first instinctive reaction is to be doubtful and suspect trollery.
I totally get it, I did the same, it's not like I wanna put myself on a pedestal or anything 😅
I just wanted to share my experience so that everyone can have a good time, and I'm glad you both understand 😃
I will definitely be picking this up in the New year, on the PS4, for around £20.
@jbreez00 I hope so thats what i mean some people really seem too think a game below 9 isnt worth playing.
@clvr Everyone has his right too his opinions but yeah it doesnt mean i have too agree. His words make it sound like LBP has some really nasty stuff in it which i dont agree with.
@Flaming_Kaiser who ever said that you have to agree? I specifically said that I don't, for one, so where do you even get that?
It's pretty frustrating replying to you cause you never seem to actually give a damn and read what people says to you. Goddamn.
My point was simply: he's frail, he's got his needs, but he's absolutely not a troll, so please understand that and don't startle him.
It's a matter of behaving humanely, not who's right and who's wrong, for Pete's sake.
@clvr I will watch my tone. Im sorry for the guy and i wish him all the best then.
@Flaming_Kaiser thanks, very appreciated 😃
And sorry for being so pedantic, I just want everyone to have a good time 😃
@clvr Covid is getting people annoyed now understandable in the Netherlands with the unending conversations does not make nicer either. 😅👍
@Flaming_Kaiser yeah I totally get that, everyone's on edge pretty much all the time.
The important thing is being able to understand each other in the end 😃
@RBMango it's a really fun game with am extremely good soundtrack I find. Hope you enjoy it.
Thanks for the honest review! Looking forward to trying this out during a bargain bin sale, or whenever it hits PS+!
This looks great. Anyone got any feedback on how it runs on PS4 Pro?
I share the same opinion as the reviewer. The game reminds me of Super Mario 3D World, and is a ton of fun. Has a bit of that Nintendo magic too! I am really happy with this launch line up as it has something for everyone. Love my PS5!
Not sure how it runs on Pro, but I'd imagine it will look really nice. I have it on PS5 and besides the resolution and lighting effects, it doesn't really scream "next gen" which is fine. It's artistically beautiful. I wouldn't hesitate to buy it, even on a base PS4.
Thanks for the reply. I took the plunge a few days ago when there was a discount code on Ebay U.K. Only managed to play it for a half hour but from what I’ve seen it does indeed look and run great on the Pro 👍
Good to hear! I assumed it would run great on Pro as it's not visually demanding. Take care and be safe over in the UK! - Your friend from America.
Same to you sir. Best wishes.
I just finished it and it is GREAT ! Played with with 2 and sometimes 3 players and it is an absolute blast from start to finish.
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