There was a time about 15-20 years ago that you couldn’t throw a stick at a Gamestop without hitting a dozen character platformers. We had Spyro, Sly, Crash, Conker, Tak, Ty, Banjo, Blinx, and so many more that I can’t begin to remember them all. There were some truly great games, but also many mediocre ones, and like most genres that become over saturated, eventually people stopped buying them and developers stopped making them…. until recently. If Super Lucky’s Tale would have come out a year or two ago it would have been seen as a unique call back to a genre long forgotten, but with several high-profile releases lately (some of them quite good) it’s going to have its work cut out for it in order to stand out from the pack.
In the game you play as an adorable little fox, Lucky as he attempts to help his sister and rescue the powerful Book of Ages from the clutches of the conniving villian, Jinx. The series started out as an exclusive to the Oculus Rift VR platform, but developer Playful Corp decided to bring it’s sequel to the Xbox platform in an apparent effort to introduce the character to a wide audience.
When I first loaded the game, my daughter’s eyes lit up when she saw the title screen. “Ooh, what’s this?” she asked as she scooted closer to the television, the bright and colorful world immediately drawing her in. The graphics may be on the simple side and didn’t do much for someone like myself who plays most of the big budget AAA games, but it didn’t seem to bother her in the least. The game is populated with cute and cuddly characters that could have jumped out of any one of the cartoons that she watches. It has a lot of charm and succeeds in creating a world that youngsters will definitely want to spend time in.
As we started playing, I took control to give her a look at how the game controlled and what the objectives were, but I didn’t play for very long before she was asking for the controller herself. She took to the controls pretty quickly and was running around the hub world with ease. She enjoyed exploring the area and speaking with the interesting characters that filled it. I’ve written before about how my daughter gets a bit anxious when it comes to combat in games, so having this “playground” area without enemies that was separate from the main levels was a really great way for her to get a feel for the game.
The gameplay itself is pretty standard if you’ve played these types of games before. You run through the levels collecting coins, jumping and bouncing off of platforms, and swinging your tail to attack enemies. You can also hold the right trigger to burrow underground and find buried treasures. The feel of the game is reminiscent of the Crash Bandicoot games and the only issue we had with it is the somewhat limited control you have over the camera.
After learning the ropes and playing around in the hub world for a while, we decided to jump into the main game. The first couple of levels were no problem and she got through them without too much difficulty, but soon after that the game became a bit more challenging. The game requires pretty quick reflexes and precise movements to navigate some of the levels and my daughter was soon passing the controller to me to help her get through them. That’s not to say that the game is TOO HARD (so far), but for players with less experience it might be a little intimidating.
There are a few different types of levels that change things up a little bit but it’s all pretty familiar fare, and for someone who’s played dozens of these games I struggled at first to stay engaged. But once again, I found that the simplicity and familiarity of it didn’t bother my daughter at all. She hasn’t spent decades playing platformers so she was approaching it with fresh eyes and was loving every second of it. We took a break to eat dinner and in between bites of enchilada she couldn’t stop talking about how much she liked it and asking when we could play again.
When we went back to the game she took more control, searching for hidden objectives and tackling members of the nefarious Kitty Litter gang with increasing proficiency. We still passed the controller back and forth a bit, but more often than not she wanted to be the one in control. It was during this time that my opinion on the game started to soften a bit. I started to realize that approaching the game with 30+ years of gaming knowledge behind me was perhaps putting unrealistic expectations on the game. Not every game has to be a graphical powerhouse or reinvent how we view a certain genre. It can just be a good game. And Super Lucky’s Tale is a good game.
Dad “Super Lucky’s Tale is a charming platformer that will appeal to older gamers who are nostalgic for Crash and Spyro, and younger gamers who will love the colorful world and characters.”
Chloe “It’s a good game. A little hard, but it’s fun. I like how the characters help tell the story.”
Super Lucky’s Tale is available right now on the Xbox One and Microsoft Windows. Microsoft Studios provided us with a copy of the game for this feature but we were not compensated in any other way.