While it's certainly not the headline grabbing game of the PS5 launch, there's a simple joy to playing A Big Adventure. It's charming, quirky, shows off a decent amount of the PS5 in action and is, most importantly, consistently fun. Sackboy probably isn't going to compete with the likes of Mario or Crash any time soon but his first adventure out into a fully 3D world is one that's definitely worth checking out, especially if you have kids. Hell, even if you don't have any spawn it's still a great time if you're looking for something chilled yet joyful to sink a few hours into.
It always felt like Sony wanted Sackboy to be their modern mascot. Like how Crash Bandicoot represented the PlayStation during the 90s, the little hessian textured man from the excellent LittleBigPlanet was meant to fulfill the same roll for a modern audience. Weird thing is, while that was no doubt the intention behind Sackboy, he never actually had his own game.
Well, it’s good to know that Sony has finally seen the error of their ways. We now have an actual game dedicated solely to the platforming exploits of a sentient bag. That’s probably too disparaging because if we’re honest, we actually really enjoyed Sackboy: A Big Adventure. It has it’s faults but at it’s core it’s a charming game that’s a joy to play if you’re not looking for anything particularly taxing.
As you can expect from a title such as this, A Big Adventure doesn’t exactly do all that much to tell a compelling narrative. Which is okay! Not like a game starring Sackboy needed a bunch of in-depth lore and world-building. The general premise is that Vex, an evil jester (we think), kidnaps and enslaves the inhabitants of Craftworld to build a device to rob the land of all it’s happiness and joy and turn it into a Hellhole. Vex is doing this because… he can? As a villain who is evil for the sake of being evil, he’s actually really fun with a great performance compelling him through the narrative.
Truth be told, it’s a fun little story sold by some oddly compelling performances. Dawn French and Richard E. Grant sound as into it as anyone, giving the whole thing a real “big budget” presentation which you wouldn’t really expect to see alongside major titles like Demon’s Souls and Miles Morales. It’s clearly focused at kids and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it nails it’s tone and should be enjoyed by young and old alike.
Gone are LittleBigPlanet‘s wildly customisable levels and and 2.5D levels, replaced with a 3D platformer and an overhead camera that feels close enough to those original games but also fresh in it’s own way. It doesn’t exactly shake up the formula of the genre but there’s certainly fun to be had in navigating the overworld, unlocking new levels and mini-games and collecting hundreds of… frog eggs? We’re not actually sure what the collectibles are but they make a nice sound when you run over them.
The completionism aspect doesn’t stop there as there’s a load of cool stuff to unlock. Given Sackboy’s heritage, there’s plenty of cool stickers and costumes to unlock. Best part is that those outfits are completely customisable, meaning you can chop and change aesthetics as you please.
While the game does start of eye-rollingly easy (to the point of boredom) you should definitely stick around for some of the later segments. Sure, younglings will enjoy the simple stuff but there’s actually some complexity hidden in A Big Adventure. Optional time trials are tight enough that most can be quite a challenge and there’s a solid spread of mechanics sprinkled in to really change up the gameplay.
Oh, and we have to mention the music. There’s an incredible soundtrack on display here with a mixture of both original and licensed songs to run along to. Levels will often employ some clever design and editing to have Sackboy complete actions in sync with the music being played and it kinda rules? We won’t spoil what songs are included but there are some absolute bangers, trust us.
We haven’t played the PS4 version of Sackboy: A Big Adventure but we’ll confidently stake our claim that the PS5 version is superior. The game looks stunning and given the theme of arts and crafts, there’s a stunning amount of detail on display. Seeing accurate reflections in Sackboy’s eyes is always a treat and having everything run so smoothly at a 4K resolution is more a game changer than you’d expect.
A Big Adventure also makes tremendous use of the new features included with the PS5’s DualSense controller. Having that hyper specific rumble that reflects even the faintest of movements never gets old and the built-in speaker… well, that just plays sounds which isn’t all that new but it’s still pretty cool! The best part is still the haptic feedback which tightens and relaxes whenever Sackboy is grasping a hold of something. Small details that really go the extra mile at making this game feel like a new-gen experience.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure Verdict
While it’s certainly not the headline grabbing game of the PS5 launch, there’s a simple joy to playing A Big Adventure. It’s charming, quirky, shows off a decent amount of the PS5 in action and is, most importantly, consistently fun. Sackboy probably isn’t going to compete with the likes of Mario or Crash any time soon but his first adventure out into a fully 3D world is one that’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you have kids. Hell, even if you don’t have any spawn it’s still a great time if you’re looking for something chilled yet joyful to sink a few hours into.