Welcome, one and all, to my latest video game review. Today, I’m looking at game that I’ve been playing with my youngest daughter. What game is it? Why, it’s Super Lucky’s Tale!
Much as the original game in the series, Lucky’s Tale, was a launch title for the Oculus Rift, this particular title is a launch title for the Xbox One X. It should be noted that I own an Xbox One S, not an X, so I can’t comment on any graphical upgrades it gets with the 4K compatibility. I also never played the original game, so I came into this with no major expectations or prior opinions on the series.
Now, the game is produced by Playful, whose previous work includes the original Lucky game and the sandbox adventure title Creativerse. The game itself follows a simple enough story: plucky young fox Lucky has an elder sister who acts as a guardian, protecting others from evil. When she returns home one day with a magic book, the felonious felines known as The Kitty Litter attack, and Lucky shoves his sister out of the way, resulting in he and nefarious nekos being sucked into the pages of the book.
I pre-ordered this game shortly after I first saw the trailer. You see, the footage reminded me of the original Spyro the Dragon and Croc: Legend of the Gobbos, but with an adorable anthropomorphic fox in a cape as the playable character. The thing is, if you place a cute fox as the playable character, you’ve increased the likelihood of being buying a game already. I love foxes. They’re lovely animals. But, of course, that doesn’t guarantee enjoyment. And that’s what we want to look at here, right? Is the game actually any good?
In a word, yes.
Let’s start with what first caught my eye: the graphical style of it all. Lucky himself is adorable. His design wouldn’t look out of place in a Disney drawn world, and there are plenty of little touches to add to this appeal. When he bounds around the screen on all fours, he really does look like a young fox with cape. The same can be said of when he jumps or dives into the ground to burrow. Throw in some cute vocalisations, and you have a perfectly family friendly lead to work with. Meanwhile, the other characters you encounter are equally as well treated. From friendly NPCs such as stone golems and present wrapping yeti to vicious bees and killer plants, the regularly appearing characters feature the same cute design stylings, each with their own unique movements. The antagonists are all comically exaggerated too, and really quite eye-catching in design. Oh, and the environments are absolutely lovely. The four root worlds and their various levels are all colourful, cartoony, and come with their own individual theme. The music adds to this too, creating a whimsical to accompany you on the adventure.
So, it looks and sounds great. But a game cannot survive on prettiness alone. Thankfully, Playful have created a beautifully balanced game here. The controls are simple: one button for jump and double jump, one to burrow, and one to interact. Given the young target audience, this is definitely a bonus as it means you don’t need to remember too many different button combos to perform necessary tasks. Despite this simplicity in control though, the game does offer plenty of variety. Level styles include: 3D sandbox style platform levels, side-scrolling platformers, infinite runners, statue arranging puzzles, marble maze puzzles, regular maze levels, and of course, boss battles. Each level type is easy to get to grips with, and makes full use of Lucky’s skills. None of them feel like they’re over-reaching with what they’re trying to do, and none of them feel broken. That’s more than some bigger games achieve.
Difficulty-wise, Playful have done a good job of ensuring that the game features a decent increase is challenge as it goes on, but without it becoming overwhelming. Remember, this is a game designed with kids in mind, so we’re not going to be looking at something as unforgiving as Battletoads on the NES. Yes, I did think that the odd level here and there had a fairly large spike in difficulty, it was never insurmountable. That doesn’t mean that adults won’t enjoy it though. You see, you access a boss – and in turn the next world upon their defeat – you need to collect a set number of lucky clovers. You can finish the game with only 80 of the 99 available clovers, but the fun is in going back and trying to collect all of them. Bonus puzzle levels only contain one clover, but you’ll find multiple of these in each world. TMeanwhile, the main levels each contain four clovers: one for finishing the level, one for collecting all the letters of ‘LUCKY’, one for collecting 300 coins, and one hidden one. Some of these are actually quite difficult to find too. Individual letters could be hidden away in background sections of the level, or may only be spawned by completing time limited challenges mid-level (activated by collecting alarm clocks). Meanwhile, the hidden clovers will involve you spotting and carrying out different tasks, or by diving into fox holes to access additional puzzles. While it won’t take you as long as Mario 64 to collect everything, there’s still more than enough here to keep you playing for multiple hours.
Unfortunately, the game does have one minor fault right now: an intermittent glitch. In three of the four worlds, I managed to stumble upon an area where I managed to get Lucky stuck in the floor. In one case, that resulted in death. In another, it was fixed by tapping burrow, causing the frenetic fox to pop back up again. In the other, I had to restart the level to get out of it. This was a rare occurrence given the number of levels, and I suspect that it would take very specific things happening to cause the glitch, so you’re probably very unlikely to end up in the same bind as I did. Still, it’s a shame, as it’s really the only blemish I can see in the game.
So, in summary, Super Lucky’s Tale is a charming little collectathon platformer. If you’re looking for a truly delightful title that manages to simultaneously bring back memories of the best of the early 3D platformers while still feeling modern, this is for you! Throw in the combination of a low retail price, and the friendliness of the development team (they were more than happy to indulge my daughter’s question about whether Lucky had a fishing license), and you have a real winner here.
Final Score: 4.5 out of 5