Sackboy: A Big Adventure (Backlog Review)

Howdy hidey ho!  It’s fine, we know Mario is the master of platforming.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t other competent platformers out there, but they often lack that magic and polish that Mario games accomplish so damned well.  Does Little Bit Planet’s move to capture Super Mario 3D World’s design cues work in Sackboy: A Big Adventure?  Stick around and find out.


GAMEPLAY

…it’s still a lot of fun to play…

And that’s definitely something you’ll notice pretty quickly: the game does, indeed, attempt to mirror that Super Mario 3D World magic.  From the camera angles to the focus on pure platforming right down to the co-op mode which can have up to four players, pretending there’s no core structural resemblance requires blindness.  Since I’m a maidenless chap, I was only able to drag one friend along for a few levels.  Unfortunately, while it captures the overall structure of its muse, it fails in the feel of its moveset.  There’s a decidedly slow and rather heavy feel to Sackboy, one that does not always play well with the levels and can cause you to feel clumsy and unresponsive.  I understand that this is the nature of how Sackboy handled because I played Little Big Planet, but don’t be surprised if you miss some jumps or grabs out of sheer error rather than lack of skill.  That doesn’t stop the one thing that particularly matters in this type of game though: it’s still a lot of fun to play and has its own type of charm.  Levels are just brimming with both silly design choices and oddly endearing, old-school platforming.  Additionally, for those of you that prefer a challenge, the game has that, too: some of the later levels and challenge levels are what put your skills to the test.  Despite the sluggish Sackboy errors you can’t help, you might be surprised at how fun it is to test yourself.  I once again emphasize that it’s not quite Mario fun, but it’s fun nonetheless.


CONTENT

…close enough that finding it on sale is a no-brainer.

On the way to top the not-Bowser, you’ll spend about 8-10 hours getting the credits to roll.  The good news is that they take their muse to town and have an entirely optional endgame area as well.  Add that to the bonus levels and challenge levels, and it’s got plenty of adventuring to do.  If you can shake off the weight of Sackboy’s movements, then you’re in for plenty of platforming… and a shocking amount of cosplay.  And of course, you’ve also got those co-op specific levels that require other players.  So while it’s not quite got itself a full price tag’s worth of content, it’s healthy and close enough that finding it on sale is a no-brainer.


PRESENTATION

I love it when art style and graphics technology combine.

As you might expect, this is a PS4 game that’s been ported and enhanced just a tiny bit for the PS5.  Even with that, it’s a pleasant combination of art styles.  We’re talking cardboard, fabrics, and whatever else you can imagine up.  Without feeling like it’s copying particularly any one thing, it combines it all in a way that takes advantage of the hardware to bring its vision to life.  I love it when art style and graphics technology combine.  And while it could have used ray tracing in its PS5 version, I never found myself complaining because there’s very minor flaws in the presentation.  That, and I don’t think I even detected a single bit of framerate drops, likely the benefit of this being a PS4 game at its core running on the PS5.  The world lore and story are token simplistic, though, and I do want to note some references require a core understanding of Little Big Planet.  Otherwise, there’s not much to shock you about the story: good guy go after bad guy seeking domination, but without a spiky shell.  It COULD use slightly higher budget voice actors, though, as some voice acting just felt a bit inexperienced.  Not that people shouldn’t be given a chance, but some lines are delivered a bit awkwardly.


CONCLUSION

…finding it on sale is a win for platformer lovers.

Okay, so it can’t quite answer to Mario.  That’s because it falters in the one thing that sets Mario games apart: the sheer feel and responsiveness of movement.  But even without that, this game manages to give Sackboy a real workout through fun levels and creative ideas that translate right into its presentational values.  It looks good, it runs well, it’s fun, and while it still comes along a bit short overall as a full-priced game, finding it on a sale is a win for platformer lovers.  Its typical bad guy story could have used better voice actors, though.  All-in-all, it’s still a polished experience, even if Sackboy has a long way to go to ever compete with the master of platformers.

I give Sackboy: A Big Adventure

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2 thoughts on “Sackboy: A Big Adventure (Backlog Review)

  1. It is an absolute shame, that the new sackboy game no longer features the ‘create’ and ‘share’.
    When we see what could be done on a ps3 system with only 450MB of memory, and 0.25 Tflops of power… the millions of levels, from crap to amazing, and the thousands of pro levels as good as, or even better than the devs ones…
    … when we see the crazy stuff, the AI, the micro chips, that users were able to create,
    I literally dreamed of a LBP game, where fans would have +10 Tflops of power, and over 10GB of memory, to create their levels. I imagined there would even be an audio editor, where users could even record their sound effects, create their tunes, and even record themselves, a friend, a brother or sister, and use those dialogs directly in the game, in order to create a real complete story…
    I imagined there would be a tool where users could easily create a character, animate it, make it jump, run, shoot, etc… after a while, the community would have created thousands of amazing enemies, bosses, cute characters, npcs, etc.
    Another tool would allow users to create textures, shades, and even import textures, photos, etc.
    Another tool would allow users to easily create polygons or text, apply effects, textures, etc.
    Another tool wound allow users to create their own tools, weapons, tools, like a rope, a ladder, etc.
    Yes, another tool would allow users to create chips, AI, paths, etc.
    Finally, a new feature would bring counters, health bars, etc, absolutely necessary to create a rpg game… a shoot’them up, etc.
    Yes, with 10 Tflops of power, +10GB of memory, ultra fast ssd to load 5GB of data per second, 8 fast cpu cores, and a ton of tools and features, the community would create thousands of masterpieces in no time….rpgs… platforms a la Rayman….cool family games, etc etc.
    All they needed, basically, was copy/paste the create/share code from the previous games, update it to the ps5… and voilà.

    But NO. Sony don’t want gamers to buy a $59 game, and keep playing it for months, if not years. Instead, they want gamers to buy games like gt7, where they will spend hundreds and hundreds of bucks, on extra cars…. or fortnite skins…. or diabo loot boxes, etc etc
    The era when Sony would invest in casual games, family games, or brand new genres, like heavy rain…is over.
    Today, it’s all about monetization, games as a service, and more monetization.
    Little big planet 5…. could have been a true marvel. Media molecule wasted at least 7 years, on Dreams…. (lol..does anyone even remember that game even exists…)… if only they had invested all that time and resources on a lbp game for the ps5… they would have sold at least 7 to 10 million copies. And by selling skins, and other assets packs, they would have a true gold mine, that they could monetize and exploit, until the ps6 comes out.

    So sad….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The thing is, you’re right: they stripped the creative tools to try and spin it off entirely into its own game. Dreams did demonstrate they are quite capable of making content creation gaming tools, but I agree the tools were probably better off staying with the franchise.

      However, at the same time, if it DID stay with the franchise, the tools are restricted to LBP assets. Dreams allows making all kinds of non-LBP stuff, so I think part of their plan was to expand the tools.

      Naturally, they hoped to make money off this, but it might not have quite paid off, at least from an optical standpoint (I don’t know if they made money or not, or even met sales targets).

      EDIT: Typo

      Like

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