New Super Lucky's Tale (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 17.12.2019

Review for New Super Lucky

Lucky's Tale was Playful Corp.'s big break into VR game development. While it might have gone under the radar when it made use of Oculus' technology, the creator gave the little fox that could another chance with Super Lucky's Tale on Xbox One and PC. Both titles were 3D platformers that had a fixed POV that would follow the fox. Just one look at these titles, and it was obvious that these were aimed for children and strived for easy to pick-up and play accessibility. This is how video games used to look; running around in levels that were full of coins to collect and hidden gems to find. It's a simple formula that has been proven to satisfy and stimulate gamers throughout the ages. For Nintendo Switch, Playful Corp. went back to Super Lucky's Tale, and made some major revisions that completely change the way it's played, offering a totally different experience.

Lucky has a problem. While trying to help his big sister defend a magical book from a team of belligerent felines, he is transported to the realms in its pages. Naturally, this fox must go on a journey through various worlds and hubs, solving puzzles and collecting coupons of power to progress while smacking down a few bosses along the way. The set up could not be any simpler and easier to grasp that even any toddler can understand it. All of this is perfectly serviceable, but there is a complete lack of personality. Lucky and much of the cast of heavies and friendlies are so utterly bland and generic kiddy fodder. The only moments that have any flavour at all are the hint texts that are readable during the loading times between areas.

Screenshot for New Super Lucky's Tale on Nintendo Switch

In 2013 there was a very obscure, PlayStation 3, two-dimensional platformer that had a very striking visual style, and had a very colourful cast of characters: Puppeteer. Like New Super Lucky's Tale, Puppeteer was also aimed for children and had even more simpler gameplay. What helped it become such a fondly remembered cult-classic was its design and offbeat characters. New Super Lucky's Tale does not need to have intricate and detailed cinematic presentation or voice acting, just a bit more personality instead of something that feels so mild. This was something that Rare was a master at, and by extension; Playtonic.

New Super Lucky's Tale is not a sequel to Super Lucky's Tale, nor is it a remake or remaster. It can be best described as an update, or possibly a "director's cut;" but maybe 'unique port' is most appropriate. People who have played Super Lucky's Tale on Xbox One will find that New Super Lucky's Tale on Switch is a very different experience. Most of the levels are the same, but there have been some additions or alterations done to take advantage of the new 360 degree, controllable camera. Lucky himself is also subtly different; he's scaled smaller, runs upright (instead of on all fours) and his design is slightly altered to be more expressive.

Screenshot for New Super Lucky's Tale on Nintendo Switch

Being able to completely control Lucky's view is the most obvious game changer, and has the biggest impact on the gameplay. It is a change that makes for a more engaging experience, but it does have some shortcomings in some stages, where the developer was unable to find a middle ground. These moments are specifically in areas where the POV was originally locked into a side view. There was probably no way around it other than to just make it more faithful to the original Super Lucky's Tale. Mobility and control has been adjusted for the better, making handling closer to 3D platformers of yore. Are these changes worth it for anyone who already mastered the older iteration on Xbox One? Absolutely! The updates and additions made to Lucky's big collect-a-thon make this the definitive version, and one of the more polished 3D platformers that aren't published by Nintendo.

New Super Lucky's Tale's strengths lie in its level design and unique stage gimmicks. This is not the kind of 3D action title where the hero gets upgrades or needs to find something to gain a new ability. Everything Lucky needs is available at the start: burrowing, tail whips and a classic double jump. Everything else lies in the player's wits and reflexes. The team at Playful Corp. certainly did their homework, since there is not a single bum level in the game. Every space is given some utility, and there is always some secret to uncover or coins to collect. Stages are never large or sprawling- sometimes they feel incredibly short.

Screenshot for New Super Lucky's Tale on Nintendo Switch

As well designed as the locations can be, New Super Lucky's Tale can also be too easy. Maybe it is because it is intended for kids, and the overall style and aesthetic is designed to have a feel-good vibe, so the difficulty is meant to match the atmosphere. Even the required amount of coupons to access boss levels are really low, and it's very easy to end up beating the story with almost half of the stages unplayed. The designers must have realized this, because every hub world sets Lucky's page count back to zero. The one constant through-line are coins, which have two purposes: purchasing hats/outfits to make Lucky look less/more lame, or for earning more stage coupons within levels.

Even with all the modifications Playful Corp. made to New Super Lucky's Tale, it is still a very simple and easy to play kind of title. Seasoned veterans of 3D platformers might find this one boring, but the simplistic charm and relaxing gameplay is what makes this enjoyable. There already is Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy for a brutally relentless platformer to fill the gap, and A Hat in Time is very technical with a high skill ceiling to master. Yooka Laylee showed how much an experience can get bogged down with its clutter with tons of things to find and unlock, and, thankfully, Playful Corp. is around to remind people that, sometimes, keeping things simple in itself can be complex. It would have been easy for the designers to fill their platformer with excessive unlockables and elaborate set-pieces. Indie developers with even less resources go overboard. It took great restraint to break things down to their purest elements and make each aspect work perfectly.

Screenshot for New Super Lucky's Tale on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

New Super Lucky's Tale is an excellent 3D platformer for kids who are getting to grips with right stick camera controls. Gamers seeking a challenging 3D adventure will be left wanting. The light visuals and professional-looking bouncy animation are very appealing, and it all manages to scale beautifully from the Xbox One to the Nintendo Switch. The gameplay is deeper, the playability made tighter, and the levels are re-worked to accommodate Lucky's new mobility. The visuals make the expected compromises that come with Switch conversions; lower resolution and a reduction of frame rate from 60 to 30. Yet, it is all worth it for a more finely crafted experience. Lucky himself might be unlucky to be such a boring character, but he is fun to play as, and gets to run around in charming worlds.

Developer

Playful Corp.

Publisher

Playful Corp.

Genre

3D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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