Title: New Super Lucky’s Tale
Developer: Playful Studios
Publisher: Playful Studios
Genre: 3D Adventure Platformer
Available On: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: November 8th, 2019
Super Lucky’s Tale released on Xbox One and PC in November of 2017 to mediocre reviews. It was a clear homage to classic 3D platformers made by Rare like Banjo-Kazooie and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. But it felt a bit stale. The camera was from a fixed angle, it was too short, and Lucky didn’t feel that unique in how he controlled. New Super Lucky’s Tale, however, makes several improvements on the original that make it more than worth any platforming fan’s time, even if it doesn’t bring much new to the overall genre.
Once Upon A Time
The game’s plot concerns a group of Guardians who protect the Book of Ages, a mystical tome that houses its own worlds and citizens. But after the feline sorcerer, Jinx, and his kitty litter (literally his children) lead a coup, a portal opens up. It sucks in the villains, Lucky, and the book, whose pages become scattered across six worlds. However, in the original game, it was only four worlds.
The game doesn’t work too hard when it comes to worldbuilding. It doesn’t give too much characterization on the Guardians, Jinx, or even the protagonist. Although, much like classic 3D platformers, that’s not necessarily needed. All you need to know about Spyro the Dragon is that he’s sassy and resilient. All you need to know about Lucky is that he’s perpetually joyful. If he’s standing still in a level, he’ll always look at the camera with a big grin on his face.
Interestingly, the side characters are showcased a bit more. Each world Lucky explores comes with its own citizens that often bring out laughs. There’s hardly any voiceover work in the game, though the NPCs speak gibberish similarly to those in Banjo-Kazooie. They also sound a bit differently depending on the world. For example, the farm world houses many worms that speak with a Southern twang.
The dialogue is also pretty funny. One of the best characters in the game is Greg the Mailgolem, who gives the player tips in-between stages. Sometimes, these aren’t even real tips. Sometimes they’re more about how he REALLY wants to be Lucky’s best friend. One tip told me I could purchase new costumes, but that he thought I looked fine just the way I am.
New Super Lucky’s Tale is made up of six worlds and each world has several levels inside it. Portal doors lead to each level, though there are also secrets to uncover in each world in the form of extra puzzles or coins. Solving a puzzle will earn you a page from the Book of Ages and there are four others hidden within each level. Lucky’s job is to collect all the missing pages. However, less than half of those found in each world are needed to open the door to that world’s boss fight. It’s basic 3D Platformer 101.
Most levels are 3D environments that Lucky can explore with an improved, player-friendly camera over the original. Some levels are 2D with the very rare few being endless runners. But they all basically operate the same way in terms of what the player needs to accomplish. One page can be found by collecting 300 coins of which there are way more than 300. Another is hidden in a secret section that tests the player’s platforming abilities. Another is earned by finding hidden L-U-C-K-Y letters similar to the K-O-N-G letters in Rare’s classic Donkey Kong Country on SNES. And one is found after reaching the end of the level.
Lucky can double-jump and attack with his tail. But his unique platforming element is the ability to burrow under soft surfaces or slide on hard ones. Burrowing can uncover coins and avoid enemy attacks. But outside of the few endless runner levels, the game never reaches its full potential when stringing these moves together. It uses them well enough individually so that each level is still incredibly fun, though there are also no power-ups or new moves to freshen things up.
Easy Breezy in New Super Lucky’s Tale
New Super Lucky’s Tale won’t offer a significant challenge to those who have mastered other games in the genre. The L-U-C-K-Y letters are never that hard to find and there are way more than 300 coins in each level. Finding 300 coins will also earn you an extra life after completing the level. There are also extra lives in each level and plenty of health if you ever do get hit. Earning 100% on each level isn’t difficult in the slightest.
That isn’t to say the game isn’t fun as the level design is still creative and the gameplay still satisfying. Plus, the silly NPCs you meet along the way are more than enjoyable. The boss fights are a bit tougher than the average level. And the statue sliding puzzles found in each world did cause some head-scratching. But if I ever died, it was usually due to my own carelessness. This is a perfect platformer for younger players or those who missed out on the games it’s paying tribute to.
Verdict: New Super Lucky’s Tale is both great as an improvement over the original and as a tribute to classic 3D platformers. Its characters and dialogue are often funny and its world design unique. It doesn’t bring too much new when it comes to gameplay and experienced players will find it a bit too easy. But it’s still an enjoyable experience for any missing the days of colorful, anthropomorphic mascots.
- Bright and Cheery Aesthetic
- Great Level Design
- Funny Characters and Dialogue
- Excellent Homage to Classic 3D Platformers
- Too Easy
- Limited Moveset
Nintendo fanatic, comics enthusiast, and fantasy novel reader. I write about the things that make me passionate and binge the shows that hold on tight and don’t let go. Also a writer for WatchMojo.