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New Super Lucky’s Tale (PS4) Review

Super Lucky’s Tale was a launch title for the now-discontinued Xbox One X back in 2017, also landing on the Windows 10 store at the same time. This ‘version’ of the game was later released on Steam until ‘New Super Lucky’s Tale‘ hit the Switch last year, taking the original game and revamping a lot of the gameplay mechanics, visuals, cutscenes, and overall polish throughout the game. Now, as of last week, this updated and improved definitive edition of the game not only launched on the PS4 and Xbox One (also via Game Pass), but it also had a sneaky release on both Steam and the Epic Games Store.

Although most platforms only have the latest edition of the game on sale, with the original version being delisted from the Xbox store, if you actually pick up this colourful adventure on Steam then you’ll get both the original and vastly superior version for a lower price than buying the single game on consoles – which is rather strange. As I stated in my Switch review, I’ve not played the original game so my views and opinions are based on the ‘New’ version and what I’ve seen of the original game on YouTube.

I predicted that New Super Lucky’s Tale was coming to the PS4 last year, HERE, and I’m so happy that I was correct. It’s easily one of the best modern 3D platformers you can buy on the Switch, but is my opinion of the PS4 port the same as what I thought of that version? Let’s find out…

New Super Lucky's Tale_ 1

How we all felt when Lockdown was lifted!

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As stated in my Switch review:
Lucky and his sister Lyra were part of the Guardian Order, a group of creatures who were sworn to protect the Book of Ages. This book isn’t like any other, it’s a magical relic which contains worlds and creatures who are just as alive as those in the ‘real’ world. However, just as any story with protagonists and heroes, there also lived an evil antagonist – Jinx was his name. Along with his villainous children, known as the ‘Kitty Litter’, Jinx banished a number of the guardians and set out to try and possess the enchanted book for himself so he may become even more mischievous and evil!

In an effort to protect itself, the book opened up and unleashed a mighty portal. First, it sucked in all that was evil, Jinx and his minions, but it didn’t stop there – it continued to pull everything in until it had obtained that which it needed the most, Lucky! With the book gone, along with her brother, Lyra and her companions had no way to travel around and search for him, they had to just hope that wherever he was, he could find a way back home, alive.

Thus begins Lucky’s New Super Tale, a journey throughout the various worlds which lay within the pages of the book, making new acquaintances and facing off against new enemies. Presenting us with a mixture of gameplay styles, distinct new environments to explore, lots of secrets to find, and a collect-a-thon that early 3D platforming fans will simply love – this game is hard not to like. And so Lucky finds himself leaping from world to world, striving to put right what once went wrong and hoping each time that his next leap… will be the leap home.

** The opening and ending cinematics are completely different from the original Super Lucky’s Tale. The actual game follows the same core plot points, but thanks to the redone videos, it’s nice if you’ve played it previously and were worried it would be a 1:1 copy**

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New Super Lucky's Tale_ 2

Looking rather dapper!

Gameplay
New Super Lucky’s Tale is a very colourful, light-hearted, and whimsical 3D action-adventure platformer with a great mixture of puzzles, open-world environments to explore, hub worlds, and various levels built around certain mechanics. The game itself has been almost completely rebuilt from the original version, now allowing you to control the camera, walk on your hind legs, slide, perform new abilities, and the entire presentation has had a full overhaul which makes it look a million times more detailed and visually stunning. But what is the game like to play?

The game is presented as a number of various styles based on which level you wish to participate within. But, before I get into those – let’s start at the beginning. There are multiple worlds within New Super Lucky’s Tale, accessed by entering a locked door and defeating a boss before getting whisked away to the next adventure. Each of the worlds acts as mini hub-worlds which have doors and ‘foxholes’ scattered around them, each taking you to a new level or puzzle which rewards you with pages of the sacred book upon completion.

Each world has its own theme, characters, enemies, boss, and a self-contained storyline for you to encounter and play through. The NPCs which you meet all talk in gibberish, just like 90s games such as Banjo-Kazooie, yet they’re all incredibly cute and adorable with their cartoon and exaggerated appearance! They offer a little insight into the missions and tips within the more advanced levels, but that’s about as far as their usefulness goes as it’s Lucky’s Tale, not ‘Super Lucky and his new Friend’s Tale’…

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On a side note, there’s a lot of hat and clothing items to unlock as you collect all the pages in each world. These can be mixed-and-matched to create your own style.

New Super Lucky's Tale_ 3

“Boo”

Game Modes
First of all, the main gameplay mode you’ll encounter within New Super Lucky’s Tale is the well-detailed and very interesting open-world levels. These are fully 3D action and exploration missions which usually follow the narrative of the world. The one which I particularly love has to be the carnival level within the spooky world, an open environment where you have to participate in various carnival games and help out different NPCs to obtain tickets so you can ‘buy’ the missing pages and other useful items. This type of level requires you to explore thoroughly as you search for various collectables, playing like a modern (or old-school) 3D action platformer.

There are some levels which operate like the ‘Runner’ franchise, having Lucky endlessly run to the right as you either jump, slide or burrow underground in order to bypass obstacles and hazards. I really like this format is it’s not very straight-forward, you have to hit various switches in order to adjust the world so you can access new areas rather than simply running in a straight line all the time. Similarly, there are some 2.5D side-scrolling action levels in the vain of Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, which is almost a combination of the ‘Runner’ style and the open-world levels, only side-on instead. 

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In all of the above modes, there are four goals you’re trying to achieve:
1. Complete the level in one piece!
2. Pick up 300+ coins in a single run through.
3. Find the hidden page.
4. Collect the letters ‘L U C K Y’ – these can be collected partially in multiple runs if you can’t find them all at once.

Each goal you complete will grant you a ‘clover’ page for the book, pages which are used to unlock the boss door. You don’t need to 100% every level in order to progress (as you only need a few to unlock the door), but you will if you’re going for all of the trophies. Thankfully, each level was a joy to play and very original and fun, so you’ll find yourself actually wanting to 100% the game regardless of the trophies!

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The framerate and/or performance takes a hit in this mini-game!

Bonus modes
Hidden within the foxholes which are scattered throughout each world you’ll find one of two types of puzzle. The first consists of statues which you must hit around a pre-marked maze-like pattern in order to have the fox statues land on a certain point. Most of these are easy but there are a few which will have you thinking about how to complete them. The second type of puzzle is a ‘Labyrinth’-like one in which you rotate the floating world and watch as Lucky rolls around in a hamster ball like he’s come straight from Super Monkey Ball! This leads me to the first issue I had with the game on the PS4 Pro…

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As far as I’m aware, as the game has been advertised as this, New Super Lucky’s Tale runs at 4K and 60fps on both the Xbox One X and the PS4 Pro. The majority of the game, on the PS4, runs great – it’s very fluid and super responsive to the controls. However, when the action becomes intense (such as in the wrestling ring in the final bonus chapter) or when you’re playing the hamster ball mini-game, it’s not so stable. It could be me, as I can’t test the framerate scientifically, but the mini-game feels very jerky and not nice to play, making it harder to be precise and not go face-first into the spikes or fall off the floating world. 

Personally, I would have liked the game to support an aggressive dynamic scale to maintain a stable and smooth 60fps rather than pushing pixels. In a game like this, which is very stylised and cartoony, you don’t need a very high resolution for it to still look great on a 4K TV. However, as it only occurs in a few areas of the game, it may be an issue with the code for that particular mini-game, who knows? Hopefully, it’ll get fixed but even if it doesn’t, it’s not unplayable, it’s just not as nice to play those sections as it is the rest of the game.

New Super Lucky's Tale_ 5

Wrestl… I mean WriggleMania!

Bonus level at the end?
Super Lucky’s Tale had two DLC packs on the Xbox One and PC, Gilly Island and the Guardian Trials. New Super Lucky’s Tale incorporates both of these within the main game, seamlessly making them part of the story in a way which you’d never even realise they were once DLC if you weren’t told. 

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Gilly Island is a new world, complete with multiple levels presented in various styles, foxholes to work through, and collectables to find. There are also dedicated trophies which will force you to go out of your way and find hidden gems and even complete the rather interesting maze level in an unorthodox way! This single world added about an hour or so onto the overall playtime and it’s neatly placed in-between existing worlds as you work towards finding a way home.

The Guardian Trials DLC is a new world which appears after completing the game. It’s an island complete with a bunch of foxholes which lead to much more difficult challenges and mini-games, it also has a bunch of new trophies specific to some of the levels. Instead of simply re-hashing existing stages, the developers have expanded upon the concepts and created tougher and more intense versions.

One level requires you to dig underground and not pop up until you cross into certain zones, others are more advanced hamster ball mini-games (with the framerate issues), there’s a level like Fall Guys with a rising slime that’ll kill you if you don’t hurry, and you can even participate in WriggleMania (a spin on WrestleMania – although it’s more like Royal Rumble!).

New Super Lucky's Tale_ 6

Yeah, that was me – sorry!

Differences?
As I wrote in my Switch review, here are the differences between the original Xbox One version and the ‘New’ edition:

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Aside from the gameplay changes, which I’ll take a look at in a minute, there have been a few noticeable changes in the actual levels (based on watching a few people on YouTube as I played on my Switch/PS4). First of all, a few ‘strange’ changes which I can’t really come up with an explanation for – the following levels have had their names changed. I initially thought there were two more Switch ‘only’ worlds but alas no, they are the same only with new titles:
• Holiday Canyon is now known as Wrestful Retreat
• Spookington is now known as Hauntingham

On top of the names, all of the hub areas have been given a makeover. Judging by the footage I’ve seen, the ‘New’ hubs seem smaller and more condensed in comparison, yet they’re now much more detailed, vibrant, and lively. Some of the levels within the worlds have been altered, it seemed like some of the ‘hidden clovers’ are in different places, some level entrances have moved, and various graphical and layout adjustments have taken place. One thing which hasn’t changed though is the delightful story and the overall narrative – I’ve also been advised some of the dialogue was changed to fit the updated cutscenes and inserted DLC.

The biggest change has to be in regards to the controls and Lucky’s skills. Again, going off what I’ve seen and heard (but not experienced), Lucky now has a few new skills up his sleeves including a slide and enhanced burrowing (which supposedly wasn’t in the original version). Also, a rather controversial change, Lucky now runs around on two legs whereas he used to be more animal-like and run on all four. This simple change is what’s allowed him to now perform some of the new abilities and it also makes him look more human-like in his posture as he explores the environment.

Finally, jumping and movement, in general, is much more precise and no longer floaty – I can’t comment on how it was previously, but New Super Lucky’s Tale controls beautifully. 

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So adorable!

The road to platinum – the difficulty
New Super Lucky’s Tale isn’t a hard game. Personally, I feel that the vast majority of the game hit the perfect sweet spot between being fun and challenging but not overly difficult or too easy. You’ll find that the main story will last you around ten to fifteen hours, including going back and collecting all the missing pages, but a few of the more tricky trophies may bump that time up by an extra five to ten hours depending on your skill, determination and patience.

Most of the trophies will come naturally or simply require you to go back and replay a few missions in order to run through them in a different way or seek out a certain item within them to trigger the criteria. However, there are two very stressful and annoying trophies – complete a certain boss without getting hit and complete all of WriggleMania without getting hit. I’ve read that some people spent hours trying to do the boss as not only do you have to look out for their attacks, but the floor randomly electrocutes you and they summon minions who fire projectiles as well! Wrigglemania… don’t get me started!

I spent about three hours trying to get the no-hit trophy in that mini-game within the final bonus world. Finally, I made it all the way through with no hits but the trophy didn’t unlock. That’s when I gave up on the platinum – for now. I imagine it does work – as I’ve seen people get it – but something clearly stopped it working for me.

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It wouldn’t be too bad if you could hit ‘Options’ then restart the mission, skipping the long intro cutscene, but you can’t. If you get hit you have to press ‘Options’, return to the hub area, wait for that to load then jump back into the foxhole, wait for it to load again, then wait until the cutscene finishes. It’s about a one to two-minute wait to restart the challenge, not long but it adds up when you get hit over and over again!

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Even the bosses are cute!

Technical
New Super Lucky’s Tale is a freaking gorgeous game. It’s so colourful, vibrant, whimsical, and adorable in its art design and overall aesthetics. Other than the hamster ball mini-game, the performance held up and the game rand great on the PS4 Pro which is supposedly running at 4K and 60fps. However, due to the mini-game letting down the overall experience, I’m hoping it’s something that can be fixed with a dynamic resolution or maybe some troubleshooting as to why that particular game feels jerky and less responsive.

I love the music within the game, I’ve had it on whilst writing this review. This is another game which I’d love to see the soundtrack release on PSN so that we could purchase it. I’ve found it on Spotify (but I don’t have Spotify) and I’ve seen ‘questionable’ rips of it online where people have supposedly extracted it from the game files (from the original game). But, there doesn’t appear to be an official place to buy it – seriously, unless PlayStation charges a hefty fee to put your soundtrack on PSN, devs should be providing their consumers with the ability to further support the game and grab the soundtrack.

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Speaking of supporting the game – my final negative with New Super Lucky’s Tale lies within its rather ambitious RRP on the PSN Store.
• On the UK PSN Store it’s £44.99
• On the UK Xbox Store it’s £33.49
• On the UK Switch Store it’s £35.99
• On the UK Steam Store it’s £30.99 (including the original game and both DLC packs)
• On the UK Epic Games Store it’s £31.99
• Physically, the PS4 version is £34.99 at Game and £29.95 at Amazon.co.uk

Why is the digital PS4 version at least £10 more expensive than all other digital storefronts and physical retail? £30-35 is the perfect price, £45 feels too high. To further add insult to injury, the North American PSN store has it listed as $39.99 – that’s £30.41… Either the wrong price has been submitted to EU PSN or it’s been given an artificial tax for no particular reason. As such, I’d advise you to set up a NA account and buy it there if you want it digitally, or go and pick it up from Amazon and instantly save yourself over £15!

Official Trailer:

Final Conclusion:
If you can look past the few occasions of framerate issues and the absurd pricing difference for the digital PS4 version, New Super Lucky’s Tale is a magical adventure game which will suck you in and immerse you within its whimsical and adorable world. The gameplay is about as solid and responsive as you can get, offering various ways to play the many missions and mini-games, all held together with an interesting narrative which is told through imaginative characters and playful bosses. It’ll bring back nostalgic memories of games such as Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie, yet presented as a much more polished and vibrant experience.

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Don’t sit on this game, New Super Lucky’s Tale is a hidden gem which should be played by everyone, even if you played the original version three years ago (or should that be: especially if you played the original version three years ago!).


New Super Lucky’s Tale is out NOW on the Switch, PS4, Xbox One, Steam and the Epic Games Store. It’s also part of Game Pass on Xbox and PC and if you buy it on Steam, you also get the original ‘Super Lucky’s Tale’ and the two DLC packs. I would recommend the PS4 version but at the moment it’s been priced unfairly on the PSN store, so you’re best picking it up at retail if you wish to grab that version. 

A copy of the game was kindly provided for review purposes

New Super Lucky's Tale

£44.99
9

Final Score

9.0/10

The Good:

  • - Very colourful, whimsical and adorable, even the enemies are all very cute
  • - Solid 3D platformer as well as a number of other genres depending on the level or puzzle you choose
  • - Fun story with seamlessly integrated DLC
  • - Fun for people of all ages whilst providing a little challenge for those looking to grab the platinum
  • - Even if you've played the original game, this version is a complete overhaul with new visuals, mechanics, level structure and narrative

The Bad:

  • - The two no-hit trophies are rather stressful to earn!
  • - There was a little slowdown and/or performance issues in the hamster ball mini-game on the PS4 Pro
  • - The pricing for the digital edition on EU PSN doesn't seem right/fair. All other digital stores and the NA edition are all more reasonably priced
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