When a franchise stakes its claim on user-generated content, it must fight to stay relevant in the ever-flowing rapids of the gaming industry. Little Big Planet was a big risk for Media Molecule, but it paid off tremendously well. For a generation, Sackboy was the face anyone thought of when they thought of PlayStation. Games kept coming, and coming, and then fans lost interest. Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a brand new 3D platformer by Sumo Digital setting out to recapture the minds and hearts of players everywhere. Can Sackboy stand on his own to feet?
The Sackfolk of Craft World live a very peaceful and honest life. When a deadly force of chaos plots to bring chaos to the imagisphere, he chooses to enslave them as a force to build his deadly machines. Sackboy, and his three other debatably canon buddies, have escaped his grasp. They must collect enough dreamer orbs to restore safety in the dreams of the imagisphere.
Sackboy is a rather simplistic 3D platformer. The player will be running, jumping, rolling, and taking on enemies to reach the end of a level. Having too few dreamer orbs will gate your progression, so it’s important to constantly be on the lookout for them in every stage. You’ll come across a few power-ups along your adventure, but they were nothing too special.
Taking after the greatest of the genre, each level has an individual gimmick it experiments with. While Sackboy’s basic mechanics, and the incentive to gather dreamer orbs, never change, each and every level gives the player new concepts to cut their teeth into. I’ve played many good 3D platformers, but the level structure of Sackboy: A Big Adventure is something only great 3D Platformers can accomplish. The biggest fault is how similar every main boss fight is. Given that Vex is supposed to be a one-trick-pony, I’m not sure I can be too angry.
Sackboy is an incredibly lively game. Each model and texture feels as if I was looking at a true image taken with a phone. Sumo Digital did a brilliant job capturing the look of what a child could make with their imagination and some free time. Many games have gone for this style, but few have succeeded as well as Sackboy.
Most platformers today feel shallow and leave you wanting more. Sackboy: A Big Adventure is no appetizer. You have dozens of levels, many great challenges, hundreds of customization items to unlock, and a four-player structure that will make your journey even better. I am in love with Sackboy: A Big Adventure. While I want this series to continue, I’d much rather this serve as a stepping stone for the entire industry to hone in on what makes a 3D platformer special.