Sackboy: A Big Adventure review-in-progress: "Hard to think of a game that has delivered so much joy"

Sackboy has never looked better, and never been more deserving of his iconic PlayStation status. Sumo Digital has given us a perfect platformer along with a cornucopia of different themed worlds to explore, from mountain tops to the ocean and beyond. When you're not using sticky goop to navigate carpet walls or a boomerang style weapon to kill enemies and collect items, you'll be obsessing over collecting new items to personalize your yarn buddy in Sackboy: A Big Adventure. I like the tiger or the yak, but you can mix and match to create your very own punk witch butterfly. It's like waking up and finding a magic toy box in the middle of your room, packed full of charm and pure, distilled happiness.

Sack it to 'em

Sackboy: A Big Adventure

(Image credit: Sony)

Sackboy is on a mission to foil the villain Vex, who has corrupted Craftworld and is your classic bad guy. Unquestionably nefarious, but not so terrifying as to give the smaller sackcloth fans nightmares. You'll get help along the way from the occasionally blunt, always supportive Scarlet, and meet a cast of strange characters along the way. A mother monkey who needs your help rounding up her children, shouting at you not to bruise her bananas. To save the day you jump, roll and climb your way through different planets, divided into short and sweet levels, grabbing armfuls of collectibles along the way. Each level is a riot of illustrations, colors, and secrets, and you'll want to explore just to see as much of it as you can. 

Spend that time and you'll be rewarded with secret levels on the world map, mini-games where you can collect more bells to build your wardrobe of outfits, challenges like feeding spicy chilis to strange monsters, and timed trials with their own leaderboard. There's so much to do.

Just because it has a crafty theme, doesn't mean that Sackboy: A Big Adventure isn't an absolute stunner on PS5. The textures and colors on display are enough eye candy to give you cavities, from the fuzz on Sackboy's fabric skin to the glittering, confetti-filled water. The scrapbooking world created by Media Molecule for Little Big Planet is lovingly updated here, and you'll see every tuft of fur on a tiger costume, every bump on a leather surface, every crinkle on a cardboard banana. 

Music to my ears

Sackboy: A Big Adventure

(Image credit: Sony)

No sense is left out either, the music is a crazy mix of familiar tunes with a new Sackboy spin, pop melodies that you'll be humming for days, and maybe I'm just a big old nerd, but I'm sure one level featured the Futurama theme? Even better, in Soaring Summit, the first land you explore, there's a level where everything moves in time to the beat of a very familiar song, and you'll find yourself jumping and running with the beat as your guide. Something tells me, this isn't the only level you'll find that uses this ingenious trick either. Sumo Digital has spared no expense on the voice actors for its cast of odd characters too: your kindly guide Scarlet is voiced by famous comedienne Dawn French, while Vex gets his villain's vocal cords from Withnail and I's Richard E Grant. 

The sounds that pop out of your Dualsense controller - the scream of a small creature falling to its death from a platform has never sounded better - is perfectly matched to the new haptic feedback capabilities of the PS5, which just makes the world feel more real, like you could reach in a tickle every fuzzy little monster that rushes into your path. 

Early verdict

Sackboy: A Big Adventure

(Image credit: Sony)

I've only spent a day with Sackboy so far, and it's hard to think of a game that has delivered so much joy in such a short time. The platforming strikes that perfect balance between challenging and fun, using all sorts of ingenious tricks - motion control platforms, grappling hooks, herding small creatures, planting seeds - to keep things fresh. This is bumping up to the top of my PS5 must-play list alongside Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and it's hard to imagine how it could ruin it, beyond Sackboy suddenly declaring he's a Trump supporter. Keep an eye out for our full review once we've spent more time as a sweet little sackcloth boy in a tiger costume. 

Sackboy: A Big Adventure will be released on PS5 on November 12, and November 19 in the UK. It's also available on PS4. Online multiplayer will be added later this year, but offline co-op is available at launch. 

Rachel Weber
Managing Editor, US

Rachel Weber is the US Managing Editor of GamesRadar+ and lives in Brooklyn, New York. She joined GamesRadar+ in 2017, revitalizing the news coverage and building new processes and strategies for the US team.