The LittleBigPlanet franchise, which unfurled its stitched-together woolly goodness into the world back in 2009, has always been a creative bit of fun. It was seemingly designed on Santa’s workbench to delight the eyes and ears of young gamers.
But if you’ve always wished for just a bit more game in the game, if you’ve longed to put Sackboy through his paces while pushing the crafting and sharing stuff to the side … then Sackboy: A Big Adventure may just offer the fuzzy platforming joy you’re looking for.
The story rolls out its warm and plushy carpet in the village of Loom, home to the pleasantly stitched together Sack folk and nestled in the anything-goes creative world of Imagisphere. And it weaves together a story that will feel, well, pretty familiar if you’ve ever played any kind of video game designed for kids.
There’s an unassuming hero, named Sackboy, who’s suddenly faced with a calamitous catastrophe. A seemingly all-powerful, vile and villainous bad guy called Vex rips through the sky-blue paper of reality and announces that he’s not only going to kidnap Loom’s sacky residents to make them slaves, but he intends to transform everything into nightmares and chaos.
And he promptly does so. Only your Sackboy is left—thanks to his athletic stuffed and wooly grace—to save his friends and their peaceful land.
Let the platform jumping and baddy-bopping begin.
From there, it’s all about maneuvering through an ever-unspooling and sprawling series of 3D worlds filled with shifting floors and walls and eclectic musical underscores. The levels feel huge yet comfortably cozy and adorably navigable at the same time. You wall-walk here; toss a button-bashing boomerang there; tilt your motion-sensing controller this way and that; dance through rhythm-based musical challenges; grapple over chasms; and leap, jump and tumble onward.
Everything here is made out of colorful canvas, felt, satin, cotton and wool. There are zippers and stitches, rolling balls and twirling buttons everywhere. And it all looks like something a gaggle of kids would cobble together if they had access to a craft store full of great looking bits and pieces. There are baddies and bosses to bop, for sure, but there’s nothing here that approaches the level of scary or intense or nasty. In fact, even the well-voiced villain, Vex, has a certain softness to his weave.
The toughest part of gameplay—especially for younger gamers—could be the timing of the creative platform mechanics. Sackboy’s jumping and fluttering maneuvers can sometimes feel a bit imprecise and difficult to, uh, pin down. And the complicated animations can make those platform leaps tougher to judge for younger eyes and fingers.
That said, the play is always creative and a visual joy to work through. And there are a number of well-acted characters to meet, and platforming, mini-gaming challenges to complete for them.
Up to four gamers can play together locally. That means that other family members can join in, too, if you’ve got enough controllers and the will to get your sacky game on. The leaping, jumping and tumbling levels are never too long or difficult either. They kind of feel like they’re crafted to welcome any level of gamer into the corduroy cartwheeling and orb-collecting campaigns.
In fact, the hardest part of Sackboy’s smile-worthy Big Adventure for me was trying to come up with anything bad to say about it.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.