Out now on PlayStation 4, it’s a New Super Lucky’s Tale review – a fun platform game with a host of 3D and 2D variants and a few puzzles thrown in the mix.
Not since Titus the Fox have I enjoyed becoming a fox as much as this title from Playful Studios and PQube. It’s a rich blend of nostalgia for the 3D open-world-like titles from the 64-bit era, but solid platforming action that doesn’t push the boundaries so much that you’re out of your comfort zone.
It’s a nice welcome feeling for a game such as this. You’d be right in thinking New Super Lucky’s Tale was a game I enjoyed, so let’s dissect it a little further with a rubber scalpel, as we don’t want to hurt the poor bugger.
New Super Lucky’s Tale Review
If you were lucky enough to play Super Mario 64 the first time around, you might look at New Super Lucky’s Tale with familiar eyes. Though it isn’t a revolutionary game in terms of gameplay or presentation, it’s gorgeous nevertheless. Aside from a few timed sections, this feels as free as the moustached plumber’s first venture on the N64.
Lucky can wander around several worlds and hop into any level he chooses, much like the paintings in Super Mario 64, but if you want to fight the boss of that level, you’ll need to collect enough pages to proceed.
There are four pages to each level, as well as a few bonuses scattered about. The standard setup of a level is straightforward enough to get 100% completion:
- Complete the level.
- Collect over 300 coins.
- Find the hidden page.
- Collect letters to spell out ‘Lucky’.
For the most part, I was able to get 100% on the levels in my first attempt, other times took a few tries either because it was a scrolling level where you couldn’t backtrack if you missed anything or I was crap and kept dying.
Lucky is fueled by a few hearts to represent health as well as collectable lives. On occasion, I’d get stuck in an area or keep falling to my doom and squandered half a dozen lives here or there, but I couldn’t tell you if there was a game over screen or continues as it never came to that. And no, I’m not insinuating that I’m a pro gamer – New Super Lucky’s Tale is more on the easier side.
Not Such The Cunning Fox
As can be expected, the early levels are a bit of a tutorial and other than a few timing sections similar to a Mario title where you have to collect coins before they disappear, there wasn’t any challenge.
That’s not a bad thing as the worlds that Lucky explores are gorgeous – a perfect blend of pastel-coloured scenes, soft lighting and… well, it’s all just lovely.
There’s been a fair few dark titles of late such as Distraint 2, Hellbound and Dark Room that I could do with a bit of candy floss entertainment. But, let’s just come back to the difficulty again before this feels more like a carousel than a rollercoaster.
Controlling our cunning little friend is easy peasy: the left analogue controls Lucky, X or O jumps and square will give a swish of his tail to knock out enemies or activate switches.
With the right stick, you can manipulate the camera controls; left and right to swing around and up and down to zoom in and out. The manual controls are spot-on, but New Super Lucky’s Tale isn’t without the classic 3D platform wonky camera angle like with Ty the Tasmanian Tiger HD.
A few lives were lost, and teeth were shown when the camera would swing mid-jump, resulting in another fall into the abyss. If you take your time however, the fine-tuning of the cameras can correct this perfectly; it’s just a tad annoying when they swing out when you least want them too.
One of the skills that Lucky possesses is the ability to tunnel underground like a… fox. Holding L2 or R2 on any soil-based land will have him go underground to evade projectiles, sneak past enemies and access hidden areas (there are a fair amount) but he’ll pop back up on the solid ground. It’s a pretty neat trick, and there’s no cooldown or limitations other than hitting a rock.
Boss battles aren’t exactly epic – the mini-games are a little harder such as a Marble Madness game where you have to roll old foxy about to collect all the coins in a small maze.
Unfortunately, this is all done by the joystick but would have benefitted from tilt controls. I seldom use these features on the PS4 or even the Switch, but it would have been much more fun and intuitive as the challenge is pretty tricky and gut instincts feel like you could be physically leaning in unison with Lucky’s movements. I selected the level again and on my next playthrough did it really quickly. Throws the tilt controls out of the window, methinks.
Fantastic Master Fox
Collecting all these coins do have their benefits, and if you’re a customisation whore like myself, you’ll be in your element with New Super Lucky’s Tale. Making friends pretty early on, that sly old fox, one of the characters you encounter is Geovanni who’s your fashion dealer – as you complete levels, he offers a variety of outfits.
Now, this doesn’t directly improve your game, but seeing Lucky run around in lederhosen was amusing and further incentive to unlock all the other goodies on offer, even if they’re only cosmetic.
When it comes to visuals, New Super Lucky’s Tale doesn’t disappoint, and the overall aesthetic was excellent. There was a bit too much text at times, and cutscenes can’t be skipped, which is a pain.
The soundtrack is a little like overeating cheesecake; it’s sweet and enjoyable, but after a few levels in, you want to puke. Ok, a little harsh, but the music was a bit too jovial for me, but did have me humming along in the end.
I approached the game as a job at first as it’s a title that needs to be reviewed, but within about 10 minutes, I’d fallen in love. It’s exuding positivity on the verge of vomiting (cheesecake reference), but that’s not such a bad thing.
More importantly, while New Super Lucky’s Tale is a single-player game, I played this with my family, and though the youngest couldn’t control Lucky, the older one could progress pretty far without frustration. On that basis, this is probably best suited for a younger audience, but that didn’t stop me.