While Microsoft is beefing up existing titles so they’re Xbox One X Enhanced at the launch of the super-powerful console, Super Lucky’s Tale is one that will actually be new.
The sequel to Lucky’s Tale, available on Oculus Rift, this Super iteration is a strange one — a Rare-like platforming collect-a-thon that doesn’t really take advantage of the X’s power. Released at the same time as Nintendo’s near-perfect Super Mario Odyssey, that big dog tends to assert its dominance over developer Playful’s adorable little fox quite easily.
The titular Lucky, blue cape and all, begins the game on a quest to rescue the Book of Ages and his own sister, a popular Guardian (not to be mistaken to Destiny 2‘s slightly less-popular Guardians). To do this, Lucky needs to traverse across themed-hub worlds to beat bosses, collect Clovers and generally right wrongs.
In the vein of Banjo or Yooka, Super Lucky’s Tale plonks the player in a hub world full of zany NPCs, collectible coins and hidden secrets. Within the hub are individual levels, each with four potential Clovers to collect. One is earned simply by finishing a level, another from finding the individual letters L-U-C-K-Y in the level, a third for collecting 300 coins and a final Clover that’s hidden behind a special challenge.
These Clovers are extremely important; each hub’s boss is gated behind a specific Clover count, meaning you’ll be straining near the end to hit a specific amount before you give things a go. To mix things up a bit, there are different levels that break up the potential monotony of a 3D platformer; 2D, speed running and mazes are littered amongst special puzzle levels that test your brainpower. The latter, simple shuffle puzzles, are the most rewardings bits of the game.
Armed with a positive attitude, Lucky’s skills are few. He has a double jump, the ability to burrow under dirt (but not rock) and a tailspin power that usually dazes and sometimes can end a baddie. To ensure an opponent’s demise, it’s best to simply jump on one’s head, Mario-style. Doing so usually provides a bit of an in-air boost that’s useful to gain a bit more height.
Collecting coins and finding Clovers is the name of the game, and the gating behind bosses means you’re forced to replay levels to grab as many items as you can. For the most part, the levels are enjoyable, varied and cute… but when you’re forced to replay level for the third or fourth time because you can’t find that last Clover, that cuteness tends to fall to the wayside.
Similarly, and especially evident when playing Odyssey alongside Super Lucky’s Tale, platforming is sometimes off. While lighting effects are usually quite impressive, Lucky’s shadow sometimes goes a bit out of whack; I found myself jumping into many an enemy rather than on its head. Overall, death doesn’t really have any consequences; if you run out of lives, you simply get booted to the hub world and issued new ones.
For a game released on the same day as Xbox One X, Super Lucky’s Tale certainly didn’t take advantage of all its power. There are extremely noticable framerate drops in menus and in loading screens, and an HDR notification never triggered on my brand-new LG C7 TV like, say, Gears of War 4 did. There really wasn’t any noticeable difference when playing on Xbox One S in 1080p or Xbox One X on 4K, despite the title being touted as Xbox One X Enhanced in the My Games & Apps menu.
Super Lucky’s Tale is by no means bad — it’s simply good; fun, but easily forgettable. If it was released at a different time than Odyssey, it may have made more of an impression, but alas, here we are.
Despite a cutesy aesthetic, parents be warned: your kids are going to need your help to get through this one. Plan accordingly.
Super Lucky’s Tale was reviewed using a promotional code primarily on Xbox One X and a 4K TV, accompanied by testing on Xbox One S and a 1080p TV. The code and Xbox One X were provided by the publisher. Click here to learn more about Stevivor’s scoring scale.