New Fox who dis?
Full disclosure…I really liked 2017’s Super Lucky’s Tale. It was exactly the sort of game the Xbox portfolio was missing and for me, it was even better that it launched in time for the Xbox One X release. A solid little platformer that harkened back to the 3D character platformers of the 90s and early 2000s. While not without it’s issues, Super Lucky’s Tale was a game brimming with potential and at the time, it seemed we may not get the chance to see it fulfilled.
But developer Playful persevered and released two DLC packs for Lucky, the Guardian Trials and Gillie’s Island. Then out of nowhere during Nintendo’s E3 2019 Livestream New Super Lucky’s Tale was announced exclusively for Nintendo Switch. Then equally out of nowhere, New Super Lucky’s Tale was announced and released only days ago for both Xbox One, PC and PlayStation 4.
While many initially thought it was a sequel, New Super Lucky’s Tale is more of a Definitive Edition of the first game…on steroids. Rather than just bundling the DLC with the game, repackaging it and calling it a day, Playful have taken extra steps to try and ensure this truly is the fulfilled potential the first game so desperately promised.
Have they succeeded?
Old school charm, modern sensibilities
New Super Lucky’s Tale really manages to capture some of the best parts of great platformers both modern and classic without feeling unfocused or disjointed. Staples like the double jump, coin collecting and colourful characters meet hub worlds, portals and burrowing.
While most will immediately feel the Banjo Kazooie vibes while playing Lucky’s Tale, I really couldn’t pick just one game that I feel the developer drew inspiration from. There really is bits and pieces of everything in there and yet the game manages to mostly have it’s own identity through it’s characters, world, sharp level design and its biggest strength being the gameplay variety it provides.
Playful have really cleverly implemented a variety of gameplay styles and elements that keep the game from feeling stale and at the same time don’t ever feel out of place. You have your normal 3D platforming which represents the bulk of the games play modes, but you also have 2D platforming weaved in, on rails gauntlet runs, chess like puzzle levels and even boss battles that incorporate shmup elements. It can’t be said enough how much this prevents the game from feeling repetitive.
A subtle renovation
It’s actually great how Playful have taken on the feedback from the first game and addressed basically every single thing that was criticised about it. The immediate change players of the first game will notice is the camera. A strange omission from the first game, but we now have a full 3D camera all without really affecting the level or world design.
Many griped that the controls felt “floaty” in the original and they have been tightened up immensely. In my opinion, even slightly to the detriment of a movement animation I was very fond of. Originally Lucky galloped on all fours like a fox would, where now he runs on two feet like any other anthropomorphic platformer character. Obviously not a deal breaker but I can understand why the change was made as too much animation would have been sacrificed to make the controls as tight as they now are.
Other quality of life improvements have made a less noticeable but equally impactful difference like automatic coin collection. Having to constantly run around collecting strewn coins after an enemy kill or puzzle completion was tedious and frustrating. By having coins collected automatically, the game flows far smoother than it did before and it really enhances the experience of making your way through the game.
The game also received visual improvements with the most noticeable change coming in the polygon count. While the game has a very colourful and intentionally stylised look, characters looked more rounded and at native 4K the game is a genuinely pretty one.
They even went as far as to almost completely revamp the achievement list to make it far more accessible to younger players (the game’s key demographic) removing all the grind based ones and cheap difficult ones. They really left no stone unturned here.
Sequel or Definitive?
There was Lucky’s Tale, the VR exclusive platformer that was free to Oculus Rift owners. Then there was Super Lucky’s Tale, the Xbox exclusive sequel a year later. Now we have New Super Lucky’s Tale. Going by that naming convention sequence, you’d assume New is a sequel to Super. It’s technically not, but then it’s more than your usual Definitive Edition too. There’s enough added content, changes and upgrades to basically qualify this as a sequel honestly and even for those who enjoyed Super, you’ll definitely notice a lot of new stuff here.
New Super Lucky’s Tale is basically Playful making the game they should have made – and probably wanted to make, back in 2017. It’s the fulfillment of all the promise showed by Super back when the Xbox One X launched.
There’s more than enough content here to keep younger gamers busy and even older gamers nostalgic for the genre will enjoy what’s on offer. The caveat being that the game has no difficulty settings and more seasoned gamers might find it a touch easy. But I feel the game is enjoyable enough to not notice how easy the game is and just soak up all the platforming goodness being thrown your way. There’s outfits to buy, secret stages to find and a reasonable amount of collectibles that don’t feel overwhelming or are difficult to attain.
It’s been on Switch since November last year, but just launched on Xbox One, PC and PS4 on the 21st of August. As an added incentive, it launched straight into Game Pass on Xbox and PC so there’s really no excuse for fans of Super not to dive in. If you’re a fan of mascot 3D platformers and haven’t played Super, then do yourself a favour and give New Super Lucky’s Tale a spin.