Title: Run Sackboy Run
Developer: Firesprite, SCE San Diego Studios
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 270 MB
NA Availability: Digital Download
EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: No
Endless Runners are a breed of games that spawned with the Mobile generation. Games like Temple Run turned into a big genre in the gaming world and a lot of different franchises have jumped in on the trend. Some famous franchises have made acclaimed and competent runners, such as Sonic Dash and Pac Man Dash. Not all big franchises have jumped in on the mix, but some have.
Aside from Mobile, runners have been coming to consoles as well, particularly handhelds like the PS Vita. I have reviewed a few endless runners in my time working on this site. Race the Sun and Run like Hell are both runners, though function in different ways. More franchises are jumping in on the mix as well, including PlayStation-specific franchises.
With that, I am now bringing you a review of a PlayStation franchise endless runner. This game first released on the Android and iOS Mobile platforms, but now has come to the Vita. Free-to-Play and having unlockable content for PlayStation games, here is my official review of Run Sackboy Run!
The story of Run Sackboy Run is very minimal. In the game, you’re running away from Negativitron, an antagonist from LittleBigPlanet 2, collecting bubbles, stickers, and costumes along the way. Outside of this, there isn’t a story to this runner, but just the enjoyment of running through LittleBigPlanet environments and collecting items.
Run Sackboy Run is a side-scrolling endless runner with RPG elements. As you play through the game, you will be guiding sackboy across many different LittleBigPlanet worlds while running away from Negativitron. As you do this, you’ll be avoiding hazardous spikes, goo, and traps as well as collecting bubbles, power-ups, stickers, and other items that are laid out for you.
The goal of the game is to go on a run and go as far as you can to collect as much as you can without getting hit by an enemy or trap to die and end your run. Your main goal is to collect bubbles and stickers as bubbles are the game’s currency and stickers can be used to unlock prizes for this game as well as costumes for LittleBigPlanet 3 on PS3/PS4.
Once you get finished with a run, you can use the bubbles you have collected in the in-game shop. The Shop has sections to spend bubbles and areas to spend real money. You can spend bubbles on new costumes/characters, upgrades for the in-game power-ups, and Lucky Chests to get items and currency like Avalon Coins used for one of the unlockable costumes in the game.
The other section of the shop is where the game tempts you to spend real money on enhancements. These enhancements include Save-Me Hearts that can allow you to continue a run (which you can find in levels anyways), bubbles to spend on costumes, and character power-ups. For the most part, though, the micro-transactions are items and pieces that you can get in the game just by playing it.
Running through missions also has more elements in it than just doing runs, though. As mentioned above, the game has RPG elements thrown into the mix. There are different sets of missions for you to accomplish as you do your runs, like collecting 4 stickers in one run, dashing so many times, defeating so many enemies, among other things. Completing a mission will get you experience towards leveling up. This is similar to how objectives work in Sonic Dash.
Upon leveling up, you will receive a score multiplier to increase how big your score increases as you play through the game. There are 40 levels in total, and thus, a lot of score multipliers to collect. You also receive more multipliers when you buy the various costumes available, increasing the top score that you can share with others via the online leaderboards as well as increasing your chances of filling your in-game shield to protect you from hazards.
One thing to note is that this runner has micro-transactions, but can be played offline. When you’re offline, though, you won’t have access to the leaderboards or the other online features like micro-transactions. You’ll have to log in for this, and that can be tricky. In 5 plays of the game, I have only been able to successfully log into the game twice. The first 3 times, I would hit Log In but nothing would happen. It seems to be hit-and-miss to actually getting you logged in.
Like any other runner, Run Sackboy Run isn’t a terribly long game. A single run could take as short as a couple minutes or as long as several, depending on how quickly and easily you get a handle on things. If you really get into it, it can be a really nice pick-up-and-play game, but don’t expect to sit and play the game for hours on end.
One thing that you’ll need to know before diving into this game is that there aren’t any physical controls for the Vita version of this game. Every single option and control you will be using from start to finish will strictly be used by the touch screen. It’s very strange to see this not have optional button controls, but it is strictly touch-based like the Mobile version of the game.
As such you will be tapping on the screen to go through the various menus. If an option is shown, you can tap on it to go into that option. You can also tap almost anywhere on the main menu to start a run. Once you’re in a run, things change a little bit. You can swipe upwards to have Sackboy Jump and High-Jump, and can swipe to the right to have him dash through the air. The last options are for tapping on the shield option when the bar is full to activate the shield as well as options for power-ups like Save-Me Hearts when you get hit and have one available.
All in all, the controls are pretty easy to get a handle on, but using the shield option wasn’t as responsive as the other controls. Sometimes, I had to tap the shield icon several times before it would actually activate the shield.
The visual presentation of the game looks good, though it’s not as polished as that of LittleBigPlanet PS Vita. When you play through the game, actual runs look really nice and it’s hard to find any jagged edges. When you see the character models up close, though, you can tell that there isn’t quite as much detail as in the Vita’s own LBP game and likely had not gotten visuals upgraded from the Mobile release of this game.
Outside of this, there are mostly good things to say about the presentation. The music and environments fit the franchise very well and the load times are very short. However, it should be noted that the frame-rate doesn’t stay steady as you’re playing through the game. Many times, especially when you’re jumping, there will be noticeable slowdown in the flow of the game. It’s not something that is going to break the game for you, but it is pretty annoying when you’re in the flow of the game and things slow down for a couple seconds.