Review by horror_spooky
What does the fox say?
In a world where quality 3D platformers are few and far between, I always get excited when a new one is announced. For that reason, Super Lucky's Tale has been on my radar since it was announced for Xbox One, and I have been greatly looking forward to it for months, even though I missed out on the original game. After playing Super Lucky's Tale to the point of earning all the achievements and getting 100% completion, I have to say that while it's not even close to the best 3D platformer out there, it will satisfy one's craving for platforming for at least a little bit.
Super Lucky's Tale is clearly inspired by mascot platformers of the 90s, to a fault. It has a cutesy art style and atmosphere that is a little cheesy at times, and the game sometimes feels like if Conker's Bad Fur Day didn't change direction and become an M-rated game. The game's kiddy atmosphere may turn off some older gamers to giving it a try, but they shouldn't, as the gameplay is far more likely to appeal to those that grew up with Nintendo 64 and PS1-era platformers.
The characters and story are painfully generic, and nothing really stands out about Lucky himself at all. The writing can be funny, with some clever dialogue and a few standout moments, but again, this game is very childish in its presentation. Whereas Super Mario games feel like kid-friendly games that are designed for the whole family, Super Lucky's Tale's story, graphics, and overall presentation will only appeal to the youngest of gamers.
But like I said, older games are more likely to actually enjoy playing the game than younger ones. The game feels like a modernized take on Crash Bandicoot in many ways, with Lucky's abilities mirroring Crash's in a number of instances. The game combines 2D platforming levels with more open-ended 3D platforming sections that are more reminiscent of Super Mario 64 to great effect. There is a lot of level variety in Super Lucky's Tale as a result, with no shortage of things for players to do.
The levels themselves are fairly well designed, with tight platforming sections throughout. The levels are filled with secrets and other things to collect, which encourages replayability. The stages seem overly simple at first, but those that go for 100% completion will discover that each level is a bit deeper than it appears on the surface.
But as much as I enjoy the general gameplay design of Super Lucky's Tale, it's impossible to ignore some of its bigger flaws. The biggest issue you'll have with the game are technical issues that include some game-breaking bugs. Some things aren't so bad, like Lucky walking through walls, but other times Lucky will get stuck inside of an object, forcing players to restart or hope that an enemy can kill them.
There are also some poor design choices that make Super Lucky's Tale feel rushed in a way, like the developers didn't playtest the game too much. For example, there are some objects that Lucky can't jump on, when he can jump on identical platforms in other parts of the level. So what happens is the game essentially lies to players about what is a solid object and what is not, and the result is Lucky falling through the object and to his death. There are also some challenges in levels that players can only try once, and if they fail, they have to restart the entire level if they want to try it again. All this does is frustrate players and artificially lengthen the game's playtime, which is actually fairly short.
Speaking of frustrating, there are few platforming bosses more frustrating than the final boss in Super Lucky's Tale. The boss battle itself is annoyingly long, and a couple of dumb mistakes means players will have to start the entire thing from the beginning. Usually boss battles like this would be praised for offering a challenge, but the problem in Super Lucky's Tale is that the boss battle comes as a huge difficulty spike. The rest of the game is incredibly easy, so to be faced with an ultra hard boss randomly at the end is off-putting.
Combat in general could use some work in Super Lucky's Tale. One of the main problems is the game's problem with depth perception. Enemies don't have shadows underneath them most of the time, which makes it difficult to time jumps properly, leading to cheap hits and deaths for Lucky as a result. I think this is a side effect from the first game being built with virtual reality in mind. You kind of get the feeling that this sequel was also built with VR in mind, only for it to change direction and come out for the Xbox One, which doesn't currently support virtual reality hardware of any kind.
These issues are rather glaring and will make people that aren't hungry for platformers unlikely to have fun with Super Lucky's Tale. However, the game undoubtedly fills a void in the Xbox One's library when it comes to 3D platformers, and fans of the genre should enjoy it enough to see it through to completion.
Product Release: Super Lucky's Tale (US, 11/07/17)
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