Lucky to come out the week after Mario?
The original Lucky’s Tale was well received, but by measure of being an Oculus Rift exclusive, wasn’t exactly played by too many people. Will it do better as the sole Xbox One X launch title?
Platformers rarely have fantastic plots, and Super Lucky’s Tale falls into about every genre cliché you could image. Lucky’s girlfriend’s been taken by the big bad, Jinx, and he has to collect various bits and bobs around the world to meet the unlocking requirements to finally face off against the last boss.
Each of the four worlds has a little bit of an intro to provide an overview of the area boss, but beyond that, the story interaction is completely minimal.
If that sounds harsh, then there are unfortunately worse things to be said. The developers have gone for the odd choice of a semi-fixed camera, which certainly caused me some unnecessary frustration when it comes to judging angles. This is exacerbated by the fact that the controls are rather floaty; Lucky has rather too much inertia, and I found myself falling off way too many platforms and blaming the controls rather than my own skill. This is rounded off by the system of lives in play, which can make you start levels from the beginning (including any clovers which you’ve picked up). Some of these things almost just seem in place to extend the otherwise pretty short length of the game.
There’s 4 hub worlds, each of which contain a number of levels that have (generally) 4 clovers in each. The hubs also have some mini-games and puzzles which throw up further clovers, for a game total of 99. You’ll need 80 to be able to face off against Jinx at the end of the game, which will generally mean some unfortunate grinding of previous levels to go back and collect up some of the remaining clovers.
As a result, this stretches out the game to 8-12 hours, depending upon your skill and approach to the game; by the end, Lucky is starting to wear his welcome pretty thin. It also certainly doesn’t help by being released just a week after Mario Odyssey, which has just reinvigorated the entire genre of 3D platforming after years in the doldrums. Super Lucky’s Tale never becomes offensive, but it is sorely let down by the controls and some of the mechanics. All of this is a massive shame because the core gameplay has plenty to recommend behind it.
There’s a variety of styles – some levels require quite complex puzzles to be solved to get your clover, others are 2D only, whilst others require combat, so it’s only the fact the visual variety is a bit stretched (4 world variants, 2 of which are too similar to each other) and there are camera and control issues which make the game start to drag as time goes on. The content you could argue is as a result of the value pricing, but that’s no excuse for the controls to be sub-par.
Somehow, whether through fate or fortune, Super Lucky’s tale has ended up being the sole launch title for Xbox One X. It’s not exactly a visual powerhouse, but what you do get is a stunningly coloured, extremely crisp-looking game, which performs beautifully at all times. The art style is simple but effective, and suits the game perfectly. We are still running at 1080p for the moment, but 4K HDR is also supported by the game.
One area where we can report on the upgrades is in the sound department. Super Lucky’s Tale is one of the few games at launch (along with Gears 4 and a couple of others) with full Dolby Atmos support. Whilst a cartoony platformer with plenty of 2D elements isn’t the best way to experience 3D audio, you can still notice the difference over standard Dolby surround titles in terms of the crispness and quality of the audio presentation, with incredible sounding audio from the catchy soundtrack.
“Super Lucky’s Tale” is cute, colourful and crisp; it’s a joy to look at, especially on Xbox One X. It’s a shame then that the controls can’t quite match the visuals – the lumpy inertia and lack of precision when compared to Mario becomes quite clear when I’ve been playing both together.
Having said that, with a budget price-tag, Super Lucky’s Tale is still perhaps a better game than I expected, and one that’s still well worth playing, especially if you don’t have access to a Switch.