Super Lucky’s Tale was released back in 2017 as an Xbox console exclusive alongside the launch of the Xbox One X – it was also a ‘Play Anywhere’ title allowing you to play the game on both the Xbox One and Windows 10 Store with a single purchase. Since then, the game released on Steam as well as became part of the Xbox GamePass on both PC and Xbox, yet it still remained a console exclusive to Microsoft’s console. However, seeing as the Nintendo Switch is literally booming with popularity, and the fact that a loveable 3D platforming fox would be perfect for the platform, a few alterations were made and New Super Lucky’s Tale made its way to the hybrid console.
From developer Playful Studios and physical publisher PQube Games, New Super Lucky’s Tale isn’t identical to the previous version, there have been a number of alterations and adjustments to the gameplay. I’m hoping that this means PlayStation owners may also get to experience this new adventure, or maybe even the original VR-only Lucky’s Tale via PSVR. But, we’re here to take a look at the latest game and how it works on the Switch…
Full disclosure, I have GamePass on the PC (as I don’t own an Xbox One) but I’ve not played Super Lucky’s Tale yet. So, any comparison or change mentioned will be based on what I’ve read. My opinion below is based on my experience with the game in handheld mode ‘only’ on an original launch model Switch. Also, the reason for my delay in reviewing this is because my Joycon developed drift so I had to repair it so that Lucky would stop walking off the edge of things! Anyway; New Super Lucky’s Tale…
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.
** On a side note – 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 **
New Super Lucky’s Tale isn’t your bog-standard 3D platformer, it’s a homage to the infamous collect-a-thon games such as Banjo Kazooie (a game I’ve heard a few Nintendo fans have heard of) and Donkey Kong 64. The game is also presented in various formats in order to keep things fresh and interesting, similar to Yooka-Laylee only this game feels more polished and optimised for the Switch, almost as if it was created solely with this console in mind.
The majority of the game is played as a 3D platformer, allowing you to fully rotate your camera all around you as you make your way through hub areas and levels full of secrets, side missions, tonnes of coins to pick up, and various collectables. However, some levels switch it up a little and change the perspective and gameplay style. There are some levels in which you’ll see the action side-on, allowing you to move left and right in a 2.5D plane, but not forwards or backwards – as in games like New Super Mario Bros. Then there are some ‘puzzle rooms’ which have a fixed camera which simply moves with you as you walk left to right, presenting you with a puzzle to solve in order to obtain a bonus clover.
On a side note – I’m not sure if it’s always been this way but you collect four-leaf clovers to unlock doors to the boss and, subsequently, the next world. However, the game advises you need ‘pages’ to move on, but clovers aren’t pages. I just thought that was a bit strange.
One of my favourite gameplay mechanics though has to be the ‘Runner’ format. If you’ve ever played Runner3 or Bit.Trip Runner before, you’ll know what I mean. The camera is on young Lucky from a slightly angled over-the-shoulder view. Just like Forrest Gump, he can’t stop running as he makes his way from the beginning to the end of the stage. However, you can jump, kick and slide in order to not only jump over and take out enemies, but you also adjust the course and move via alternative pathways so you can pick up the collectables. These segments are clearly a homage to the ‘Runner’ franchise and I love that they’re included.
What’s your goal?
No matter the actual gameplay format, there are four objectives (four-leafed clovers) per level – other than in the bonus stages – and the criteria are always the same:
1. Simply completing the level will grant you a clover
2. If you find 300 coins, you’ll get an additional clover
3. There’s a secret clover hidden in each level for you to find
4. Collecting the letters L U C K Y will give you the last clover – these can be collected partially in multiple runs if you can’t find them all at once.
• The bonus rounds, which are usually via foxholes in the hub area, are puzzles or arena battles which reward you with a single clover upon successful completion.
I’ve heard from a few people I know, who bought the game, that they feel the number of clovers you need in order to open up the boss door and face the final challenge, before moving to the next world, should be lowered. However, as far as I’m aware, the number of clovers you need HAS been lowered in comparison to the original version of the game and I personally had no issues with progression. Maybe it’s because I grew up with games like Banjo Kazooie, or perhaps it’s because I get a little OCD about collecting things as I hate finishing a level when I know I’ve left something behind, but I always had more than enough to move on by the time I felt I was ‘done’ with a particular world.
All in all, I think it took me around ten hours to complete New Super Lucky’s Tale, not including completing all of the challenges in the final world. It’s not a very long game but I had so much fun with it that I’ve actually started playing it again on my American profile so I can recollect everything – each profile can only have one save and it autosaves. Depending on your skill level, or age, it could take you much longer or less time – I just wish the Switch (or this game in particular) had trophies so you had something ‘extra’ to work towards once you’ve completed it.
My pet peeve with New Super Lucky’s Tale is the lack of any formal progression system. You start the game with three life hearts and you end the game with… three live hearts. Other than the customisation, which I talk about below, there’s no progression-based skillset or ability upgrades on offer. Sure you’ll get to perform various abilities during certain stages, but the Lucky you start the game as is the same as the one who you see just before the credits roll.
This, in itself, isn’t a bad thing as it’s a game aimed at children and it doesn’t want to make the game too easy or difficult by introducing mechanics which could get confusing for younger children. However, it can also lead to making people feel bored, like they’re not progressing, and wanting to unlock new cool things and gain an advantage over the harder bosses later on into the game. Maybe offering an extra heart at the end of each world would have been enough to add to the feeling of progression? I would say more moves but he’s a fox which attacks with his body parts, so there’s only so much you can give him.
Either way, it’s not a big issue, I just prefer games which allows you to get stronger – physically – as you work through the story and become the hero you’re working towards becoming.
Customise your little Lucky
As you play the game, you’ll become obsessed with collecting every single coin you see – well, you will if you play the game as I did. So, what can you spend your hard-earnt/salvaged money on? Fancy Dress! Each world you travel to will unlock new items for you to purchase in the shop, a suit comprised of clothing and a hat which can be mixed and matched to your choice (providing you have enough coin). I spent the majority of my playthrough with a headband and some rather dashing purple pants on, but that soon changed once I realised they had a tophat for sale!
I quickly spent all my money and changed to wearing my aforementioned purple pants and the simply divine tophat.
In regards to bonus content, two pieces of DLC came out for the PC and Xbox version of the game, Gilly Island and the Guardian Trials (which take place in Lucky’s home of Foxington). Both of these DLC areas are included within New Super Lucky’s Tale as part of the main game, offering up a brand new hub area with multiple levels and a boss, as well as Foxington with a bunch of more difficult challenges once you complete the game.
New Super Lucky’s Tale is easy, it’s very easy – except the later bosses which are rather difficult. Initially, I was getting through the game without a care in the world. I was loving it and having tonnes of fun, but for a 35-year-old, there was hardly any challenge. Then, a boss appeared with lasers, floors that killed you if you stand on the wrong tile, and missiles! It was a bit of a shock and I must have lost about 10 lives, maybe more, trying to beat him. I’m honestly putting that down to my drifting Joycon but I still think the difficulty spiked a bit. This also happened on a few bosses as I felt underpowered due to the lack of any personal progression – but it only took a few of the many lives I’d collected throughout the game off me.
As such, if you’re an older gamer like me, although you’re bound to love the game (literally nobody can’t love this game), you could find it a little easy and more of a casual pastime than a challenging adventure. However, if you have a younger family member or friend, they’ll both love the game for what it is and also enjoy the satisfaction of being able to complete it with little to no help from us old guys!
Changes from the original?
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). 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 switch hubs seem smaller and more condensed in comparison, with a few things missed out, but that could be in order to keep the Switch version running as well as it does on the weaker hardware. Some of the actual levels within the hubs have been altered slightly as well as it seems some of the ‘hidden clovers’ are in different places, the 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 match the slightly altered premise.
The biggest change has to be in regards to the actual 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 – can’t comment on how it was previously, but New Super Lucky’s Tale controls beautifully (with working Joycons).
If I didn’t know better, I would say that New Super Lucky’s Tale was a game created and published by Nintendo themselves, that’s how cute and pristine the game looks. Sure there are some instances of framerate drops and slow-down in the hub areas but the game holds up pretty well whilst within the actual levels (when it matters the most). The entire game is very fluid as you jump about, dive into the ground then pop back up and take out enemies from under their feet before you either jump on their heads or slap them with your tail. It’s just so colourful, bright, vibrant and such an adorable game to play.
The music is very ‘retro’ with each world and level you jump into sounding like the surroundings your in. It’s hard to explain but take the Wrestful Retreat level, it’s like a desert with Hulk Hogan wannabes. The music there is very western and ‘wild west’-like. I’m going to see if I can pick up the soundtrack for this game somewhere as it’s one I wouldn’t mind for my collection as well.
The NPC characters within the game have no voice, only talking in random mumbles and grumbles, but a few bosses, Lucky and Lyra all talk.
Some reviews I’ve seen for the game have said that there’s a lot of loading in comparison to the original game. I wouldn’t say the loading was bad as I’ve seen much worse on the console with other games, but it isn’t that snappy. Some worlds may take up to about 20 seconds to load and then about 10-15 seconds to load up the levels within it. Honestly, it’s not that bad considering once the level or hub area has loaded, it won’t load again until you either enter or finish a level.
New Super Lucky’s Tale is one of the best 3D platforming games on the Switch today – the quality and presentation is Nintendo first-party level. If you’ve played the game previously on PC and/or the Xbox One, there’s so much more than simply ‘New’ added to the title as there are adjusted visuals, new skills, re-designed levels and hub areas, new cinematics, a rotatable camera, and even more precise controls. As a Switch owner, I’m glad this game was able to branch outside of the Xbox console exclusivity and I’m hoping, considering the game is so different to its initial release, that we’ll also get it on other platforms too. It may be quite easy for seasoned gamers but it’s just so much fun to play, everyone should buy it.
Whether you pick up the game digitally via the e-Shop or physically via our friends over at PQube Games (on December 13th), New Super Lucky’s Tale will entertain and provide hours of enjoyment to anyone of all ages and skill levels. Plus, with Christmas coming up soon (if you’re reading this review as I post it), now’s the perfect time to treat a loved one to a new adventure.
**If you want to try before you buy, there’s a demo on the e-Shop**
New Super Lucky's Tale£35.99
- - Very cute and family-friendly
- - Colourful, bright, bold colours, the game looks like a Nintendo first-party title
- - Tonnes of changes and improvements over the original Xbox title from 2017
- - Includes both DLC packs as part of the main story
- - A nice casual game for seasons gamers, challenging but not too hard for younger gamers
- - There is a few difficulty spikes with the bosses. It's not 'hard' but it's harder than the levels you've just played
- - No progression-based mechanics. The Lucky you start the game with is the same when the credits roll, no new skills, abilities, heath upgrades, etc
- - It's not affecting the score but I would have loved some in-game achievements to give me incentive to carry on playing once I collected everything