The last two months saw me go through various places, take on different roles and foes, and ponder on the possibility and promise that the next generation holds, that I never expected that the next game I will play has a narrative straight out of a children’s story book. It’s not that I consider these games “beneath” me, that’s absurd. But my personal video game library has so far not been as diverse as you would expect a video game reviewer.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a platform game developed by Sumo Digital and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for both the PS4 and the PS5. A simple check in Google will also reveal that this game is a spinoff of the LittleBigPlanet series which means something, O guess. Problem is, I haven’t played a single game in the franchise. But I didn’t fret, because as far as the game was from my list of titles I wanted to play before the year ends, its trailer left me with a pretty good impression.
The game’s visuals and audio draws you into this very colorful fairy-tale world. It’s not a technically complicated title, but it is one that was done pretty well anyway. Sackboy’s run and jump animations show a little of our hero’s personality, with the way he cheers when he clears a level, or letting out a squeal of delight as you are catapulted from one part of the level to the next. I can’t help but smile whenever I clear a level, and that feeling of satisfaction accompanies you for some time afterwards.
It’s not a particularly hard game to play, but I loved the twists and turns of every level. And O guess the huge part of that is due to the feel-good charm of the whole thing. Plus, who wouldn’t like the charming Sackboy?
This is such a feel-good game that I find myself playing it after comitting mass murder in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, or losing one of my operatives in Watch Dogs Legion. It has its way of sucking you in, even with its gameplay, making you feel happy whenever you complete a level, or meet all the requirements for bonuses. I guess we all still have that little kid inside of us. The mechanics aren’t overly complicated, and as a platformer, it’s not as insane as Crash Bandicoot for example. Yet, for all its simplicity, it has a unique charm that mesmerizes you enough that you won’t realize you’ve spent three hours running around collecting pearls.
You pay as the titular Sackboy, going against that dastardly Vex, a near-mythical being born of chaos and fear, who kidnaps Sakboy’s friends and forces them to build his “Topsy Turver”. This device will transform Craftworld (Sackboy’s world) from a fantastical land of pure imagination and innocent dreams into a torrid, barren eyesore of nightmares.
Yep, that’s the story. Sackboy, our hero, the Knitted Knight, will go on a righteous crusade against someone so evil. It’s the stuff that children’s cartoons of my youth were made of and I would have to admit that I love going to that old spot in the deepest recesses of my soul. The story is not deep by any standards, but I don’t think it should be.
While I played this game on the PS4, Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a launch game for the PS5. It speaks volumes that Sony has tapped this as one of the first games for their shiny new console. And while it lacks the narrative depth of Sony’s other exclusives, it’s still a nice addition to anyone’s game library. And since this game isn’t exactly technically demanding, there are few technical issues, if at all. It’s a simple platformer, made for kids or the kid at heart. And it serves as a reminder that the games of the future need not be bleak or in-your-face, or gray. There should be room for the charming and bright in the new generation too.
Like what I usually do in titles like this, I won’t put in a final score for this game. The worth of this game is not measured in numbers but in how much fun it is and how much it will reach into your inner child. That part of you that still gazes in wonder and delight at straightforward stories of good and evil, of going on an adventure and heroic deeds. I guess that’s what I felt after spending a lot of time in the morally gray worlds of Watch Dogs Legion, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, or the super-hero exploits of Miles Morales. I was craving for something simple, something charming, something beautiful.
In closing, Sackboy: A Big Adventure is fun way to spend your time as you wait for the next AAA title to come along. Its charm and its fairy-tale story has won me over, and in my age, I don’t mind the occasional trips to Craftworld. It’s a game for all ages to enjoy.