Lucky jumps to Xbox One
Anyone familiar with the Oculus Rift VR headset has likely heard of Lucky’s Tale. Developed by Playful, this cute and charming platformer was a standout title during Rift’s launch early last year. Now, thanks to the support of Microsoft Studios, Lucky is back for his second outing this time on Xbox One.
I was expecting Super Lucky’s Tale to be an enhanced port of the Oculus title, but boy was I wrong. It turns out this is a full sequel with all-new levels, a new story, and new characters. Even the art style has change—Lucky’s Tale has an arts and crafts feel, whereas the sequel is full-on cartoon. If you’re looking for a fun, breezy platformer the whole family will enjoy, Super Lucky’s Tale fits the bill nicely.
Platform(s): Xbox One
Take out the Kitty Litter
Over the years I’ve come to expect very little in the way of story when it comes to platforming games. Most end up boiling down to collect X number of Stars/Moons/Dodads and yep, Super Lucky’s Tale follows this trend. In this case your goal is collect Clovers used to unlock new pages in the Book of Ages. The book, I think, has the power to reshape worlds but it’s never fully explained why or how.
Encouraging Lucky on his quest is his sister Lyra, who’s trapped somewhere that’s never really explained either. Finally, there’s Jinx, an evil menace out to steal the book for nefarious purpose that—you guess it—aren’t explained. Aiding Jinx on his dastardly plot is his Kitty Litter progeny that essentially act as the game’s end world bosses.
Utterly charming characters
While the story is rather thin, I fully admit it didn’t bother me at all while playing. The reason is simple: the characters are just too darn lovable to look beyond the surface.
For starters, who doesn’t like an anthropomorphic fox, especially one wearing a cape and sneakers? The Kitty Litter are just as endearing with their eccentric samurai, pirate, and other amusing garbs. Even Jinx, the big bad meanie you’re supposed to fear, looks ridiculous with his wizard outfit and gargantuan cat’s tail. Seeing these irresistibly delightful characters is a treat unto itself, regardless of how shallow their individual plot lines are.
Take one look at the game releases this fall and two things immediately stand-out: realistic graphic and intense gameplay. Super Lucky’s Tale doesn’t just break the mold, it obliterates it entirely with a supremely colourful, joyous presentation. The gameplay is light and fluffy too—exactly what you’d want for a game the whole family can enjoy.
On Xbox One you’re looking at 1080p graphics running at a solid 30 frames per second. However, step up to the more powerful Xbox One X and you get true 4K graphics and 60 FPS action. On the X you also get HDR support, which offers better contrast, brighter whites, and a wider colour palette. It looks stunning, but honestly, it’s look pretty good on a standard Xbox One console as well.
Truthfully, the bump up to 60 FPS is the much bigger advantage for those playing on Xbox One X. The doubling of the frame rate results in buttery smooth gameplay that’s faster and more responsive. This makes it easier to get around, time jumps, and bop enemies on the head. It still runs fine on Xbox One but there’s a slight input delay that takes a bit to get used to.
Rich, lively game worlds to explore
What’s nice to see is the same spirited personality found in the character designs extends well into the larger game. There are four worlds to visit, each one distinctive with their overarching theme and lovable inhabitants. From a spooky carnival, to a floating cloud kingdom, to a sprawling veggie-filled village, there’s no shortage of pleasant sights.
Ultimately though, it’s what’s inside these worlds that really stands out. There are all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures that clearly were given a lot of tender loving care. Over-sized worms munching on straw, ghosts wearing bowties, stubby little rock fellows–they’re just some of the characters you’ll meet.
My only wish is that we got to learn more about these creatures, perhaps through cutscenes or collectible lore. Near the beginning of the game you retrieve golem heads to reanimate a larger, sleeping golem. But it’s never explained what this rock being is, or why it’s relevant at all to the story. You collect the heads simply for the sake of collecting the heads. Even a simple two-minute cutscene could have helped fleshed out the character’s purpose and justify all that busywork. It’s not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but rather a slight missed opportunity to draw us in further.
Collect those clovers
Each main level in Super Lucky’s Tale has four Clovers, and they’re pretty fun to collect. You get one for completing the level, one for collecting 300 coins, and one for spelling the word “LUCKY”. Additionally, every level has a hidden fourth Clover to discover, usually found by completing a minigame.
Furthermore, levels generally contain a foxhole where the aforementioned minigames take place. Some require fast reflex jumping, others precision bouncing, and the challenges must be completed within a time limit. It’s nothing we haven’t seen countless times before, but these minigames offer a good challenge.
Some worlds further add special stages that award Clovers, including puzzle-types and endless runners. The puzzles are fairly simple and all revolve around pushes statues around a grid to their designated spot. On the other hand, endless runners make Lucky run at top-speed and require you to jump or burrow to avoid dangers. Again, nothing Earth-shattering here, but it still provides ample fun.
Overall, Super Lucky’s Tale is a solid platformer and a great addition to the Xbox One library. It can’t compete with the likes of say Super Mario Odyssey, but at its lower price it doesn’t need to. The game is cute, charming, colourful, and most importantly, fun. With its simple gameplay, moderate challenge, and welcoming presentation, Super Lucky’s Tale is great for children and adults alike. I definitely hope to see more of Lucky in the future as he’s a likable mascot I can really get behind.
+ Wonderful presentation
+ Excellent Xbox One X enhancements
+ Charming characters
+ Fun to explore and collect Clovers
+ Simple, intuitive gameplay
– Does little to innovate the genre
– Story is paper thin
– Occasional camera issues
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5