An exclusive platformer for Microsoft’s machine, Lucky makes the jump from VR in Super Lucky’s Tale.
I have not played Lucky’s Tale on the Oculus Rift. Actually I don’t even really know, well, anything about it. I’m guessing it’s some kind of platformer though, although admittedly I don’t know how that’d work. Still, I kind of have to make that guess because Super Lucky’s Tale on Xbox One most definitely is a platformer.
And it’s a very familiar one too, not that that’s a terrible thing.
The bottom line is that Super Lucky’s Tale plays a lot like a whole bunch of platformers that you’ve played a hundred times over. There’s 3D gameplay, there’s 2D gameplay (a bit anyway), there’s a colorful world, there’s a happy little protagonist… you get the point.
While Super Lucky’s Tale looks a lot like some of the better platformers of all time at first glance, it’s also got a dark side. Namely, the game has more than it’s fair share of minor issues. Yes “minor”. As far as what I’ve come across, none of them are game-breakers.
So does that mean that Super Lucky’s Tale is an above average title? Read on.
Our story thus far…
Again, I have no idea what the plot of Lucky’s Tale on the Oculus Rift was… or if it even had one. Probably not much of one, I’m wagering. As for Super Lucky’s Tale, well there definitely is a storyline, but it’s as light as you more than likely would have thought.
Our tale starts out with Lucky welcoming his sister home from an adventure. That’s kind go her gig, and Lucky would like nothing more than to be just like her. Sense a little foreshadowing?
As fast as she appears, so do a gang of nefarious felines called the Kitty Litter. Bent on capturing the power of an artifact called the Book of Ages, the Litter is at the beck and call of their boss Jinx. It isn’t long before Lucky and the baddies are pulled into the mystical tome though, and that’s where the adventure begins.
Lucky’s task? To clear the Kitty Litter out of the Book’s pages, and set things right once again.
Pretty, but with some problems here and there
I like the graphics in Super Lucky’s Tale a lot.
The game’s looks are bright, loaded with color and imaginative touches, and generally all-around nice to look at. There’s a good deal of variation too, as each world that Lucky visits is as different as something you might find in Super Mario Bros.
There’s a barnyard level, a ghostly one, a (sorta) Christmasy themed one, etc… Pretty much all of them look shockingly good and have tons of personality. Don’t get me wrong, Super Lucky’s Tale won’t knock you over, even with its Xbox One X graphical enhancements, but it does look really nice. It’s got that right and airy vibe that seems to just work in these kinds of games.
And I love the character designs, which are all kinds of fun and remind me of Skylanders a lot for some reason. The main group of baddies are all very different from one another, a’la the Koopa Kids, and the NPCs that you’ll find in each stage vary as much as the levels themselves. I will say that some of the standard enemies could probably have used a little more oomph, but that’s a minor complaint.
As for the stages, they’re are all well designed, with lots to do and look at. That includes some nice detailing, which only adds to the game’s charm. Not that things are perfect. No, Lucky has some issues in terms of getting stuck behind things once in a while, clipping through the scenery, and being able to jump to some places where he clearly wasn’t intended to. That can result in frustrating deaths, and there isn’t much that’s worse than that in a platformer. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen a ton.
Unfortunately, what does happen a ton are oddball camera angles.
Super Lucky’s Tale is structured like both a 2D and a 3D platformer at times. These gameplay styles are separated by levels. So you’ll play a 3D level, and then maybe a 2D one. The 2D ones are rarer, but they’re sprinkled about and you will encounter one from time to time.
Most of the 3D levels though have some kind of camera issue. Again, this is nothing that’s game-breaking, but it’s enough to make you take note and cause some aggravation. The whole issue stems from not being able to actually control the camera directly.
You can set it in one of three different positions and that’s it. I’m not sure why that step was taken, but it was absolutely a mistake. To me anyway, there’s no clear design reason why the camera in SLT couldn’t have been used in a free-look manner. The fact that it doesn’t wok that way is a head-scratcher.
I usually like to throw in a mention of sound and voice acting, so I’ll also mention that Super Lucky’s Tale is competent in that department. There are no tunes here that’ll have you humming them after you’re done saying, but it’s upbeat enough and that’s fine.
As for the voice work, well there really isn’t any. Lucky and his cast don’t have speech tracks, and instead “talk” via text that you read and a series of sounds. Picture the early LEGO games and how those titles handled talking and you have an idea of what Lucky offers.
Controlling the Tale
While there might be issues with the graphics (at times) though, the controls are fairly spot-on.
Lucky can run and jump and head-stomp baddies just like almost every other platforming hero. He can also perform a spin that’s very reminiscent of Crash Bandicoot, where he swipes with his tail. This doesn’t so much defeat enemies, as it dizzies them. And it can be a very useful little mechanic at times.
The little fox can also do one other thing that adds a lot into the game- dig. Lucky can tunnel across any patch of soft ground in his world, and sometimes can go for quite a while. It does have a primary function though, digging isn’t just there for the sake of being there you know.
There are items, like coins, that are placed underground that you’ll need to dig to get to. And there are half-buried treasure chests that you need to bash into using the “dig” mechanic. This pops ’em out of the dirt. A nice little plus of digging too though, is avoiding enemies and dodging environmental hazards. It’s pretty cool, and succeeds in adding something fresh into the mix.
You have played this before
I know it probably sounds like I’m praising Super Lucky’s Tale a lot, and I guess I kind of am. This is a game that wasn’t expected to be all that great after all, and it actually turned out to be a pretty fun time. Thing is though, and to bring things around to kind of where this review started, you probably have played this before.
But is that a bad thing? Not really honestly. Super Lucky’s Tale, despite all its issues, is actually a really fun time. And if you’re a platformer fan, I’d have a hard time thinking that you wouldn’t enjoy yourself. While it definitely could have been better, and probably should have stayed in the oven a little longer, Super Lucky’s Tale is an enjoyable time.
Super Lucky’s Tale
Release Date: November 7th, 2017
Platform: Xbox One
Developer: Playful Corp