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Sackboy: A Grand Adventure (for PC) Review

It’s easy to forget that Sony occasionally produces platforms due to the press it receives for explosive action-adventure titles (Horizon Forbidden West, Uncharted) and sad father simulators (God of War, The Last). of Us: Part I). Originally released alongside the Playstation 5, Sackboy: A Big Adventure is quietly making its way to the PC with widescreen support, high frame rates and Nvidia Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) . It was one of the strongest and most underrated PS5 launch titles, and the $59.99 PC game is still just as fun nearly two years later.

Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a fantastical 3D platformer that’s packed with just about everything you’d expect from the genre: simple controls, chaotic multiplayer, creative level design, gorgeous visuals, and an outrageously catchy soundtrack filled with radio hits. In many ways, the game feels like a fully realized version of Astro’s Rec Room, and while it’s not quite as nostalgic as this PS5 pack-in, it all comes together in one delightful package that will hook you from the start to finish. Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a must-have title for avid platformer PC gamers, easily winning our Editors’ Choice award.

(Credit: Sony Interactive)

Cut from the same fabric

Over the years, it’s become clear that Sony doesn’t quite know what to do with its little burlap sack of a mascot. Appearing as the humble avatar of the LittleBigPlanet series, Sackboy has remained largely inactive since 2014. Instead of letting the character languish, however, developer Sumo Digital stepped away from LittleBigPlanet’s creative sandbox to create a game tight platformer that only focuses on the action.

It’s fair trade, as the gameplay itself is extremely good. Platforming veterans will notice that Sackboy draws a lot of inspiration from Super Mario 3D World, and while it’s spinoff, borrowing from the best isn’t a bad thing. The camera is static at all levels, so you explore the terrain from an isometric vantage point (although it occasionally moves overhead or to a traditional side-scrolling vantage point).

To progress, you must collect Dreamer Orbs, mythical balls of creative energy, to stop the dastardly Vex from enslaving the bag people and turning Craftworld into a nightmare. A tall order, but Sackboy keeps it simple, providing you with all your basic platforming needs: you can jump, roll, kick and grab, and after completing a level you’re free to explore a simple world that contains many secrets.

Sackboy controls very well, but he could benefit from a sprint button – his movement feels a little slow. Ditto for his jump, which includes a Yoshi-like flutter that isn’t as useful as it should be. That’s not to say the controls are bad; I just wish Sackboy moved faster.

Sackboy a great adventure

(Credit: Sony Interactive)

What makes Sackboy’s Adventure work isn’t its plot or its controls, it’s the inspired level design and art direction. Craftworld is made up of a lot of things, and each level cleverly stitches together real-world items with the fantastical to give the environments a handcrafted feel, reminiscent of LittleBigPlanet’s DIY origins. This goes double for Sackboy too, as you’re free to deck him out in a wide variety of outfits, including some from The Last of Us, Ratchet and Clank, and Uncharted. Levels are littered with secrets, alternate paths, and tons of Collectabells to collect.

Across the game’s five themed worlds, you’ll find dozens of visually distinct levels, each with their own challenges and gadgets. Variety is the spice of life, and Sackboy has a spice rack full. In one level, you bounce to the rhythm of “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie. In the next, you use jellyfish to materialize an invisible path. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed such creative level design since Rayman Legends or It Takes Two. If you want even more of a challenge, unearth the Knitted Knight Time Trials hidden throughout the game.

While the levels are endlessly creative, the boss battles don’t fare as well. They’re not bad, but they’re not necessarily as unique or fun as the levels leading up to them.

Sackboy Cooperative

(Credit: Sony Interactive)

Make it a party

Rest assured, you don’t need to venture through the levels alone. Sackboy: A Big Adventure supports online and local co-op with up to three other players. However, you must use an Epic Login for online multiplayer, whether you purchase the game from the Epic Game Store or Steam. No crossplay exists between the PS5 and PS4 versions of the game.

Levels are designed with co-op in mind, so while you’re battling for the top spot on the scoreboard, working together will still clear the objective, but you’re free to slap and grab your companions as you see fit. There are even some levels that are designed exclusively for co-op and can’t be accessed without a friend.

Unfortunately, my online experience has been a bit quiet. Despite hosting for most of my game, I was only able to find four concurrent players a handful of times. A bummer, but at least there’s local co-op, a feature that’s becoming increasingly rare these days.

Sackboy Outfits

((Credit: Sony Interactive))

What’s new in Sackboy: A Grand Adventure?

The differences between the PC and PS5 versions of Sackboy are minor, but they’re mostly improvements. The PC version supports variable refresh rates (VRR), the ability to increase the frame rate to 120 (as long as you have the appropriate gaming monitor), and widescreen support. If your gaming rig has an Nvidia GeForce RTX GPU, you can enable Nvidia DLSS.

DLSS lowers the resolution of the game and uses state-of-the-art temporal algorithms to increase frame rates and improve the picture. The result? An almost identical image at native resolution, a useful technique for people without the latest graphics cards. Sackboy does not support AMD Fidelity FX Super Resolution 2 (FSR2), which is a glaring omission since the technology was available for Uncharted: The Legacy Collection.

Many Sackboy mascot outfits, added over the years since the original launch, are available at the start of the game. If players have a PlayStation Network account, they can link their account to unlock a PC-exclusive skin. And if you have a DualSense controller, you can use it to take advantage of haptic feedback and dynamic trigger effects. As a PC game, Sackboy also supports keyboard and mouse.

sackboy close up

((Credit: Sony Interactive))

Can your PC run Sackboy: A Big Adventure?

For Sackboy: A Big Adventure to work on your computer, Sony recommends a PC with at least an AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or Intel Core i7-4770K processor, AMD Radeon RX580 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, 12 GB of RAM, 60 GB of SSD space and Windows 10 operating system. To run the game at 4K/60fps, your gaming PC needs at least AMD Ryzen 9 3950X (16 cores) or Intel i9-9900k (8 cores), AMD RX 6800 XT (16GB) or Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 (10GB) GPU and 16GB RAM.

My testbed, which packs an Intel Core i7-10700K processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, and 16GB of DDR4 RAM, ran Sackboy at 60fps (at 1440p resolution and very high settings). Objects in the game world felt like real materials, whether it was the scuffed wood of a desk drawer, a piece of string hanging between platforms, the yarn that makes up grass, or frayed seams on Sackboy himself. These flourishes, minor as they are, only add to the lived-in nature of Craftworld.

To achieve 120 fps, I dropped the settings to Medium. While I appreciated the extra frames, the reduced visual clarity hurts more than expected. However, it should be noted that there was a noticeable stutter at the start of the levels. Once it passes, the game runs smoothly.

Sackboy supports game controllers, as well as Steam Achievements, Steam Cloud, and Steam Deck.

A point above the rest

Sackboy: A Big Adventure might not be the sequel LittleBigPlanet fans have been asking for, but don’t let that stop you from playing one of the best platformers of recent years. The game has a creative energy that few platforms match, making it an essential hop-and-bop title for all ages. It’s another PlayStation hit successfully ported to PC, and we hope it gets the recognition it deserves, starting with our Editors’ Choice award.

For more PC game reviews and previews, check out PCMag’s Steam Curator page(Opens in a new window). And for an in-depth discussion on video games, visit PCMag’s Pop-Off YouTube channel.(Opens in a new window).

Sackboy: A Big Adventure (for PC)

The essential

With gorgeous graphics and wildly inventive scenes, Sackboy: A Big Adventure is an underrated gem of a game that’s made even better by a wonderful PC port.

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