Penny’s Big Breakaway Hands-On Preview
Penny’s Big Breakaway is the next big title from the team behind 2017’s hit title, Sonic Mania. Developed by Evening Star and published by Private Division, Penny’s Big Breakaway is Evening Star’s breaking in point into the 3D platforming space. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go hands-on with the upcoming title. We checked out a number of the game’s early levels in both the Story and Time Attack modes.
It should be noted that updates, improvements, and any changes may occur between this build and the final game. Overall, my experience with the early portions of Penny’s Big Breakaway left me feeling optimistic about the game. I appreciate its low barrier of entry in addition to its addicting gameplay and push for player perfection. Put simply, the title personifies the term “easy to learn, hard to master.” Specifically, I found myself being able to navigate through levels pretty well. Still, I recognized in watching gameplay footage that the flow between various actions and moves can be combined much more seamlessly and efficiently than I could at the time.
Breaking the Loop
The narrative of Penny’s Big Breakaway is pretty simple: Penny is a street performer with a yo-yo named Yo-Yo who becomes a living creature. After some mishaps involving Eddie the Emperor, Penny embarks on an adventure to fix the situation and learn more about her Yo-Yo.
The primary gameplay loop of Penny’s Big Breakaway is that the game is separated into a variety of overarching levels that feature several stages. In each stage, players must traverse the environment while staying alive against environmental hazards, Eddie the Emperor’s penguins, and other such creatures. In each level are three collectibles and three sidequests. Completing these sorts of side quests results in a larger audience at the end of the level, which when reached, allows Penny to complete a Busker Bonus minigame to increase your score. As you would expect, the side quests and therefore audience members influence the Busker Bonus’s effects.
Show Me Your Moves
Penny and, by extension, Yo-Yo, have a lot of moves at their disposal to assist in traversal. Players will be able to use Yo-Yo to dash in different directions, swing in mid-air, ride over dangerous surfaces, and much more. While each level does vary in terms of length, I would put my runtimes to about 10 minutes per level, which includes time trying to explore every corner. In these same levels in Time Attack which I did not explore at all, I could get through them in roughly 2 minutes. As mentioned before, being able to piece together combinations and fluid movement should result in even faster times for those inclined. At the end of each major chapter, a unique boss encounter is available, testing different components of Penny and Yo-Yo’s moves.
In what I consider a sign of a strong 3D platformer, Penny’s Big Breakaway features a beautiful, vibrant aesthetic with unique designs and perhaps most importantly, level design that is intuitive with easy-to-identify landmarks and wayfinding. Likewise, the title sports an upbeat, energetic soundtrack that matches the pace of the game. The songs were also catchy enough that I found myself playing them in my head over and over throughout some days.
Currently slated to release in early 2024 as of the time of writing, Penny’s Big Breakaway will be released on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Windows to PC via Steam, and Xbox Series X/S. Having enjoyed my time with the tile thus far, I am personally looking forward to completing the rest of the story in the future.
*** A preview code was provided by the publisher ***