3D platforming can be a wonderful beast, providing relaxing fun times, and frustration with challenges when done right. Lucky’s Tale first appeared on the Oculus Rift, showing how 3D platforming can work on that new platform, and now he has made his way to the Xbox One in his sequel.
Lucky is a young fox that is called to action to help his sister by getting back the Book of Ages from the game’s big bad guy, Jinx. To get to Jinx, Lucky needs to make his way through four distinct worlds, defeating Jinx’s kids on the way, each with their own quirks.
Lucky’s Tale’s biggest strength is its art style which is gorgeous. Where some games have gone more detailed with sentient animals or make more refined fur styles, Super Lucky’s Tale went the other way, going for a gorgeous simple animated film style.
This art style may not appeal to everybody, but it does help give a lot of charm to the game, and Lucky’s character, while also being pleasing to the eye. This simpler art style also results in the use of strong vibrant colours which pop on the screen.
The game’s biggest weakness, unfortunately, is the gameplay. The most notable of which is its fighting which is extremely basic. Rather than having a slew of attacks with abilities to earn, and upgrade, Lucky can only attack by jumping on enemies, or swinging his tail, which can hit enemies or projectiles.
Even though there is an element of joy coming from this simplicity by being able to sit back and relax with some simple platforming fun, there are drawbacks. Camera angles can be a pain, which is a common trapping for 3D platformers, as when you are hunting out secrets it is super easy to accidentally die, not knowing what is ahead of you.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, because the game’s varied levels do provide a lot of fun. There are four hub worlds, Sky Castle, Veggie Village, Holiday Canyon, and Spookington. Each of these hubs isn’t too long, but have characters to interact with, and secrets to find, between your attempts at levels themselves. Once you have earned enough lucky clovers you can advance to take on the boss.
Every level has four clovers on offer that can be earned in four ways. One is earned by beating the level, one can be attained by finding the letters that spell out Lucky that are hidden, one can be gained by collecting 300 coins in a level, and one can be gained by finding a hidden secret. The secrets may involve being put into the background to complete some platforming, or finding a time trial where you need to collect temporary coins, which can get genuinely hard.
This does bring in one of my most frustrating elements of the game, where you can’t advance through to the boss without enough clovers, involving backtracking to grab clovers you have missed in levels. It’s a minor annoyance but kills the flow of the game in a way I don’t like.
The platforming itself can be shonky at times where Lucky can land in places that don’t seem quite right or more importantly slip off the edge of a ledge that made no sense based on where he landed. These take a little getting used to and do create unnecessary frustration, especially when you are on your last life, near the end of the review having earned all the collectibles.
7.5/10 – There isn’t too much that is unique about Super Lucky’s Tale, but at the end when I look back, I enjoyed my time with the game. The lack of gameplay variety may put some people off, but kids and fans of platformers should find some joy in the game. I know despite its flaws, I’ll be looking back fondly of my time with Lucky.