Wednesday, 9 May 2018

The tale of a lucky fox

Super Lucky's Tale

Platform tested: Xbox One X
Released: 2017

Review: There's not a whole lot of 3D platformers outside of Nintendo's hardware these days. Perhaps a genre that's had it's primetime many years ago. Nonetheless, it's nice to see a title or two turn up now and then. Seemingly coming out of nowhere at the Xbox E3 showing of the Xbox One X in 2017, Super Lucky Tale raised a few eyebrows of interest. A cute and colourful platformer running in 4K on Microsoft's new hardware.

The inclusion of SLT into the Xbox One X reveal lineup was perhaps somewhat a mistake, although it deserves to get the publicity, I think many people gathered this as a huge budget title. Which it is not and perhaps it's hype has been made into something far bigger than it aimed to be in development. The reviews have, as a result of this, been fairly lukewarm and it influenced me enough to wait until a sale hit the game before purchasing it. This backdrop brings me to this review of both the main game and the recent DLC add-on. I was pleasantly surprised and had a lot of fun with this game. Reviews aside, lets take a look from my point of view.

SLT boasts a mild and pastel coloured 3D world in full 4K and 60fps on the Xbox One X, a nice upgrade from the 1080p and 30fps on the ordinary XB1. The upgrade to 60fps gives the controls a more precise feeling. Game design boasts some fairly simple geometry, but is nicely designed and pretty. It's clear that this game isn't a triple A budget game, built on the Unity engine and all, but considering it's limited development I think they've done a great job. Sure, the graphics are fairly simple, but they are pleasant to look at, with a warm and welcoming fantasy landscape.

Most levels are open 3D ones, but the gameplay always moves forwards into each level. As such, backtracking can be a bit of a pain, revealing SLT's first bump in the road: the camera. It follows the cute main character, a little fox named Lucky, just fine when walking into the screen, but venturing towards the screen to backtrack makes the viewpoint limited. The button to zoom in and look around the environment is very restricted in this regard too, you can only look forwards into the world. There will be parts of levels that are unnecessarily difficult to view as a result of the camera, never game breaking, but an annoying and unnecessary limitation nonetheless.

Luck-ily (see what I did there?!) the gameplay is simple and fairly responsive to play. Lucky controls well, albeit a little sluggish, and included in his standard platform moves; attack and jumping, he also has a burrowing mechanic. This allows him to dig down into the ground and find objects underneath the surface as well as using it as an attack on some enemy types. There's a nice variety in enemies and their attacks to, keeping you challenged along the way.

Each world you visit has a set amount of levels within it's hub. Each hub offers stuff to unlock, explore and ends with a boss battle. It's a tidy and neat system as each level has four clovers to obtain; one for completion, another to find a secret, a third to collect coins and a fourth challenge one. It's an addictive way to make you collect each clover to fully complete the game at 100%. Like many other 3D platformers it's a game which begs for a full completion. Each hub sports a colourful and cute environment setting and levels within shift between being fully 3D to classic 2D controlled levels, lots of variety all round. I really appreciated the inclusion of puzzle levels in the hubs too, they turned out to be quite fun to complete!

SLT is a fairly short, but reasonably priced game as such. I recommend the DLC that's out too, called Gilly Island, to add it in your playthrough. It has a whole new hub world with a handful of levels within, there's even a nice share of really tricky puzzle levels thrown in too. Location wise set on a cool beach location. It also adds some new game mechanics for some of the levels, which is a nice touch.

I played through SLT with my wife; in av classic "singleplayer, but let's make it coop" fashion. We swapped the controllers for each level and ended up really liking the game, and while I do understand that some of it's mechanics could be polished upon and the control system tightened up, it stands as a warmly recommended family game. It's a nice departure from the more violent and adult orientated games on the system, exploring a fairly thin genre by today's standards. Charming, fun and a fair challenge to complete, get Super Lucky Tale if you are into platformers, just don't expect it to be triple A budget, Super Mario level quality.



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