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Review of Super Lucky’s Tale for XBOX One

Today’s game that I’m reviewing was announced at E3 2017 to much applause. It’s a game that started out elsewhere (PC, Oculus Rift) and since has transformed to being on console. This game, is Super Lucky’s Tale (Playful Corp, $21.99) is massively cute but is the game any good? Today, we’ll talk about the first platformer that I’ve reviewed in quite some time. Let’s see if this game is a breath of fresh air or if it’s just as stale as some other platformers as of late.

Let’s start out with the game description:

‘Super Lucky’s Tale is a delightful, playground platformer for all ages that follows Lucky, the ever-optimistic and lovable hero, on his quest to find his inner strength and help his beloved sister rescue the Book of Ages from the nefarious Jinx. Head back to the era of classic platformers with challenges players of all skill levels and all ages can enjoy.’

Here’s the original E3 trailer for you:

And a couple more trailers (because I like ya!):

Audio & Soundtrack:

Straight away this game hits you with a wonderful array of beautiful notes. As you’re coming into the game you get to hear a great introduction song. There’s no need to worry of course as this carries with you throughout the rest of the game! There is music for all different levels, there is music for different scenarios, and there is even different music while down in the foxholes. The music isn’t just well written and awe-inspiring to listen to. It is also performed oh so fantastically by a full orchestra. I couldn’t believe the sheer number of instrument varieties that I heard whilst playing this game. The music is just an absolute treat for us gamers. You can tell so much love was poured into this game. There was such a fantastic arrangement for every single place. I’m still just blown away even while writing this, can’t you tell?!

The game doesn’t stop impressing you at the music, the sound effects and voiceovers are a whirlwind of amazement too!  Starting with the sound effects I just have to say I was absolutely taken aback by the fact that everything and I mean everything I came across and/or interacted with had a sound. There’s not even a need to give a bumping into a rock a sound, but they did it. That’s a lame example of course, but it shows that even down to the last detail they had thought of everything. I had no idea that I was going to have so much audio coming out of my surround sound. The last part worth mentioning was the voiceover work.

What I said with the music and the sound effects holds just as true with the voice acting. Our narrator is the protagonists older sister and whoever they got to play her is simply divine. She gave us the beautifully executed exaggerated cartoon emotions. She also gave us that the young; but not too young sound. And the fact that she can put in your head what you’re supposed to feel at the time that she’s talking, brings it all together. But the voices don’t stop there. Our main character, Lucky, has a voice too. His speaking lines are something more akin to how much Mario talks. He has sounds he makes when he jumps or bangs into something or dies in a level. He doesn’t say more than that, however, I’m okay with that. I like my platformers to have a little bit of dialogue and on the other hand, I don’t want to hear the character talk too much as I need to concentrate on playing the level and not dying.

The characters that you come in contact frequently are not all voiced, but they do have speech bubbles. I did find it cute that most flowers and pigs and other non-NPCs have cute little sounds. There was nothing that I could find wrong with the sounds at all. I’ve got zero complaints whatsoever, it was absolutely a perfect listening experience! 10/10

Visuals:

The visuals of Super Lucky’s Tale are also just another facet of the already great title. The game is rendered in full 1080p at 30 frames per second on the XBOX One and XBOX One S. If you’re one of the lucky ones that own an XBOX One X, your version of the game will be in glorious 4K at 60 frames per second. The lighting in this game is nice with very subtle shading. I prefer this over having a game that has extremely bright areas and then really dark areas. Adjusting my TV’s screen brightness just for the sake of a game is always a hassle. Even areas where it’s meant to be a night time scenario it’s still dimly light and the shadows play nice.

The characters all look different which is also a blast. Even down to the smallest repeat NPC’s they seem to appear different. Whether it be spots on them or differently arranged teeth or clothes, whatever, this game has such a vast variety of character designs. Speaking of design, the level design across this game is a cavalcade of awesome. The overworlds are easy to understand but still feature little secrets all around. The 3D platforming levels are well thought out and hold tons of little secrets as well. The 2D levels hold the most challenge and even though they are all up and down, there is still plenty of well thought out traps and platforms. I cannot speak enough good about this game when it comes to its looks.

There are some weird visual hiccups within this game, some would call them glitches. Sometimes when Lucky dies and he’s on a platform and the platform moves away, he free floats until the screen resets. The platforms with a big white X on them do this thing that when you walk onto them, you don’t actually walk onto them. You really just walk through them. The trick with that is that you have to jump onto them, walking doesn’t work. In some of the 2D levels when I would fall to my death, he would get stuck on something below the screen that I couldn’t see and he wouldn’t die. This is less about visuals that I could see and more so him maybe getting stuck on some legacy piece of assets that were never fully removed from the game. These are all things that could be fixed, none of them really affect the game terribly. 8/10

Gameplay:

You’re about to hear a grown man gush about a game for all ages. I loved this game and I mean that in a way that a mother loves their baby. I wake up and I go straight to thinking about this game. This game keeps me up at night in the best way imaginable. I can’t put enough time into this game! But what are my individual thoughts on the gameplay? I will say that one thing that threw me off was that the initial load time of the game is long. This is slightly odd to see, especially when you’re starting the game for the first time. You’re definitely unsure if the game is broken when you first play it. After that, you see that it was just a main load screen that has no loading bar and remember it for every time following that. I would suggest just putting your XBOX One into sleep mode so you can go right back into the game next time.

The game goes right into the story, immersing you in a recap told by our protagonist’s older sister. It’s a great story that kicks off the game, I’m not going to spoil anything of course. What I will say however, is that it doesn’t dwell or lean on the story too much. It gives you the bare bones breakdown of what you need to know and then you’re in. There are four overall worlds that are in this game. You can leave each world by collecting the required amount of 4-leaf clovers. You gain the clovers by completing various levels within the world. There are other ways of collecting clovers as well. The very same feeling I get from Tony Hawk games seems to apply here. When I’m in a level I can just reach the end and get the hidden clover. Sometimes you have to complete puzzles and sometimes you have to collect the letters that spell out LUCKY. There are a metric ton of ways to get clovers, which is nice because needing to collect 99 clovers straight away seems daunting. Let me assure you though, it’s not.

The mechanics in this game are pretty straight forward. As most platformers go, you have a jump button that also has a nice double jump feature. Lucky can also make a circular sweeping motion with his tale to hit objects or knock baddies on their butts. The game lets you move the camera both while Lucky is moving as well as standing still. Both of these are useful when keeping an eye out for coins or even diamonds that are hidden outside your normal viewing space. There are things called “foxholes” throughout the game as well. Sometimes they are ultra obvious and sometimes you simply have to expose them by some means. These are extra hidden levels that are undergound. Some are quick coin levels and some can let you complete a certain task to earn another clover. I love the foxhole concept, sometimes you aren’t even looking for them and you uncover one.

The last couple of mechanics are digging and running. Foxes can apparently dig and Lucky is no different. You simply press the right trigger and he’ll do a foreward flip in the air and dive into the dirt. It is something akin to swimming but, you know, in the earth. The last mechanic, as I mentioned is running. I know it doesn’t sound like anything I should bring up, but the way he run kind of messed with me at first. While Lucky stands on two feet, he runs on all fours. I wouldn’t have too much of an issue with it if it didn’t feel slightly slow. I almost find it faster traversing whatever areas I can via digging. It’s not a huge bummer, but I wish it was just like 5% faster.

Jumping in and out of the small cutscenes are quick and easy compared to the initial load time. The amount of variety in this game too should make it stand out so much more than it has to XBOX owners so far. It’s not just 3D platforming levels, there are also 2D platforming levels. There are puzzle based levels down in foxholes that remind me of puzzles I’ve only seen in God of War. There’s just too much variety to even jam in one review. I cannot recommend this game enough. I only would say that the only real downside of this whole title is that is has zero retail release. If the idea is to really evoke feelings of nostaglia, I would’ve preferred a physical release with a full color manual inside of the game case. 9/10

Replay-ability:

This game was just the biggest and best distraction from work that I’ve ever had. This game is chock full of a fun compilation of game types. It takes so much to get out of one level alone what with collecting the clovers to unlock the main door. I know that there is no additional modes or anything after the game is complete, but that’s okay because the game is simply oh so replayable. The amount of nostalgia that this game gives and the homages that it pays tribute to is undeniable. Also considering the actual cost of the game is lower than other games of the same genre this game is a must pick up even if you never play it outside of once through. That’s right, this game is so good that even if you only play it one time, you should be more than satisfied. It might just be my vote for XBOX One game of the year! I’m making a lot of bold statements in this review, what can I say? 10/10

If you’re looking to jump into Super Lucky’s Tale, then click here.

If you really want to feed into your nostalgia, you can buy the physical version here.

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