Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the game that looks better on the Switch than it does on the Xbox One X: New Super Lucky’s Tale! You may remember Super Lucky’s Tale as the game everyone mistook for a new Conker title and then got really bummed when it turned out to not be a new Conker title. The disappointment was understandable at the time. I mean, despite having tons of memorable IPs under their belt, Microsoft has never really been able to figure out how to do a classic action/platform game. To date the best 3D platformer on the Xbox is Halo 2 somehow, despite being categorized as a FPS.
Because of this, the original Super Lucky’s Tale was mostly overlooked when it first dropped back in 2017. Running against a titan like Super Mario Odyssey and indie darlings like A Hat in Time didn’t exactly make Lucky’s debut go any smoother. However, thanks in part to Nintendo & Microsoft’s new working relationship/blood pact to dunk on Sony, Lucky’s been given new life on the Nintendo Switch, and the developers at Playful definitely did not waste their second chance.
The story follows the Order of the Sigil, of which Lucky is its youngest member. The Order’s job is to protect The Book of Ages, a mysterious magic book said to contain entire worlds within itself. After a run-in with antagonist Jinx and his litter of kittens, Lucky is separated from the rest of the Order, trapped inside the book, and its pages scattered. It’s up to Lucky to find the pages, declaw the cat armada, and return to the Order in one piece.
This game is your typical fair when it comes to 3D platforming. Lucky has a couple of different jumps, a sweet tail whip attack, and the ability to burrow underground. This is pretty much your loadout for the entirety of the game, and you utilize these simple moves through a variety of both linear and open-world puzzles. Along the way, there are plenty of collectibles and hidden bits scattered around each level to satisfy the completionist in all of us. For more experienced players the earlier levels may come across as mind-numbingly easy, but fortunately the difficultly curve is near perfectly balanced. To describe the handling, I would say it’s a cross between Yooka-Laylee and Super Mario Odyssey. Lucky’s actions are buttery smooth, but with a bit more weight to each step. It’s arguably on par with A Hat in Time in terms of satisfying gameplay. The extra tinkering with the controls and interface in this improved version definitely shines through here.
Yeah, it’s not just cheeky Nintendo branding; NEW Super Lucky’s Tale really is a new experience. The story has been greatly expanded, additional music and art has been added, and a lot of the biggest complaints people had with the Xbox One version of the game were improved in the jump to the Switch. Probably the biggest of these complaints was with the camera and its lack of 360° rotation in the original version. Well, it’s here, and it works great. People also had a lot of issues with the framerate and lighting effects dragging down the presentation. These have also also been fixed; the lighting in the game has been upscaled and, with the exception of the occasional framerate dip in handheld mode, the visuals don’t hinder the playing experience whatsoever.
Unfortunately, while the expanded content brings the game up significantly from its original state, it’s still going to underwhelm some people. The campaign is still on the shorter side and while the characters and setting shine brightly in the writing department, visually they’re very dull. Not dull, as is color, but dull in concept. New Super Lucky’s Tale very much suffers from that diet-Crash Bandicoot – vaguely tropical, outdoor aesthetic – for the majority of the game and it’s such a played out look at this point that it doesn’t really say anything about the world or the characters in it.
What I would love to see more than anything is a proper sequel to be made down the line. If Yooka-Laylee was able to get a sequel, I don’t see why we can’t also get Super Lucky’s Tale 2. Playful has been able to refine the gameplay down to where it can absolutely hold its own on the Nintendo Switch, even among the kings and queens of the genre. Taking the time to go back and do the first game some justice was absolutely cool to see, and absolutely shows the studios passion for the character. Imagine what interesting stories they could tell if they take the next game out of the paint-by-numbers colorful worlds.
New Super Lucky's Tale Review
- Graphics - 8/108/10
- Sound - 7/107/10
- Gameplay - 9/109/10
- Lasting Appeal - 7/107/10
Final Thoughts: GREAT
While it’s definitely suited for a more casual audience, once you pick up New Super Lucky’s Tale it’ll be a hard game to put down. It may not be Conker, but this is an IP bursting at the seams with potential. The addictive gameplay and charming characters really bring it home. If you were curious about this once Xbox One exclusive, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Evan Roode is a full time journalism student and amateur game historian. His favorite song from Guitar Hero III was “Even Flow”.