SACKBOY: A Big Adventure NUGGET REVIEW (STEAM/PC)
Developed: Sumo Digital
Published: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: Oct 27th,2022
*Review copy provided to me by Playstation*
''A Puppet Master''
Sackboy A Big Adventure is a 3D platformer that is developed by Sumo Digital and published by SIE. Originally released on Playstatiion 4 and Playstation 5, the good ol friend of yarn makes his triumphant return to the gaming world on the PC.. or in my case, the Steam Deck. With the success of the previous entries into the franchise with the mainline Little Big Planet titles and the increased success of the mascot named Astro Bot, which actually stole this little guys thunder initially, even from me - Sackboy now aims to bring that charm, creativity and level of ideas that made the mainline series so dang good, and apply it to a 3D platformer. Not an easy task mind you, but its more achievable at the very least than us getting another Killzone at this point. Seriously, Sony, get with it bucko, but back on topic. While it does lack some precision and depth of the mainline, it still comes up strong in other aspects, mainly with having a running narrative story with consequences and a broadened world to learn about and engage with. Comparing it like I did earlier to Astro Bot is sort of a disservice to the game overall if I can correct myself, because if were talking 3D platformers, the next in line, as far as game play goes, should be to compare it to titles like Super Mario 3D World, well.. mainly in design and environment structure. Examples of this are levels, while linear in their creation, are generally open pathed with dioramas of the isometric design for jumping, grabbing items, collecting items such as clothing, racking up a total high score and collecting orbs that you need in order to advance to new worlds, because yes, this is a collectathon of a sort.
The story of Big Adventure is not one like Pee Wee's Big Adventure, no way, were not after a bike, but instead its a basic cute story of Sackboy needing to save Craftworld from an evil being known as Vex, who wants to bring an end of Craftworld with his Nightmares. For the most part, most stages in Sackboy are pretty easy to navigate, at least early on, but as you progress and end up having to use lights to create a path way, dodge spikes and hazards or grapple and swing your way to and from platforms, it gets way more challenging, especially when collecting cosmetic items. Mainly Dream Orbs. These are your main collectible with two or more being findable in every level, either out in open or hidden behind a puzzle. These are needed to advance past the main worlds boss fight and can range from anywhere of needing 30 Dream Orbs and up to 160 plus. Oof. Wish we could be like Day Dreaming Davey and sleep away that grind. Good luck to people getting that reference. On the surface, even though it's not a very hard platformer when comparing it to other things on the market, it doesn't stop it from standing out and being a fun time due to the depth it has to its gameplay and overall platforming, with its yoshi like fluttering, the way the levels are layered out to implement mechanics like using honey to defy gravity and walk on walls or using a beam gun for shooting to swing your way across a crevice or bounce off enemies heads after doing a slick rolling dodge, really fun times. On paper its sounding rather basic, I know, but in motion, other than a few hiccups here and there from skewed camera perspective, the platforming remains smooth and overall refined. Not buttery smooth, but enough to harness your inner Sonic and say ''Aww yeah, this is happenin''.
Creative moves beyond just normal jumping and grabbing as well as it transitions to herding other craft creatures into a little barn area to obtain one of the levels dream orbs, go from 3D standard platforming to side scrolling action and even top down action as you progress through each world with levels having you ride a sea creature or hop along moving conveyer belts while dodging horizonal green lasers and purple ball lasers, all while trying to keep your balance to not fall off. But what would a good ol platformer be without a decent amount of power ups? I mean heck, we just compared it to pudgy belly Mario for crying out loud, well I wasn't yanking your yarn(wait what?), because you do get some cool upgrades in specific levels with items such as a boomerang used to hit enemies or switches at a distance, hover boots that acts like a gun to shoot with, as well as a secondary grapple hook, etc. All are used to uncover secrets behind walls or in hidden areas labeled with a question mark that houses a mini game for Dream Orbs, and the list goes on. The best part? all these levels you take part in, are all available in co-op. Yes that is indeed correct, I'm not pulling the wool over your eyes, we have co-op people, including co-op themed levels that can ONLY be done WITH co-op. But do you guys remember my other reviews? oh yeah. I'm forever alone, I don't have someone to play with right here and in the now, so I wasn't able to check these out, major bummer. I know, I suck. Might as well de-thread my stitches now.
But don't get discouraged if you're a hermit crab loner like me because to make up for lack of being able to do co-op, you have timed trials you can do to earn extra Dream Orbs, these are known as Knitted Knight trials that have you use speed for in order to beat the clock and the higher your score, the more dream orbs you can obtain, very simple. Other than the imaginative level design that makes you feel like a kid in arts and crafts, the music implemented into levels is pretty top notch as well, with some levels being musically themed around beats and melody's with songs like ''Everybody'' by Junior Senior that just makes me think of the dang trailer for Knack or a really good remix of Britney Spear's Toxic that brought out the youngling in me and made it hard for me to resist the urge to NOT to sing along. Which I did of course, I mean come on, duh. I still know that jam by heart. In regards to said music, besides being upbeat and inviting, it does play a key role in levels as well, with beats of music dictating a direction a platform will move or how a platform stomps or an enemy chomps. There's seriously no end to the amount of content presented to you at any given time and its honestly pretty astounding. It makes you think why Sony and Sumo Digital didn't get this idea a long time ago during the height of Sackboys popularity during the PS3 days, but eh, better later than never I suppose.
At the end of the day with creative level design, bombastic music that keeps you tapping your toes, five different and varied worlds to explore, engaging and silly boss fights that have you running on conveyers dodging spikes from the ground, while being pulled towards your death as you race to grab a bomb to throw in your enemies face, side mission time trails that offer new ways to obtain Dream Orbs if the main game is becoming a little too tedious for you with its levels and down to its large abundance of cosmetic collectibles, makes A Big Adventure a real big treat to play. Sure, its far from perfect with sometimes the jumping feeling a bit imperfect at times with its accuracy or its freezing and locking up during boss fights and Knitted Knight trials on the Steam Deck, but not on regular PC, but with the sheer amount of fun it gives you in its 8 hour game play, at a basic level even, makes up for any shortcomings that could be an overall detriment to it otherwise.
So with all that having been said, my verdict is clear, GameNChick says BUY NOW