Super Lucky's Tale

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Platformer
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Playful Corp.
Release Date: Nov. 8, 2019


Switch Review - 'New Super Lucky's Tale'

by Cody Medellin on March 19, 2020 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Super Lucky's Tale is a platformer for all ages that follows Lucky, the ever-optimistic, energetic and lovable hero, on his quest to find his inner strength and help his sister rescue the Book of Ages.

Buy New Super Lucky's Tale

The Lucky's Tale series has had a wild journey since its inception. The original game debuted at the launch of the Oculus Rift, providing a good demonstration for how a standard 3D platformer can be enhanced with VR in tow. Super Lucky's Tale came out around the time that the Xbox One X arrived, and it was a solid but traditional platformer that built a small audience on a system where 3D platforming isn't exactly in great demand. New Super Lucky's Tale doesn't have the burden of launching with a new console, as it came out a good deal after the launch of the Nintendo Switch Lite, but it's a quality platforming title on a system that seems to be the default home for the genre.

In a faraway land, there lies the Book of Ages, a powerful magical artifact protected by a group known as the Guardian Order. Jinx, once a member of the Order, broke off to defeat the group and has designs to steal the book for himself. During a last stand, the book sucked in almost everything around it, including Jinx, his children, and some of the surrounding lands. The book also pulled in Lucky, a junior member of the Order. Your job as Lucky is to gather up the missing pages to restore the book and get out of it while also trying to defeat Jinx and his kids.

It is an interesting tale, but what's surprising is how chatty everyone is. Typical bystanders in each world want to chat you up, even if what they have to say is mostly inconsequential. Jinx's kids taunt you, and anyone who needs help will also talk to you. While some of the dialogue can run rather long and the most you can do is fast-forward through it instead of skipping it, most of the stuff is chuckle-worthy. The character that stands out the most is the mail golem you rescue at the beginning, and his desire to be your best friend can range from endearing to troubling.

The core gameplay mechanics should feel familiar to platforming fans, even if they've never played the previous entries. In the 3D world, Lucky can jump on enemies and use his tail to swat crates, foes and switches in each level. He can run and double-jump, and a mid-air tail swipe gives him an extra hop when needed. He can also burrow underground to get coins in the ground or go underneath obstacles. If the ground is too hard to dig through, he can also do a slide, which is something new to this version. That's a good set of moves to work with, but those hoping for more as the adventure progresses will be disappointed to learn that Lucky knows everything at the start, with no opportunity to learn anything more by the end of the adventure.

The game is separated into various hub worlds, and for the most part, each of the stages you'll go through contains four goals that get pages for the book. Finishing the stage gets you a page, and you'll get one if you collect all five letters that make up your name. Another page is obtained if you get at least 300 coins per stage, and there's also a secret page hidden somewhere within the level. While these goals remain static, the hook for the stages is in their variety. Aside from the environments, the stages aren't limited to exploration and finding key items to open passages to the exit. Some stages are more maze-like in nature, while others are endless runners. Further adding to the variety is the fact that the hub worlds have their own hidden challenge stages, which reward you with a page if you complete them. These can range from simple slide puzzles to labyrinths where you play the role of the ball, but all of these things do a great job of making the game feel fresh at every turn.

For those coming from the Xbox One iteration, there are a few differences. For starters, some of the dialogue plays out differently here. It doesn't change the overall story, but it makes the game look a little different at a cursory glance. The two DLC packs have been interwoven into the main game, with Gilly Island placed in the middle of the adventure and the Guardian Trials happening after you beat Jinx and the credits finish rolling. More costumes have been added, so now there are more clothes and accessories to spend your coins on. The most important change has been to the game camera, which is now fully user-controlled. With players being able to dictate the rotation and zoom, it eliminates one of the big complaints of the Xbox One version and makes the Switch iteration a more definitive version of the game.

The additional content and improved camera are very nice to have, but one thing to be wary of is the game's difficulty level — or lack thereof. Despite some tweaks to make the game a little more difficult, the journey through each stage is simple, and only a few areas could give seasoned players a spot of trouble. What makes things much easier is the fact that early on, you won't need many pages to unlock the boss fights in each world. If you're good about getting every page from a stage or you clear out almost every special challenge level, you can skip over a good chunk of the levels and still beat the game in a relatively short amount of time. While genre veterans might scoff at this, it ensures that kids or those unfamiliar with the genre will have some fun without getting stuck in one specific area.

The one big knock against the Switch version is the load times, which can take between 20-30 seconds. We've seen this type of thing before in games like Yooka-Laylee, but the difference is that the levels and worlds you're loading up are pretty small compared to that title's larger landscapes. When you take into account the number of stages in each world, including the smaller challenge ones, the presence of so many load screens becomes an annoyance if you're just trying to get in a quick session of gaming.

Not much was sacrificed in the transition from the Xbox One to the Switch. The most noticeable change, aside from resolution capping out at 1080p, is the lock to 30fps, which was the standard for the Xbox One, whereas running the game on the Xbox One X produced 60fps. Aside from this, everything looks great thanks to the cartoon art style, which is further amplified by the character designs and animations. Every character is emotive, so even the standard enemies have some personality, akin to a Mario game. It's the little things that make the game sing, like having Lucky shuffle in multiple little steps before he takes off in a sprint or having him look directly at the camera when you start to pan it in front of him. In short, the team has done a great job of making this a beautiful-looking title, despite the hardware downgrade.

The audio is also quite nice. The soundtrack is evocative of many grand platforming adventures thanks to its bouncy, cheerful nature. It doesn't become much of an earworm, but it does a great job of bringing forth that sense of adventure. The voice work is where you'll get a sense of charm and confusion, as the style switches almost on the fly. The opening cut scene is fully voiced by your sister. In-game, Lucky says a few phrases, but he barely says anything when he attacks or gets hurt. Everyone else speaks in gibberish, kind of like the Banjo-Kazooie or Yooka-Laylee series, but it's more intelligible here. It can be confusing to hear that switch occur, but it's endearing instead of off-putting.

New Super Lucky's Tale is a charming and well done platformer. The number of moves you have may seem limited, since you learn nothing else in your journey, but the game does a good job of making sure you use all of the moves all of the time. The colorful look is aided by the general charm of the characters to create an experience where you're constantly grinning. It may be easy for genre veterans, and the load times can be annoying, but the short runtime ensures that the game doesn't overstay its welcome.

Score: 8.0/10

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