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Capsule Review: New Super Lucky's Tale

(A note on versions - Super Lucky’s Tale originally released in 2017 for PC and Xbox One. New Super Lucky’s Tale is an improved and expanded version released in 2019 for the Nintendo Switch.)

A simple and cartoony 3D collectathon platformer. Play as Lucky Swiftail, anthropomorphic fox seeking the missing pages of the Book of Ages to reunite with his family after an attack from the evil sorcerer Jinx. These pages are the game’s main collectible gating progress through the game and are earned by exploring colorful and inviting levels and completing a variety of challenges.

It’s a kid-friendly game with a warm and cartoony aesthetic, a child hero, a simple story that never gets too dark, and a small moveset that’s easy to learn. Lucky can walk, jump, double-jump, spin-attack, and pounce - that last move being the only complex one. Done in midair, it’s a ground-slam that can activate certain plungers. On hard surfaces (rock/wood) it becomes a slide that’s faster than walking but a bit harder to control, while on soft surfaces (dirt/grass) it turns into a “burrow” that lets Lucky collect partially-buried coins or go under certain walls, enemies, and hazards.

The game takes place over a series of themed worlds (farmland tended by talking worms, a carnival haunted by friendly ghosts, etc.) that act as explorable hub areas with coins to find and NPCs to talk to. Each world has a handful of platformer levels - most are 3D areas that can be explored semi-linearly, some are linear 2D levels, and a few are even 2D auto-runners. Each level has four pages to find: one for reaching the end of the level, one for collecting three hundred coins within the level, one “secret” page that is hidden or rewarded for completing an optional challenge, and one for collecting the five letters that spell “LUCKY.” The challenge is fairly low and I almost always earned all four pages on my first attempt.

In addition to the platformer levels, each world has a few puzzle mini-levels that award a single page when completed. A couple worlds use sliding block puzzles and a couple use Labyrinth-like courses that place Lucky in a marble and task the player with tilting the level to roll him into all the coins and avoid the traps. These non-platforming mini-levels felt out of place to me and I mostly didn’t enjoy them. Thankfully, it’s possible to skip them - completing a couple of the main levels awards enough pages to fight the world boss and move on to the next area. The boss fights are fairly standard, involving avoiding hazards and sometimes defeating a few normal enemies while waiting for the boss to open themselves up to attack.

The game’s mechanical simplicity, shallow story, and (mostly) low challenge level make it well-suited for players new to platformers; for skilled genre veterans the appeal is more likely to come from exploring the game’s friendly worlds. As such, I found the game at its best when its levels were strung together as cleverly-contextualized set-pieces - my favorite world was Hauntington and I had a blast earning tickets at the carnival attractions to trade in for prizes. If you aren’t looking for a hardcore challenge but a warm and gentle world to explore for a while, you can have a good time here.

I Stopped Playing When: I beat the final boss, having collected all pages up to that point. After the credits roll, there is a bonus world but it doesn’t have any normal levels. It has a number of extra-hard puzzle mini-levels, harder remixed versions of the boss fights, and platforming challenge courses that aren’t contextualized as part of a level and don’t feature any exploration. I’d already been put off by the final boss (it’s a bit of a difficulty spike, but worse than that it’s long so you have to redo a lot of it to practice the later, harder parts) and this content featured my least-favorite parts of the game without shoring them up with the parts I’d actually enjoyed, and I didn’t bother with it.

Docprof's Rating:

Three Stars: Good. I liked the game enough to finish it (or just play it a bunch, for games that don't end). I recommend it to most genre fans.

You can get it or learn more here.