When Super Lucky’s Tale released back in 2017 on Xbox One and PC, it’s fair to say that it wasn’t highly revered. The lack of a fully controllable camera and finicky controls ultimately left players disappointed, and it appeared that the charming but flawed platformer was sure to be forgotten. Luckily enough for Lucky, developer Playful Studios decided to go back to the drawing board and make things right. The resultant product is New Super Lucky’s Tale, a reimagining that fixes the aforementioned control and camera issues, alongside some tweaks to other aspects of the game like levels, UI, music and more. Have the changes managed to make New Super Lucky’s Tale a platforming journey worth embarking on, or does it fail to right to the wrongs that muddied the reception of the initial release? Read on for our New Super Lucky’s Tale review.
Beware the Kitty Litter
The opening story sequence is a story recounted by Lucky’s sister Lyra, and it quickly explains the role that Lucky has to play. Lyra and Lucky serve to protect an ancient book known as the Book of Ages. The safety of the book comes under threat when an evil cat named Jinx attempts to steal the book, causing a war between the Guardian Order and Jinx’s family known collectively as the Kitty Litter. Despite managing to banish numerous Guardians to unknown realms with his sheer power, Lucky and Lyra escape with the book and evade him and his litter for years. Eventually they are forced to cross paths again, and despite being at the risk of defeat at the hand of Jinx, the Book of Ages saves the day. It quickly sheds its pages and unleashes a portal, whisking the Kitty Litter away to another world. The portal also takes Lucky, separating the young fox from his older sister, leaving him unable to return, and his sister unable to come to his rescue. In order to reunite with his sister and restore the Book of Ages, Lucky must take the fight to the Kitty Litter and retrieve the scattered pages.
The story is cute and to the point, immediately justifying the journey that the adorable fox protagonist must embark upon. You don’t get much more narrative content in the way of cutscenes, but this is quickly forgiven when you meet the myriad of characters that live in the worlds you visit. You’ve got an adorable Golem mailman who constantly appears on each loading screen with a funny message about how much he adores Lucky or what he thinks about other characters, a Worm Sheriff complete with an American accent, and even the various members of the Kitty Litter. Dialogue is also silly and littered with puns in a way that you can’t help but appreciate. The character dialogue definitely would have benefited from proper voice acting in place of the gibberish approach, but the character dialogue is still solid enough to read through and enjoy. New Super Lucky’s Tale isn’t here to heap lore and story onto you, instead letting its gameplay do the talking.
I also find it important to mention just how pretty this game looks. It isn’t the most graphically intensive game, but the colorful and cartoonish aesthetic looks gorgeous, looking especially stunning in 4K 60fps on PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. Each world Lucky sees on his journey has a distinct look that sets it apart from the last, which in turn ensures that you are never bored of the vibe of each level. Hauntingham for example sees Lucky collecting pages and coins at a haunted Carnival run by a group of ghosts, whereas Gilly Island is a tropical resort on the beach that Lucky must save from Kitty Litter member Lady Meowmalade. Having different visual looks in different worlds in a platformer isn’t something that hasn’t been done countless times before, but I can’t help but be infatuated by the appealing and joyful locales in New Super Lucky’s Tale.
When it comes to gameplay, New Super Lucky’s Tale is what you’d expect from a mascot platformer. There are six worlds, each containing numerous levels for Lucky to collect the important pages in. Main levels come in numerous different flavors, with 3D platformer levels that play similarly to that of Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie, and 2D platformer levels that emulate the experience of the Donkey Kong Country games being the ones you will encounter the most. There are also a few 2D autorunning levels that see Lucky
constantly moving to the forward towards the end of the level, requiring you to time your jumps and movement perfectly to grab all the items. Lucky is a joy to control in each of these level types. He can jump, spin his tail to extend his time off the ground, and even burrow underground to attack enemies from beneath them or access otherwise unobtainable areas. New Super Lucky’s Tale has comfortable controls that don’t feel restrictive in the slightest.
Each of the main level types your task is to collect the four pages on offer. Pages can be attained by completing a level, collecting 300 coins, finding the hidden page, and finding the L-U-C-K-Y letters. Gathering enough of these pages will grant you the ability to challenge the Kitty Litter boss of each level. Defeating them will then allow you to progress to the next world. Coins can also be spent on clothes and accessories for Lucky to wear, such as a pair of glasses, a glorious mullet, and a pair of suspended shorts to name a few. The costumes are only stylistic and don’t offer up any sort of perks or buffs which is a missed opportunity, but it’s undoubtedly fun to deck out Lucky with a luscious head of hair.
There are also smaller levels that grant you a page each which can be accessed in the hub worlds by locating foxholes and burrowing into them. Puzzle levels are brain teasers that require you to move a Lucky statue onto a specific spot of the puzzle. While this sounds simple, the pieces when moved slide about (if you have ever encountered an ice block puzzle you’ll understand what I mean), meaning that you will often have to place and manipulate other statues to ensure that the Lucky statue ends up in the right position. They are good fun and a welcome change of a pace between main levels. Lastly you have the marble levels, where you must navigate Lucky in a marble around a level by tilting the level. While in some cases it works fine, the frustrating and restrictive controls often result in a lacklustre experience. Other than the marble levels and a few other hiccups I’m about to cover, New Super Lucky’s Tale offers a very commendable gameplay experience.
While there is plenty to like in New Super Lucky’s Tale, I did find myself annoyed with a few aspects of the game. The biggest hindrance to enjoyment throughout the game are the loading times, which are ridiculously long. Each time you die the game requires a full reload of the level, which is a head scratcher in a genre where quick reloads are often there to quickly throw you back into the thick of things. Having a load screen when loading in a new level is perfectly fine and acceptable but dying in a level to be greeted by a loading screen before restarting again can become grating very quickly. The issue of loading times best rears its ugly head in the post-game segment known as the Guardian Trials. The levels throughout are a lot smaller than the normal ones throughout the base game, leading a load in, probably a death or two on the finicky marble levels, and then a final load out. In isolation a single load time would be fine albeit somewhat annoying due to its length but having numerous sandwiched together just makes the experience particularly frustrating.
Lastly is the fact that the game is ridiculously easy, being arguably one of the easiest platformers I’ve ever played. I can see the value in a game that prefers to let you soak up the experience in a stress-free manner, but it’s rather upsetting that there isn’t any challenge to contend with. I finished basically every level with 100% completion on my first attempt, with only the autorunning levels requiring the odd second attempt, as Lucky’s desire to charge towards the finish line sometimes left me leaving something behind. As an introductory platformer game for a young child or somebody new to gaming, New Super Lucky’s Tale would serve as a great starting point challenge-wise, but for platforming-gluttons like myself and many others, it doesn’t provide the level of difficulty I would like.
Platforming Comfort Food
New Super Lucky’s Tale is a solid platforming experience, but it doesn’t do anything to stand out or reinvent the wheel. Its gameplay is fun and the controls are brilliant, but the lack of any distinct challenge makes the journey a cakewalk for most platformer fanatics. On the rare occasion that you lose a life, you are also punished with load times that are borderline unforgivable in a game like this. There is no doubt that New Super Lucky’s Tale is good fun and worthy of a playthrough if you’re a fan of platformers or new to the genre. New Super Lucky’s Tale is video game comfort food, and even though comfort food is good, there are better games of a similar ilk to gorge on.
- Vibrant and pretty visual aesthetic
- Solid gameplay
- Enjoyable writing
- Too easy
- Frustrating amount of load times
- Marble levels control poorly
New Super Lucky’s Tale review code provided by the publisher. Reviewed on the PS4 Pro. You can read SP1st and MP1st’s review and scoring policy right here. New Super Lucky’s Tale is now available to purchase on the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.