3D Platformers are often thought to be a thing of the past. While the genre definitely hit its picked in the late 90s/early 2000s, the genre has remained alive in some capacity for years since with an influx over the past couple of years in particular. Of course, Mario has seen its fair share of 3D platformers throughout the years with the most recent having only been 2017 with Super Mario Odyssey. In recent years we’ve also gotten Yooka-Laylee–a spiritual successor to Banjo Kazooie, we’ve gotten remakes of the original Spyro and Crash games in the Spryo: Reignited Trilogy and Crash N’ Sane Trilogy.
Now we have New Super Lucky’s Tale–a revamp of the 2017 Xbox One exclusive, Super Lucky’s Tale, the sequel to the 2016 VR title Lucky’s Tale–the developers, Playful, clearly have a bit of a Nintendo naming complex when it comes to this series.
New Super Lucky’s Tale follows the story of Lucky, a young fox guardian. The mad cat Jinx attacked the guardians with his ‘kitty litter’ army of cats in an attempt to get the ‘book of ages’–a book that can open portals to different worlds. Jinx used a spell to send most of the guardians to different worlds but Lucky and his sister, Lyra, escaped with the book and protected it for years until the kitty litter caught them. The book scattered its pages across the worlds along with Lucky and the kitty litter. The tale then follows Lucky’s journey to piece the book back together and to open the gateway between worlds once again.
New Super Lucky’s Tale is at its core a 3D platformer. If I had to compare its style to one title in particular it would be the Super Mario 3D Land/3D World titles as it takes on a similar levels style. However, New Super Lucky’s Tale takes inspiration from so many series that it’s hard to compare it to any one title. Level variety can consist of anything from a classic 3D platformer, to a 2D side scroller platformer, an auto-run side scroller, or even a 2D vertical level. Boss fights often consist of top down components as well, further adding to the variety of camera angles and gameplay styles present in the game.
The main game consists of five hub worlds with a bonus world being unlocked after beating the final boss. Each of the main hub worlds consists of your main levels and some bonus levels. The main levels are where you see the bulk of the gameplay and can be in any of the style mentioned above. Each of these worlds has 4 objectives that all unlock a page of the book of ages. These are to beat the level, to find all the letters to spell out the word “lucky”–a clear inspiration from the Donkey Kong Country series, to find a secret page hidden in the level, and to get 300 coins in that level. None of these are very difficult but I did find myself having to backtrack for a missing letter in a few levels. The bonus worlds consist of one of two styles, either a statue pushing puzzle, or a tilting ball maze. The puzzles were really fun and had a good difficulty level to them, the maze however was just frustrating and didn’t really add to my enjoyment of the game. I found myself just wanting to get the mazes done as fast as possible to get past them but of course that only added to my mistakes and made it take longer. I appreciate the effort in adding in different game styles but in general titling mazes in games are usually frustrating and not exactly the most fun.
New Super Lucky’s Tale treads the line between a remake and a port. On the one hand, this isn’t a full fledged remake of the game as the game only came out a couple of years ago and is ultimately meant to be the same game, just with a few updates. That being said, there is a lot different from what I can tell. I have never played the original but for the sake of writing this I looked into some of the differences between New Super Lucky’s Tale and Super Lucky’s Tale and turns out the changes go beyond then snazzy name upgrade.
Right from the start you’ll notice that while the opening cutscene eventually leads to the same outcome of Lucky being sucked into the book’s various worlds–the plot you’re given is very different. The enemies are the same but the new version gives so much more background on the foxes. It also explains the book of ages as something the foxes have always protected whereas the original takes place immediately after Lyra finds the book on one of her adventures. New Super Lucky’s Tale also positions its story as Lyra telling Lucky’s tale and makes it seem like Lucky’s been gone for years–thought we aren’t actually given a timeframe. It’s little differences made that make the revised story feel slightly more fleshed out and grand.
Some other differences include a lot of level design changes including different placement for coins and switches, certain objects being removed or added, boss fights designed differently, etc. Of course there are also some graphical improvement with improved lighting and shading–overall the game looks really good. I can’t say I’m familiar with all the differences between the two having not played the original but there is definitely differences present. It does more than enough to justify the “new” added to its title.
The music in New Super Lucky’s Tale is well done. The backing soundtrack fits the mood of the level at hand. The game is even voice acted to a degree. While the npcs throughout the game only give the classic grunts and gibberish you’d expect from something of this genre–Lucky and Lyra have slightly more complex dialogue. Lyra even has some fully voice acted narration at the beginning and end of the game. It’s a nice touch to hear some effort put into the voice acting while at the same time the plot isn’t exactly super in depth and survives perfectly fine without constant high end voice actors speaking the dialogue.
Overall, New Super Lucky’s Tale is a great game. It isn’t very long, even with completing all of the levels to 100%, but it is an enjoyable adventure. It’s nice to see a new 3D platformer and this turned out to be a great one. It has the classic feel of the genre that we’ve all come to love but still has the modern standards we expect in games today. I definitely recommend picking this title up.
New Super Lucky’s Tale is available now for Nintendo Switch. This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher for that reason.
New Super Lucky’s Tale
- A good modern 3D platformer accessible for gamers of all ages
- Fun and colorful art style and variety of level styles
- Multiple objectives in each level
- No technical errors present in my playthrough
- Not very long
- Some levels in particular are very short
- Very easy game to complete
- Maze levels are frustrating