Super Lucky’s Tale feels familiar in a lot of ways, so much that I believe I’ve seen this game before. I was half right in saying that the first iteration was originally an VR exclusive, but this game is actually a sequel rather than a port of the lukewarm launch title for Oculus Rift.
Trading in the advent of virtual reality the developers at Playful are hoping for broader appeal by jumping on the 4K bandwagon of the Xbox One X; Microsoft’s latest Hail Mary pass this console generation. It is a colorful platformer heavily reminiscent of old-school classics like Super Mario and Donkey Kong Country, basically a short and relatively engaging adventure suited for kids and families alike. In short: it’s not Super Mario Odyssey, but it’s far, far from Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back.
The story is something we’ve seen before as Lucky — a perpetually enthusiastic fox donning a blue cape — is haphazardly sucked into a magical Book of Ages. With his sister assisting him they must right the wrongs of the devious Jinx and his bumbling feline children. This is a premise to explore four unique worlds and meet head-swapping rock people, to an amusement park full of hipster ghosts.
The general gameplay is a mix of exploration, mini-quests, with an occasional throwback of 2D action to ramp up the challenge. It is an easy game to pick up and play with simple controls that involve double jumping, a tail attack, and the ability to burrow underground. There’s also an emphasis of gathering golden clovers wither by completing stages and undergoing the usual collect-a-thon of coins and letters (L-u-c-k-y), to keep you busy on your journey.
A lot of the item scavenging is necessary padding because Super Lucky’s Tale is an extremely short game even for casual gamers. Many people including kids can breeze through this in roughly 4 hours with mild skill involved. Mature audiences will scoff and be fatigued by forced cutsenses and fixed camera controls, but the difficulty and pitfalls eventually pick up to varying degrees.
Another reason I’m reviewing this game is that this title is natively enhanced for Xbox One X (and PC via Xbox Play Anywhere), which ticks all the visual boxes in the refreshed console’s repertoire. The aesthetics beam like a cartoon and provides a different merit that 4K is able to bring out. The details are indeed sharp but it’s the colors that actually pop off the screen better, even more so when the expanded palette through HDR is enabled. Although there better examples that make incredible use of the console (Forza Motorsport 7, Halo 5: Guardians, and Assassin’s Creed: Origins) playing this on whatever Xbox One you have will look fine.
As a whole, Super Lucky’s Tale doesn’t break the mold compared to other platformers we’ve played. We have a competent but somewhat underwhelming game seemingly intended to showcase the prowess of the Xbox One X, like the original tried to do for the Oculus. However, a lack of variety and length makes this something you can play once and forget about shortly after. In short: a decent romp with 4K/HDR added.