There has been quite a large wave of 3D platform games in 2017. Starting off with Yooka Laylee, Super Mario Odyssey, and the awesome Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, and now Super Lucky's Tale has come along with the intention to fill the void created by the lack of Crash Bandicoot on the Xbox One. Super Lucky's Tale is also technically the only Xbox One X launch title that released on the same day as Microsoft's 4K console. While I am sure the intention was to review this on the X, we are not getting the console until 22 December here in SA and I did not want to wait until then to review the game.
Super Lucky's Tale is as simple as it seems. You take on the role of Lucky, a fox that gets transported into four magical books by a group of bad cats known as the Kitty Litter. Each world is in a way controlled by one of these crazed cats and as you adventure through them all you will take them down one by one. Super Lucky's Tale is not by a long shot Xbox's answer to Mario. If anything, it is everything not to do when creating a 3D platformer.
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While the game has charm, its sluggish controls, and lack of a camera system was a major inconvenience at all times. Lucky explore an open world hub for each book he is in and steps into magical doorways that lead him to each new stage. These stages do mix up gameplay as some of them work as linear platforming stages and other are fully-explorable open hubs. This is where the game's most important features start to show their hideous colours. With very limited camera control you cannot rotate the camera around Lucky at all, rather snap it across three axes in hopes that you can see where you are going. Often backtracking would be a tedious exercise as you would not be able to see where you are going as you would be walking into the bottom of the screen. No, you cannot change the camera to see the angle you are headed.
Sluggish controls also create an unpleasant platforming experience as jumping, walking, and even burrowing underground felt lagged out. Most of the enemies are in the air too so jumping and making sure you land on them was a pain given that you could not see if you were in line with the enemy and also the fact that the overall movement system was unresponsive.
Every new book has a hub to explore as well as a handful of levels to complete before being able to unlock the boss of that hub. The goal of each level is to get to the end and along the way collect golden clovers that will pave the way to the next level and boss. There are 99 in the game and you get them by collecting more than 300 coins in each level, finding the hidden clover, finding the letters LUCKY, and of course completing the stage. The issue here is that you need these clovers to advance in the game so if you are being annoyed by these poorly developed platforming mechanics, then you will have a tough time gathering these clovers. The last boss needs a whopping 80 to unlock which meant that by the time I was there I had to actually go back and replay some missions in order to unlock the final fight.
It is an unpleasant grind and the final boss is just another broken experience thanks to the game's poor movement and camera systems. It feels as if the only major draw of the game is the 4K support which I was unable to see unless I used my PC on my 4K TV as I do not have an Xbox One X yet. At least the game supports Play Anywhere so this was possible. Nothing, besides the mini-games in Super Lucky's Tale, was worth the time. The mini-games are cleverly designed totem chess-like puzzles that require you to move around statues into specific spots to light them up. Another great mini-game was the marble grid that let you move a ball across a puzzle layout on a table while collecting coins to unlock the end. These mini-games are unfortunately very far and few between and I would have loved much more of them.
Still, the level design in Super Lucky's Tale is decent with each stage glowing with personality and pride. From a strange slaughterhouse with way too much colour to the spooky swamps of a travelling carnival, Super Lucky's Tale has some great locations to visit. Where the game falls short is how you visit them and the trip is hampered by the terrible platforming.
Super Lucky's Tale had potential to be a killer platformer on the Xbox One but ended up being a painful experience thanks to its terrible controls and lack of camera system. If this is ever on sale then grab it, but prepare for some questionable deaths.
Available On: Xbox One, Windows 10 | Reviewed On: Xbox One S + Windows 10 | Release Date: 7 November 2017 | RRP: R509
This review is based off a review copy provided to us by Megarom Interactive