Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 spin-off title from the immensely popular LittleBigPlanet series from Sony Interactive Entertainment. With Sackboy now delving into the world of 3D platformers, courtesy of developer Sumo Digital, how does the game hold up to something like Super Mario 3D World, a game with which it shares a very similar gameplay style?

While Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls have been hogging the limelight when it comes to first party PS5 launch titles, Sackboy: A Big Adventure has flown under the radar as an absolutely stellar, underrated 3D platformer and actually sits as my favourite PlayStation 5 game thus far, despite my great love for both formerly mentioned titles. Sumo Digital have created an experience up there with Nintendo’s best 3D Mario titles in a genre which Sony had largely forgotten about since the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro days.

The game sends Sackboy off on an adventure to save the world inhabited by his sack friends from Vex, a villain who wishes to wreak havoc among the sackverse. Sackboy features five main worlds plus one bonus world, each with a healthy number of courses. In traditional 3D platformer fashion, each world also holds a few secret and bonus levels for you to enjoy at your leisure. The game also offers some time trial/speedrun type levels which are quite challenging, particularly the later ones.

Every aspect of the game is incredibly strong: from gameplay, to world design, to music and sound; truly, it is hard to make any criticism of Sackboy: A Big Adventure. Every single stage in this game feels unique, with its own set of gameplay mechanics, all the while oozing with the same charm and fun that the game is packed with. The design team at Sumo have done exquisitely; everything in the game feels like it is made of wool, similar to something like Yoshi’s Wooly World and the visual style is an absolute treat, with perfect execution. Every level feels like it is adorned with its own set of superbly designed enemies and scenery, while still fitting into the overall theme of the world. The stages are quite short, however, the beauty of the world and clever hiding of optional collectibles and costume pieces means that you’ll want to explore every nook and cranny along the way. Even if you are not a collect-a-holic, you’ll likely find yourself enjoying the stages of Sackboy so much that you’ll want to go back and replay courses just to ensure you 100% each of them: they are that fun!

Character customisation was always a central focus of the LittleBigPlanet series and Sackboy: A Big Adventure is no different. Throughout the game, you will be able to unlock new costumes by finding hidden cosmetics throughout each level. You will also be able to collect golden bells scattered through courses and in special bell collecting mini-game levels, which can be spent at the wonderful Zom Zom’s costume store, allowing to unlock some amazing outfits for Sackboy. By the end of the game you should be positively swimming in outfits and so I have no doubt that you’ll have no problem finding something to suit your own particular style on your travels through the game!

Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a fantastic game for co-operative play, allowing up to four players to play together in every single level. This applies to both offline and online play, which has now joined the game via a post-launch patch. The online play works flawlessly and is a fantastic way to have fun with your friends who you cannot play with in person due to COVID-19, but the couch co-op works equally well if you want to play with siblings, kids, your significant other, or perhaps another family member. This is, in my opinion, one of the best co-op games on the PlayStation platform and is an absolute must-play if you are a parent with kids who enjoy platformer titles.

The characters in Sackboy: A Big Adventure are yet another strength of the game; everyone you will meet is positively radiating charm and charisma, with a top-class, brilliantly British voice cast being employed to perfection in traditional LittleBigPlanet style. You’d be surprised at the amount of depth present in the personalities of the side characters of the game and although I don’t want to spoil anything, some of them are absolutely bonkers in a side-splittingly hilarious way. The voice acting is second to none and really adds to the presentation of the game, making this feel like a truly AAA 3D platformer title; something seen extremely rarely outside of Nintendo consoles.

Without a doubt, my favourite aspect of the game is the music levels. Some stages in the game are specifically crafted around a famous song, from Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk, to David Bowie’s Let’s Dance. These levels are some of the best experiences I have ever had in gaming, with all of the enemies and dynamic elements of the levels moving in rhythm with the music, sound effects and set pieces are timed alongside the beats of the song and each experience is special from start to finish. Sumo Digital have given me such fond times with these addictive, mind-blowing stages and I will continue to play these ones again and again and again. The game is almost worth playing just for these levels alone, never mind everything else which is great about this title.

Sackboy: A Big Adventure is visually beautiful on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, running at an impressive 60FPS on both generations. I have primarily played on PS5 and the level of detail in textures is exceptional, with a crisp, sharp image and buttery smooth gameplay. Activity cards are also used to excellent effect, allowing you to rapidly jump into any level, with extremely minimal load times. The DualSense haptics are also employed well in the game; one example being different surfaces feeling different to walk upon via the haptic feedback. Overall, I think you’ll have an amazing time playing the game on either console, but the PS5 version does deliver noticeable enhancements for owners of the console to enjoy.

Sumo Digital have delivered an extremely underrated 3D platforming masterpiece on PS4 and PS5, worthy of sitting alongside the best of the best in the genre. Sackboy: A Big Adventure is massively flying under the radar, however, I deeply urge you to give it a shot if you want a beautiful, highly polished experience, full of fun, oozing charm and offering a brilliant co-operative experience both online and offline.

DISCLAIMER: This review was carried out primarily on PlayStation 5, with review code kindly provided by the publisher, Sony Interactive Entertainment.