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Released last year on iOS and Android devices, Run Sackboy Run has finally made it onto the Vita with one big addition. Racking up points in this free-to-play endless runner will allow you to purchase costumes to use in Little Big Planet 3, headed to the PS3 and PS4 later this year. As with any game in this side-scrolling pseudo-racing sub-genre, simplicity is the order of the day and you’re probably not going to be surprised at all about what’s here. The game is fun to mess around with while commuting, and like many mobile titles, you can brag about your skills using that handy onscreen Facebook button. While the game is free to download and play all you want, the temptation of micro-transactions lurks just over your shoulder, tempting you to drop a few real-world bucks in order to better your scores.
Once you download the game and tap the touchscreen, things get off to a rocket-fast start. A Negativitron bursts onto the screen from the left, and Sackboy bolts like a scared deer on assorted pharmaceuticals. Tapping the screen makes him jump, and swiping makes him dash. There are a bunch of tricky jumps to make you can’t do initially, but you’ll be seeing that first map and the others many times before things are over and done. Your goal is the same as other runners: get as far as you can, and collect stuff before Sackboy hits an obstacle or gets chomped by that black, snaky beast. After you lose that single life, your score is tallied, and you can tap the screen to start all over again. Collecting bubbles (the game currency) and pulling off specific moves gets you a few more bubbles to spend in the game’s shop. In addition to the costumes, you can also buy power-ups, treasure chests and other cool stuff.
Levels are randomly generated, a nice touch keeping the visual repetition to somewhat of a minimum. Sure, you’re still dashing from left to right and trying to keep Sackboy alive as long as you can, but it’s nice to see a few different environments inspired by or borrowed from other games in the LBP series. If you’re a fan of the series, the game will be a lot of fun to whip through and collect costumes for later use on your PS3 or PS4. On the other hand, if you’re tired of the endless runner games popping up on every device possible, there’s nothing here you haven’t seen before in terms of gameplay. Then again, if you played this mobile last year and it sparked your interest in getting a Sony console, the company has definitely done their job.
While the game is a blast, two problems mar the fun. First, the frame rate can get iffy at times when things get hectic. I’ve never played the mobile versions, so I can’t compare what’s here, just get ready to see things get slightly jittery every so often. Second, there seems to be a slight issue with the touchscreen controls on occasion. Once in a while, a jump won’t register or lags a bit, meaning you can lose a life when Sackboy gets sacked. I’d gather developer XDev will be on the case with an update, but the option to use the Vita’s buttons should have been included from the get-go. There have been a few Vita games where button commands were added post-release, so let’s hope this freebie gets tweaked up sooner than later. There’s nothing more funky in a game like this than going for that easy-to-reach sticker or line of bubbles and failing because of an input issue.
There’s really not much more to say about Run Sackboy Run other than as a game in a too-crowded genre, it’s still endless fun to play if you fall for its charms. It’s fast, it’s got tons of content to grab once you have the bubbles stocked up and most of all, it’s free as a bird. It’s also a wee bit addictive if you let it get under your gamer skin. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to try to beat my score so I can have enough to get a couple of costumes and a few power-ups if I have enough left over. Yes, it’s a silly time chomper of a game, but I’m finding it hard to stop playing.
Edited by: Avery Osborn and Alex Miller
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