It has been a while since we played any 3D platformers. We rather like the colourful 3D platformers, but unfortunately, the avalanche of gritty ‘realistic’ shooters and action platformers almost completely buried them. We figured Super Lucky’s Tale would be a great time as any to relive the 3D platformer.
The story starts off with an opening narrative which gives you a gist of why you should care about the game and the world.
It a fairytale-esque story about a magical book called the Book of Ages and a family of foxes called the Guardians who are sworn to find and protect it from an evil bunch of cats called the Kitty Litter. Our protagonist is Lucky, a cute little fox whose elder sister, Lyra, finds the book just as the evil cats converge upon them. Before anything can happen, the book then opens up and sucks them all (sans the elder sister) into another world. Now Lucky has to defeat all of the evils cats and escape, saving the world in the process.
Each cat acts as a boss and lords over a single world that is divided into smaller levels. To unlock these levels, Lucky has to find clovers, which can then unlock other levels and finally, the main boss. Defeat the boss and you move on to the next world. If you’ve played Crash Bandicoot you will feel right at home with this form of level structure.
Overall, the story is pretty generic and, to be honest, pretty flimsy, but its charming aesthetic and fairytale plot keeps things interesting.
This is by far our favourite thing about the game. The game looks gorgeous and colourful and wouldn’t look out of place in a children’s book. It fit the story perfectly.
As mentioned earlier, each cat acts as a boss battle for a different world. And each world has its own unique style and characters. You’ll meet tiny stone golems in one world, worm farmers in another and so forth. The world of Super Lucky’s Tale isn’t short on diversity.
If you zoom in a little, you will notice that there are hardly any details on anything. For example, Lucky and the cats have no detail on their fur. Compared to something like Ratchet & Clank, it’s all smooth polygons. The same applies to water, grass and almost every other in-game object. However, considering the colourful and simplistic look that the game is trying to go for, it isn’t something to complain much about.
The movement is pretty fluid and we liked how Lucky scampers about on all fours limbs. His jump is a very fox-like pounce and a double jump is indicated by a puff of air. Enemies are dispatched with a satisfying (and family friendly) poof when you jump on them. Whenever Lucky dies, he gets dizzy and falls over. The game has no qualms about letting you know that it is trying to go for a childish aesthetic.
While we were taken by the graphics of the game, it’s the gameplay that drove us out.
Super Lucky’s Tale is a platformer and so there is a lot of jumping involved and here we find the biggest flaws in the game. You do not get full control of the camera, which in a 3D platformer is almost criminal. We’ve lost count of the number of times we have plunged to our death only because we couldn’t clearly see where we were jumping or even going. This led to imprecise jumping, which more often than not was the main cause of our death. More than the enemies or the puzzles. You get three hits before you lose a life and every time you lose a life you start from a checkpoint. Once your 5 lives are up, you start the particular world you are in from the beginning.
Another thing we had a problem with was that for a game about jumping, we felt that Lucky’s jump was pretty small, even with the double jump ability. However, we aren’t going to judge the game for that. Other abilities included a spin attack in which Lucky hit enemies and objects with his tail. Then there was the ability to burrow under mud and soil. You did not get the chance to improve upon them or gain new abilities. Hitting your enemies stunned them while jumping on them finished them off.
As mentioned before, you unlock more levels by collecting clovers and there are a myriad of ways you can collect them. Besides getting a clover for ending a level, you can get more by collecting coins, performing secret tasks like herding chickens, or finding all the letters that spell out L-U-C-K-Y. Each level has four clovers that you can collect. This was the most fun part of the game in our opinion although the puzzles themselves weren’t that challenging.
There are also some levels that mix things up. For example, there are some in which you get a 2D perspective and others in which Lucky keeps on running forward and you have to time your jumps and attacks.
This was the crux of the game in our opinion and was the only reason to keep playing. We stopped caring about the plot five minutes into the game and lack of new abilities and powers gave little sense of progression.
Super Lucky’s Tale – Verdict
Super Lucky’s Tale is a good looking platformer with plenty of variety and charm to keep things interesting. While the game seems to be geared more towards the younger audience, adults can play it too. However, the fixed camera angles and imprecise jumping make the game frustrating to play, which is a big flaw in a 3D platformer.
|Developer: Playful Corp
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Price: Rs 1,999 (Microsoft Online Store India)
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He sparkles … like a fairy