New Super Lucky’s Tale Is A Platformer That Will Burrow Its Way Deep Into Your Heart
I have a confession to make. I’m not the biggest fan of 3D platformers. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t dislike them by any stretch, but I’m not exactly crazy about scouring every inch of the same locales over and over again in search of hundreds of whatever MacGuffins I need to find to unlock the next area. Maybe I had my fill of that phenomenon in the N64 era with Super Mario 64 and the Banjo-Kazooie games. Or perhaps my tastes have just changed over the years. Either way, when Playful Corp’s Super Lucky’s Tale—a 3D platformer heavily inspired by Rare and The Big N’s 64-bit romps—made its debut on the Xbox One back in 2017, I really didn’t give it a second thought.
Fast-forward to the present day. Nearly three years and a Switch port later, New Super Lucky’s Tale is now available on the PlayStation 4, and a review copy found its way into the Hey Poor Player mailbag. Usually, I’d kick an assignment like this over to Kenny or Anthony, our resident platformer aficionados. However, having just reviewed the soul-crushing Mortal Shell and Post Void back-to-back, I was really in need of a palette cleanser; Something less gloomy and more upbeat. New Super Lucky’s Tale looked to be the perfect fit with its lighthearted platforming and vibrant visuals. So, after chewing it over for a minute or two, I decided to take the review on for myself. And boy, am I glad I did, because it didn’t take long for Lucky to burrow his way into my heart.
There’s No Out-Foxing This Furball
In New Super Lucky’s Tale, players guide the game’s titular fox through the Book of Ages, an ancient tome with immense magical power that contains entire worlds within its pages. The goal is to make your way through the various worlds within and seek out the missing pages of the book to thwart the evil wizard Jinx and his progeny, the Koopa Kid-esque Kitty Litter, who want to use it to further their evil ambitions.
Being the sly fox that he is, Lucky has a handful of moves at his disposal. He can jump, double-jump, and burrow underground to collect buried items or reach the weak points of certain armored opponents. Lucky isn’t too bad of a fighter, either. He can use his bushy tail to deliver brutal beatdowns to baddies, unleash a homing dive-bomb, and even butt stomp his enemies or objects in the environment, just like a certain mustachioed plumber you’re probably quite familiar with.
The comparisons to Nintendo’s iconic mascot don’t stop there, of course. In fact, taking control of Lucky took me back to the first time I played Super Mario Galaxy with its seamless controls and rock-solid mechanics. From the moment I picked up the controller, I was able to move Lucky around the world effortlessly as I snatched up clusters of shiny gold coins, bounced off the noggins of Jinx’s minions, and explored the colorful, cartoony environments in search of lost pages.
With snappy controls and an excellent camera that you have full control of, I never found myself cursing the game if I missed a jump or whiffed an attack. Everything feels just as it should, making New Super Lucky’s Tale a delightful platformer to play.
Keeping You On Your Toes
New Super Lucky’s Tale’s five unique worlds are all a joy to explore with their distinct themes and tons of visual variety. Ranging from grassy fields that’d look right at home in the Mushroom Kingdom to worm-ridden farmsteads and even a spooky carnival, I was always eager to see where the next chapter would take me.
My favorite area was the Wrestful Retreat. This area consists of a dusty canyon teeming with wrestling-obsessed yetis who, tired of their violent reputation, decided to create a cozy commune dedicated to spiritual enlightenment. The non-stop wrestling puns delivered by the locals and cheesy stage names like “The Ladder Match of the Mind” were just too silly not to appreciate.
One thing I really like is the way New Super Lucky’s Tale keeps you on your toes. Sure, the wide-open 3D environments are the star of the show here. But there are also quite a few 2D stages as well. And despite their old school style, these areas are just as well designed as their free-roaming cousins with their tight platforming and clever stage gimmicks.
Each area concludes with a boss battle against a member of the Kitty Litter before you tackle Jinx himself. These are one of the major highlights of New Super Lucky’s Tale. While not particularly challenging, each fight has its own unique mechanic to keep things exciting. For example, the brawl with the Diva-like Lady Meowmalade unfolds on an electrified dance floor. To beat her, you’ll need to move to the rhythm to move to safe areas, all while dodging lasers before you can pummel her. Every fight has a mechanic like this that keeps the action fun and makes each boss encounter exciting.
Can’t let you do that, Fox
If you can’t tell by now, I had a blast making my way through New Super Lucky’s Tale. But when I reached the game’s end credits, I found myself wanting more. New Super Lucky’s Tale is short, painfully short. As a matter of fact, I completed the game in a single evening. And I did it with a borderline comical stockpile of 30 lives to spare, too.
That being said, if you’re a platformer veteran looking for a challenge, chances are you’re not going to find that here. Still, finishing the main story does unlock the Guardian Trials to help pad out the experience a bit. Additionally, you can always go back to find any pages you missed our plunk down your coins on stylish new costumes for Lucky. But even then, it shouldn’t take you more than a couple of days to see everything the game has to offer.
You‘ve Got To Ask Yourself One Question: ‘Do I Feel Lucky?’ Well, Do Ya, Punk?
Overall, I have to say that I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with New Super Lucky’s Tale. It’s a charming little platformer with superb stage designs and a whole lot of heart. It’s perfect for younger players or those just looking for a relaxing romp in a fantastical world. Sure, I wish it was a bit longer and packed more of a challenge. But at the end of the day, I found it easy to overlook these issues, considering just how much fun I was having. Still, those looking for a game that’ll keep them busy for weeks on end may find the $40 asking price a bit steep. But if that doesn’t bother you, don’t hesitate to make like Lucky and dig on in.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, Switch, PC; Publisher: PQube; Developer: Playful Corp; Players: 1; Released: August 21, 2020; ESRB: E for Everyone; MSRP: $39.99
Full disclosure: A review code was provided by the publisher.