Updated: Jul 12
For about a month now, LittleBigPlanet's newest mobile game has been in early access on the Android Google Play Store for select regions. As the first mobile game in the franchise since Run Sackboy Run, Ultimate Sackboy comes as a surprise following the recent March and April server outages. What is Ultimate Sackboy, and when will you be able to play it?
Spoiler alert: the Sacknana costume is back! Here's everything we know so far.
Ultimate Sackboy On the Google Play Store
Ultimate Sackboy is an early access game available on the Google Play Store. This means that it is currently only available on Android devices. It is being developed by Exient, a developer who has also made the Lemmings Puzzle Adventure and Umaemon's Adventure. Although those are the only titles shown on their Google Play Store profile, Exient Entertainment's Wikipedia page shows that they have a much more diverse portfolio dating all the way back to Total Soccer 2002 published by Ubisoft in 2001.
The game is very similar to Run Sackboy Run, Subway Surfers, Sonic Dash, and Crash On The Run. It's similar to an endless runner game, but the current version of the game has finite courses. Below is a video by 'I play games' of the current prototype of Ultimate Sackboy.
Early Access For Select Regions
On May 6th, growing LittleBigPlanet YouTube commentator Nerdyant64 posted a question to Sony XDev Product Development Director Pete Smith about Ultimate Sackboy. Pete responded, "[Ultimate Sackboy] is just early access at this stage. Expect news as we approach full launch in the future."
So, can you play Ultimate Sackboy right now? Yes and no. Since the game is early access for select audiences, regions, and devices, it's highly unlikely you'll be able to play it through official sources. According to YouTube commentator BlazingVictini, the early access version is not currently available in the United States.
When Will Ultimate Sackboy Be Released?
We aren't sure just yet. As Pete Smith said in his tweet, more details would be revealed closer to launch. Once we find out more about launch details, we'll be sure to update this article.
How To Play The Ultimate Sackboy Prototype Right Now
You can play Ultimate Sackboy right now if you really want to, but it's important to keep in mind that the game is only a prototype. Thanks to archivers at the Dreamiverse Discord server, the game's XAPK file is available for download. However, remember that downloading APK files from sources you don't trust can be harmful for your device. If it makes you feel any better, I was able to get the game running and my phone hasn't burst into flames (yet).
To play Ultimate Sackboy's early access prototype, follow these steps:
Download the XAPK file on your Android device.
You won't be able to install the XAPK file without the right handler. Check the Google Play Store for an XAPK installer. I used XAPK Installer. It's annoying to sit through the video ad when you install but it worked for me.
You can scan for XAPK files on your device to find the installation file for Ultimate Sackboy. When it's done, select it to install it and follow the instructions onscreen.
When completed, you should see Ultimate Sackboy in your apps list. Tap on it to get started playing it!
Again, it's important to emphasize that this prototype does not reflect the final product. The current version of the prototype is missing many features such as sound effects and music. These will be added closer to the game's release.
Ultimate Sackboy Will Be Free To Play
From the looks of things, Ultimate Sackboy is shaping up to be a free to play mobile game. There is a lot of evidence that I was able to see in the game that suggests that it has a free to play model. For example, you have to pay in-game currency on an entry fee to play levels and you are given the opportunity to spend gems or watch an ad to revive after being knocked down by an obstacle.
The golden, 'Coin' currency looks like it's probably the most common currency in the game. It seems to appear as the most common prize for completing courses. We also know that gems exist in the game, likely as paid currency given how most other free to play games handle their in-game currencies.
Given that the game allows you to watch an ad for revives, it's almost certain that the game has a free to play model with microtransactions.
Every race in Ultimate Sackboy awards you with a Lootbag. These are essentailly lootboxes that take up one of four slots in your inventory. Lootbags take time to unlock. Some can take five seconds, while others can take hours. the bags contain prize bubbles with crafting materials and other prizes.
There seems to be a competitive approach to the game. One of the available features of the game is a Daily Duel. This suggests that you'll be pitted against another player of the game in a competition to see who can get the most points in a course. If you win, you can get a sack as a prize that you cannot open until the following day. Inside the sack you will find a costume piece from the person you raced against.
The one catch is that you can only race in the daily duel once per day and only after completing three matches.
Five a Day
One daily feature that is currently present in Ultimate Sackboy is the Five a Day challenge. Out of five races, one prize bubble with fruit will appear in each. If you collect all of the fruit prize bubbles you can get a prize. The prize is different from day to day.
Wardrobe: Player Customization and Return of Sacknana!
It seems that Ultimate Sackboy will have some degree of player customization similar to the main LittleBigPlanet games. In the Wardrobe section of the game, players have the ability to customize their Sackthing with head, body, legs. It also looks like the developers realized how popular Sacknana was as a meme in the LittleBigPlanet community. Not only is a Sackperson visible wearing the outfit in the game, but pieces of the costume can be seen locked in the Wardrobe.
According to its listing in the Wardrobe, Sacknana's rarity is classified as 'epic'. Although it's not quite as rare as the legendary 'Breeze Shades' seen to its left, it's pretty hilarious and fun to see Sacknana in Ultimate Sackboy.
Exient Entertainment and Sony XDEV
Why is Exient Entertainment making Ultimate Sackboy if Sumo Digital owns LittleBigPlanet? Actually, it's a common misconception among LittleBigPlanet fans that Sumo Digital holds the rights to the LittleBigPlanet franchise and its trademarks. In fact ever since Media Molecule was bought by Sony in 2010, the LittleBigPlanet IP has been held chiefly by Sony. The company chooses and funds various studios to create games for the franchise.
Because of this, many developers other than Media Molecule and Sumo Digital have been responsible for LittleBigPlanet titles. For example, Tarsier Studios and Double Eleven worked alongside Sony XDEV to create LittleBigPlanet Vita. Now, Exient Entertainment is working on Ultimate Sackboy.
Why isn't Sumo Digital working on the project instead? It likely was decided to delegate the development of Ultimate Sackboy to another studio to allow Sumo Digital to focus on console-focused titles.
Explaining Pete Smith's Involvement With Ultimate Sackboy
Some might be wondering, what do Sony XDEV and Pete Smith have to do with this game? Who are they, and what relation do they have to Exient Entertainment?
As Product Development Director at Sony XDEV, Pete Smith's job is to greenlight pitches for video game development projects. Given his role and his previous authority on promising the return of the LittleBigPlanet servers, it's likely that Pete approved of the development for Ultimate Sackboy and is overseeing Exient's progress on the project. Recently Sony XDEV celebrated the release of Returnal and Destruction AllStars.
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Are you excited about Ultimate Sackboy? Or, are you at least excited about seeing the return of the Sacknana outfit? Let us know in the comments below!