Looking for a 3D platforming game experience for the Nintendo Switch in the same vein as old 3D platformers from the N64-era? Here comes New Super Lucky’s Tale, also known as Super Lucky’s Tale for Xbox/PC, to fill that void.
There are lot of comparisons that can be made between this game and games like Banjo-Kazooie or even Super Mario Odyssey, but there are enough differences to set this game apart from the rest.
The game was developed and published by Playful Corp for the Nintendo Switch (Microsoft published the game for the Xbox One/Windows version). New Super Lucky’s Tale is an expanded version of Super Lucky’s Tale. It contains the DLC that was released for the Xbox/Windows version.
Lucky is a young fox that really wants to join the Guardians with his sister Lyra. He’s still young, but he has a lot of heart. The Guardians protect the Book of Ages, a magical book that contains entire worlds.
One day, an evil cat sorcerer, named Jinx, shows up to find Book of Ages. He, along with his mischievous family, the dreaded Kitty Litter, attempts to steal the Book of Ages.
Jinx used to be a Guardian, but betrayed everyone in an attempt to steal the Book of Ages. He banished most of the Guardians to unknown worlds, and locked up everyone that got in his way. The few remaining Guardians went into hiding with the Book of Ages.
Jinx and the Kitty Litter catch up to Lyra, Lucky, and the remaining Guardians, but something strange happens to the Book of Ages when Jinx uses his magic. A portal is opened. Jinx, the Kitty Litter, and the Book’s pages are sucked in.
The portal also takes Lucky as well and Lyra’s Guardian sigil. The Guardian sigil allows Guardians to travel freely between the different worlds. This allows Lucky to travel, but strands Lyra in her hometown of Foxington. Lucky’s quest begins and he must retrieve all of the pages and restore the Book of Ages.
The game has you collecting pages of the Book of Ages. There are multiple hub worlds that have several levels/bonus stages. Four pages can be obtained per level and one page per bonus stage. There are a certain number of pages to collect per world and collecting them all unlocks costumes to purchase in the costume shop.
I’m honestly not sure if not collecting the pages affects anything in the later part of the game (I collected everything before completing the world). Once you collect enough pages, you’re able to fight the boss of that particular world (a member of the Kitty Litter). Once you defeat the boss, you can move on to the next world.
The game predominantly features 3D platforming gameplay, but there are 2D side-scrolling sections as well. The 2D stages are further broken up into ones where you can freely move around as Lucky and ones that auto-scroll. When I say auto-scroll, I mean Lucky runs nonstop until he reaches the end of the stage.
While I absolutely praise this game for the great, nonlinear, 3D stages… the 2D stages leave a lot to be desired. The 2D stages just don’t have the same appeal to me as the 3D stages do. The gameplay doesn’t change much between 2D and 3D stages (with the exception of the linear vs. nonlinear level design and auto-scroll), so there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the 2D stages. I just did not enjoy them. I guess it’s nice to have the variety though.
There are four different ways of obtaining pages in every stage. You get a page just for completing the level, collecting the letters L, U, C, K, and Y, collecting 300 coins, and completing a mini-game or timed event. None of these are very hard to accomplish per level, although there were a few levels where I had trouble finding all of the letters on my first attempt (especially on the 2D side scrolling stages that feature auto-scroll).
There is a slight learning curve for the game, but it isn’t a hard one to overcome. Lucky has the ability to double jump, swing his tail to attack enemies, and burrow underground. The double jump comes in handy for sure but, if you’re like me and have played Super Mario Odyssey, you may find yourself trying to pull off long jumps and Cappy assists. I know I found myself trying to use the tail spin to prolong my jump but that always led to disaster.
The burrowing skill is useful for avoiding enemies, attacking enemies, and accessing areas inaccessible while above ground. The difficulty steadily increases as you progress but never seems impossible. The game really ramps up the difficulty when you get to Foxington. It’s Lucky’s time to prove he is Guardian material by completing 16 very difficult stages.
You can spend your coins on different costumes in the costume shop. You unlock costumes by beating bosses, collecting pages, and collecting items (e.g. hot dogs). The costumes are for aesthetic purposes only and don’t affect gameplay at all, but they are cool and the do make Lucky look very stylish. It’s the same concept from Super Mario Odyssey.
The game is very bright and colorful and the characters are amazing. Everyone just looks happy to be there. Each character, including NPCs, has a unique personality. I always went out of my way to see what a character had to say. Each world has a different cast of characters including golems, worm people, “peaceful” wrestling yetis, ghosts and fish people, each with their own personalities.
The developers went out of their way to add puns and references to a lot of characters’ dialogue. The puns and references that the characters make are top notch.
For example, I’m a big wrestling fan, and the yeti village is filled with so many funny lines and characters that wrestling fans will recognize and enjoy. My favorite yeti has to be the Penultimate Warrior. This isn’t the only example of punny humor. Some of the loading screens have jokes from our favorite mail golem. The developers put some serious effort into these puns/references, and I really appreciate it.
The characters speak a pseudo language when dialogue pops up on the screen. Unlike other games I reviewed recently, this fits the game very well. It’s reminiscent of Banjo-Kazooie, driving home that N64-era feel.
The music is also very enjoyable in this game. Every world has its own memorable theme and they’re all lively enough that it adds to the overall feel of the game.
The game features a three-heart health system. If you lose all three hearts, you lose a life. If you lose a life, you start back up from the last checkpoint. The same thing happens if you have more than one heart and fall into water or a pit. The life system is very dated and is unnecessary given that you start back from the checkpoint anyway.
It seems like Lucky has trouble picking up speed sometimes. I hate to keep comparing this game to Super Mario Odyssey, but… Mario’s movement seems much more fluid than Lucky’s.
For instance, Mario is able to pick up speed very easily but it seems like Lucky has trouble picking up speed to make jumps. It makes timing jumps a little hard when you can’t get the momentum. But, oftentimes the jumps are never too great that you need to build up a ton of speed.
Maybe I’m just rushing things. I definitely noticed I was missing my jumps more often during the Foxington stages. Maybe I just had the mindset that I was still playing Mario (so it’s my fault more than anything).
New Super Lucky’s Tale is fun for all ages and is a pretty solid platformer. There were only a few times when I felt frustrated due to the gameplay, and most of those were in the post-game challenge stages. The game leaves itself open to a sequel and I honestly hope that we get one. This game is an enjoyable experience and I would love to play more.
It’s fairly short, with 5 main worlds and the bonus world after the credits. The game can be purchased for $30 at most local retailers, so the price matches the content in my mind.