Penny's Big Breakaway

Posted:  Mar 07, 2024
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Cloud Saves


Penny's Big Breakaway was provided by Private Division for review. Thank you!

When it came to the Sonic the Hedgehog series, Sonic Mania was easily one of the best games in the series in a long time. It took what made the classics so great and brought them back in a way that respected them while also pushing the concepts forward. So, when I heard this team was expanding, starting their own studio, and developing their own 3D platformer, I was intrigued. Penny's Big Breakaway is now released, and after playing it, I walked away very satisfied, even if it needed a little more time in the oven for polishing.

Story-wise, it is passable but definitely not the main focus. You are Penny, a street performer, who auditions to be one of the Emperor's Palace Court Performs. Unfortunately, her Yo-Yo becomes sentient after encountering a Cosmic String, and it attacks the Emperor. Now, you have to evade the Penguin army chasing after you and work on clearing your name, while also figuring out what this Cosmic String is.

I didn't mind the story, and I am glad the developers didn't push it in our faces. There are usually cutscenes before and after the boss fights in each area, but that's about it. This is either told through 3D animations or drawings, and you will read dialog boxes when the characters are speaking. It works for this kind of game, where the tight gameplay should be front and center.


Penny's Big Breakaway prioritizes a couple of key gameplay elements, which significantly improves the experience. The biggest element that I feel lends itself well to the game is the focus on how you use your moves instead of what you can do. As you are running through the gorgeous and vibrant areas that you need to get through, you will utilize a multitude of moves to get through. This includes swinging, riding your Yo-Yo, dashing, and spinning your Yo-Yo around.

Instead of just making obstacles that only these moves can get through, the team focused on how you can use the moves together to move around the world. So, with the introduction of a combo system, you are able to chain these moves together in different ways to find or make shortcuts or just find a way to blast through levels with ease. It feels a bit like Super Mario Odyssey at times, which puts an emphasis on experimentation and how you could use the moves at your disposal to solve a problem. While Penny's Big Breakaway isn't as in-depth, it still gives that feeling, which I loved.

PennysBigBreakaway 7

There is also a Time Attack mode, where you are trying to complete the level in the fastest way possible. You need to use your skills to chain moves together and beat the level as fast as you can. It is a nice way to challenge yourself and try to get the highest score on the leaderboards!

The well-crafted level design works with these mechanics to create some great and fulfilling moments that will make you feel like you have achieved the impossible when you finish a level with a combo of moves that you started from the beginning of the stage. This is true in both the story stages and the extra levels you can unlock, known as Star Globes. Ultimately, I discovered some annoying bugs throughout these levels, and I got stuck in the geometry of the environment, which either took some of my health or ended up killing me. This was most prevalent on stage 3-4, where I kept getting stuck in the quick-sand-like substance and died.

PennysBigBreakaway 1

Even still, it was easy to see the positives and have an enjoyable experience. The gameplay mechanics work extremely well together, the worlds are vibrant, beautiful, and well-designed, and the music is amazing. And it is such a joy to play portably.

Penny's Big Breakaway - Steam Deck Performance

Penny's Big Breakaway is an awesome game, and it runs quite well on the Steam Deck, but it does drain more battery than it needs to. Without changes, it will drain around 13W, which isn't too bad, but with a TDP limit of 6 and GPU Clock Speed Frequency set, we can decrease the drain to 10W and save over an hour of battery life without compromising visuals.

I did notice that far-away objects can look noticeably blurry, even with the Draw Distance turned all the way up. This is how it looks on my actual PC as well, so it isn't special to the Steam Deck version.

Yes, the blurriness in the background is normal.

Regardless, this doesn't impact gameplay much and I still had a blast running through the stages. As you are going by quickly, is difficult to spot.

Battery Saving Build (OLED/LCD)

If you are on the Steam Deck LCD, or want to save a bit of battery with the OLED, you can set the FPS limit to 60 and change the target framerate in-game to 60 (OLED only). With this, we can get a TDP limit of 5, and we will use the GPU Clock Speed Frequency of 1200. This will stabilize the framerate as we lower power with the TDP limit.


There are a couple of different settings we can change in the game, including target indicator, screen shake, auto post to leaderboards, changing language, audio sliders, and changing control type. You can also delete your data and Time Attack data, if you want to start fresh!

The game supports 16:10 resolutions, so there are no black bars, and it supports both cloud saves and controllers. The game also saves your selected settings, so if you go from Steam Deck to desktop PC, the game will be in the 1280x800 resolution. There are no HDR settings.


Penny's Big Breakaway is an awesome 3D platformer that prioritizes the right things to make an enjoyable and compelling experience that I can see myself consistently coming back to. The emphasis on how you use the moves instead of what you can do in-game gives you the freedom to combine them in different ways to find shortcuts or get around obstacles. There are some bugs here and there, and some could make you lose the level, but in the end, the pros outweigh the cons on almost every level. And, the game runs wonderfully, and with no in-game changes needed, this is an easy Best on Deck game!

The Sonic Mania team has proven they can do much more than Sonic, and I am so happy to see it.

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out the rest of the content on SteamDeckHQ! We have a wide variety of game reviews and news that are sure to help your gaming experience. Whether you're looking for newstips and tutorialsgame settings and reviews, or just want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, we've got your back.

SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Penny's Big Breakaway is a fantastic 3D platformer that feels great to play, even with some minor bugs, on the Steam Deck.


Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Full StarFull StarFull StarNo StarNo Star
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarHalf Star
Fun Factor: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarHalf Star

Build Score

Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
Steam Profile

Community Rating

Let us know what level of playability you consider Penny's Big Breakaway to be. Help our community determine the viability of playing this game on Steam Deck!
Steam Deck Compatibility
Current Price: 
View in Steam Store
Proton DB Rating

Should SDHQ re-evaluate this game review?

Other Builds
Battery Saving Build (OLED ONLY)



Refresh Rate




TDP Limit


Scaling Filter


GPU Clock


Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

Target Framerate: 60 (OLED ONLY)

Projected Battery Usage and Temperature

8W - 10W

50c - 56c

~5.5 - 6 hours

related Settings