I’m a big fan of LittleBigPlanet PS Vita; it was my first foray into the franchise and I was as impressed with everything it had to offer. From the exhaustive (and exhausting) supply of user created content to the magical single player mode, I loved almost everything about it. Run Sackboy! Run! is set in the same universe, but rather than being a fully fledged experience it’s a free-to-play endless runner that could very easily have been made in the creation mode of the Vita title. It’s also not a new title, having made its debut last year on mobiles.
If somehow you are blissfully unaware of what an endless runner entails, the objective is to progress through the level as long as you can whilst accumulating the highest score possible. Scrolling from left to right, everything is touch activated to aid your progression – with a tap to jump, a tap/hold to jump higher, and a swipe to dash quickly. These moves are needed to reach higher platforms in the randomly generated levels, avoid obstacles like pink goo and spikes, or simply to evade the Negativtron – an enemy that wants to eat you like a morbid snake/vacuum hybrid probably would.
Along the way you will encounter “bubbles” which serve as the title’s currency and allow you to purchase new costumes and upgrades to the in-game equipment, or even to activate your shield if it’s charged enough. Costumes do not change anything in terms of controls, but they do enhance your multiplier which may result in a higher score (aka; the ultimate objective).
Equipment that you find within the levels will also help in different ways – a magnet (which draws bubbles and stickers to you), a jetpack, and a glider thrown in the differing environments; and able to last longer when upgraded using the in game cash you accumulate.
The game also sets you differing targets (labelled as missions) and you have three in play at any one time. Completion of these will result in you earning a higher level, and effectively increase your multiplier. It’s all very simple, and surprisingly very effective. Each run through never lasts very long, but I still found myself returning for more and chasing those higher-end scores.
It does also help that it’s very catchy and looks quite stunning, it has to be said; there are different environments and it is all crafted using that same LittleBigPlanet style. Developer Firesprite have done a great job recreating the feel from the series, which also extends to 80 collectible stickers themed into 20 sets. Completion of these sets will reward you with additional bubbles, extra life hearts, or even character costumes for use in other LittleBigPlanet titles.
So, it’s free, looks quite pretty, is fun and addictive, and has rewards for other titles. The perfect little title, right? Not quite. The biggest problem with Run Sackboy! Run! is that you soon hit a brick wall with the amount of bubbles and missions you have, and whilst the game is very playable without using actual money to complete all of the trophies and get as far as you can in the game, you will need to grind for a significant period or face spending some cold hard cash. This is typical of most F2P titles, but with only a few basic enemies, levels and content available it soon gets very repetitive – which is a shame, because there is something very likable here. Probably the biggest complement I can give Run Sackboy! Run! is that it makes me want even more LittleBigPlanet action, which isn’t a bad thing in and of itself.
It’s free – so there is no excuse not to get it – and you probably will be hooked and charmed by it; but that hook and charm isn’t going to last very long, at least without frustrating you.