Super Lucky's Tale Review
Super Lucky's Tale can be enjoyed in full 4K on an Xbox One X, but at its core it's a classic platformer game in the mold of those that enjoyed their heyday twenty years ago. Hub worlds with doorways to levels, doorways that can only be unlocked once the requisite number of collectibles have been obtained, secret zones to discover, plenty of cute enemies to dispatch with a tail swipe or a hop on their heads, it's all here. What's missing, though, is an interesting story and a sense of immersion in the game's world. Super Lucky's Tale certainly does have some charm to it, but Lucky just doesn't seem to have the personality that will endear him to gamers in the way that heroes of platforners past have.
The story, more setup than story really, is that Lucky is the younger brother of a famous explorer. When she returns from an adventure with an artifact known as the Book of Ages she is confronted by the Kitty Litter gang who want to steal the book. Lucky sacrifices himself for his sister and is sucked into the book along with the Kitty Litter gang. In order to escape the book and defeat the gang, Lucky must free the inhabitants of four worlds within the book from the clutches of the gang.
The game's four worlds are Sky Castle, Veggie Village, Holiday Canyon, and Spookington. The choice of world themes is a little odd, because Holiday Canyon and Spookington are essentially holiday-themed levels based on Christmas and Halloween, respectively, while the other two worlds not. The worlds are played in succession, and defeating a world's boss will unlock the next one for play. Each world has an overworld that you can run around and explore in relative safety, and these overworlds contain portals that lead to each of the world's levels. The portals all have a minimum number of clovers required to unlock them, and you earn those clovers in previous levels. In each level, you can earn one clover for completing the level, one for collecting 300 coins in the level, one for completing its secret challenge mini level, and one for collecting the letters to spell the word "LUCKY". Completing the level is the easiest way to earn a clover. The coin requirement can be a little tight in some levels, leaving little room to miss coins. The secret levels are not too hard to find, but can they can sometimes be a little challenging to complete. Spelling LUCKY requires that you pay attention to your surroundings, as the letters are usually tucked off the main path and can be easily missed. Once you complete a level, the portal outside of it will show the number of clovers that you earned from it so you'll know which levels to replay if you're short a few clovers to open another level. You won't be able to finish a world simply earning the level completion clovers, so you will probably find yourself having to repeat levels unless you're meticulous about earning all four clovers for the level the first time through it.
Lucky has a few attacks available to fend off the enemies that inhabit the games levels. There's the traditional favorite jump-on-head attack, a tail swipe, and Lucky can also burrow underground in places and pop enemies off of their feet. The enemies are generally easy enough to dispatch, and more of your deaths will come as the result of missed jumps than from the enemies. The game's difficulty is set so that younger gamers will have a reasonable chance of completing the levels, but some aspects of the game are not particularly friendly to those younger gamers. First is that you can't advance through the game by simply completing levels because you won't have enough clovers to open each world's later levels. The next is that you have a limited number of lives available. When you die, you'll continue from where you died as long as you have lives left. If you run out of lives, your game will be over, the level will be completely reset, and you'll be returned to the overworld. If you're having trouble with a particular part of a level, it can be frustrating to be kicked out of the level after burning through your lives and then have to do the whole thing over again.
The levels are enjoyable enough. The game does a good job of mixing up the style of each level so that if doesn't feel like you're constantly doing the same thing on each one. There are chase levels that force you to keep moving and 2.5 side-scrollers filled with constantly shifting platforms. While that variety is good, I can't really look back at any of the levels and consider any of them to be particularly memorable. The game delivers competent platforming gameplay, it's just not very exciting gameplay.
You don't see many platform games in this style these days, especially on the Xbox One, so Super Lucky's Tale delivers something a little different. If you're feeling a little nostalgic for a platformer in a classic mold, the game will certainly help scratch that itch. It's also something that will be appealing to younger gamers, but the youngest ones may find it a little frustrating. Otherwise, you're safe taking a pass on this particular tale.
Final Rating: 68% - Super Lucky's Tale isn't quite super, but it's enjoyable enough for fans of classic platformers.