Console, Gaming, PlayStation, Review

Sackboy: A Big Adventure (PS5) Quick Review: Excellent Platformer You Can Physically Feel

The PlayStation 5, while very impressive, still don’t have games that really take advantage of the next generation console’s range of new features. But Sackboy: A Big Adventure, despite the fact that it’s available on both the PS5 and PS4, feels like it was made for the PS5 – quite literally, actually.

Of course, I’m talking about Sackboy’s clever use of the PS5’s DualSense controller, which offers incredibly refined haptic feedback to further enhance the gaming experience. This, coupled with great level design and music, make Sackboy an absolutely fun platformer.

What It Is

Sackboy is a platformer with some clever twists here and there. Almost every stage has its own unique mechanic, and with five different worlds to explore – with a few hidden areas – you’ve got a lot of stages to play through. The game also has a story campaign of sorts, though it’s not a particularly compelling one.

But the main appeal of Sackboy isn’t the story. Rather, it’s the clever level design and catchy tunes of the game that really elevate this platformer. Let’s get to the good stuff now, shall we?

The Good Stuff

What stood out to me the most throughout my time with Sackboy is its tight controls; a very important feature for any platformer. I can navigate the titular Sackboy around the different stages very efficiently, and if I do fall down a pit or get damaged, it is entirely on me. Never did I feel like I was being held back by the game’s controls, which is (again) great for a platform game.

Speaking of controls, I absolutely love how Sackboy make use of the DualSense’s haptic feedback. Unlike, say, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, this game takes full advantage of the controller’s much more refined haptic feedback than its predecessor. I can physically feel the static of an electrified floor, or even the beats of the background music – no other game has ever given me this level of immersion before.

Naturally, Sackboy also uses the adaptive triggers of the DualSense controller. I can feel the resistance change as I’m pulling on a mechanism, or when I lift up a bomb to be thrown at certain enemies. While the adaptive triggers are not used quite as extensively as the haptic feedback of the DualSense controller, they still positively impact the gaming experience.

I’ve been saying a number of times about how clever Sackboy’s level design is, but that’s how much I like it. Sure, not every single level is fun to play through, but most of them are really quite enjoyable with a fair bit of exploration. In fact, I find myself nodding my head to the music of certain stages. In the interest of preserving the experience for you guys, I won’t go too much into detail, but suffice to say that they’re very good. Heck, I even revisit some of these stages just for the tunes.

Graphically, Sackboy offers a beautifully rendered, charming little world. Every element looks as if it was hand-stitched – especially the texture of Sackboy itself – and it’s just incredibly soothing to look at the overall aesthetics of the game. Well, except for the more eerie stages, of course – those stages make my skin crawl quite a bit, as it should be.

Last but certainly not least is the difficulty of Sackboy, which is quite forgiving. You’re given four lives at the start of every stage, and if you’re damaged twice, you will lose a live and be transported back to the previous checkpoint. If you’re only hit once, your damage threshold will actually be reset when you reach a new checkpoint.

Even if you do lose a live, the game is very generous to give you even more lives from defeating enemies or destroying boxes. Basically, it’s almost as if you have unlimited lives in this game. The game gets even easier (and more fun, of course) in co-op mode: as long as one player is alive, you can proceed through the stage. Reaching a checkpoint will respawn your teammate.

The Bad Stuff

Even though most of the stages in Sackboy are fun, some stages are…well, a chore to get through. Some stage elements are a bit too punishing, and getting through them feel more frustrating than challenging. Thankfully, as I’ve mentioned above, the game gives you a lot of lives, so you can eventually clear the stage, albeit after much frustration.

And then there’s the uninspiring story of Sackboy. Granted, this is not the main focus of the game, but it would’ve been great if it had a more compelling story as an incentive to progress through the game. Sure, the story has its own charms, but I never felt invested in it at all.

Last but certainly not least is the price of Sackboy. Retailing at RM249, it’s quite an expensive game, though this is really the new price standard for PS5 games moving forward.

Is It Worth It?

While Sackboy: A Big Adventure is not a cheap game, it’s an excellent platformer with clever level design and fantastic music; it also showcases new possibilities afforded by the PS5’s DualSense controller. The fact that I can physically feel the different elements of the game with such refined haptic feedback adds another layer of immersion that was never possible until now.

Really, this is something that you absolutely have to feel for yourself. If you own a PS5, and you want a platformer that will entertain you for hours on end, it’s definitely worth it to drop down RM249 for Sackboy. It’s the perfect game to unwind at the end of a busy day – well, unless you don’t fancy platformers.

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