I grew up on 3D platformers. Crash Bandicoot, Croc, Spyro the Dragon, just to name but a few. The past few years have seen a resurgence of this genre, albeit through the remastering of these classic titles. Well, we’re still waiting on a Croc one, but hopefully, it will happen. However, I’ve not found many newer titles that recapture the enjoyment of my childhood. That was until I got my hands on New Super Luckys Tale.
Lucky comes from a long line of Guardians who protect the peace. But when an old guardian, Jinx the Cat, turns rogue and tries to capture the Book of Ages to rule the universe, Lucky must step up to save the day. Sadly, the pages from the Book of Ages are scattered amongst six different worlds that you must explore to recapture and takedown Jinx and his minions so you can get back home to your family.
The game follows a similar pattern to the likes of Crash and Spyro in the way that the game is laid out. As opposed to different lands or warp rooms that act as a hub with a number of levels inside, New Super Luckys Tale has six unique worlds. Each level will offer you the chance to collect four pages from the Book of Ages by completing four tasks, as well as hidden side-challenges dotted through each world which also contain their own hidden pages.
The first in-level task to complete is to collect 300 coins. You can find these lying around, buried in the ground, hidden by being cloaked with invisibility or you can collect them from killing enemies. The second task is to collect all the letters of Lucky’s name, which are often hidden or requiring you to complete tasks to unlock them. The third is a secret page, these are often found in a hidden level inside the level itself. And finally, the fourth page is collected by just reaching the end of the level.
As for the side missions, there are two types, although only one type appears in each world, and you’ll normally find around five or so available. The first type is a puzzle where you move statues around a grid to get them into the appropriate places. The other type is a side mission set by one of Jinx’s minions. You’re put into a ball and made to roll around a grid that you tilt to move You must collect all the coins to complete the level.
Whilst there are only two types, the layout of the puzzles and grids do change each time and so it keeps them fresh. The further you get into the New Super Luckys Tale, the more difficult these side quests will become. Although they posed no threat to my great mind. Admittedly though these probably offer the biggest challenge of the game outside of boss fights. Most are easy, but one or two did stump me until I took a break and revisited.
Before you can progress to the next world, you’ll have to collect a certain number of pages to break a lock on the portal to face a boss. However, you don’t have to collect every page, or even complete every level to get there as the target to reach isn’t usually set that high. And I understand New Super Luckys Tale is a kid’s game or at least a game aimed at kids, but it does make the game somewhat less challenging which spoils it a little. I mean we never got this kind of free ride playing 3D platformers in the 90s/early 00s, so why are kids today being given special treatment?
Still, despite the low bar being set to progress, I still completed each and every level 100%, like a boss. Unfortunately, you don’t get any special reward for doing it really. The only thing I assume it did do is maybe unlock more outfits to dress Lucky up in. These are purchased from a vendor in each world, setting you back 700 coins for each piece of clothing. But you rack up that much from each level, it barely feels like a reward getting a new outfit. I guess it’s what it must feel like to be a billionaire walking into any shop, thinking, “I’ll take that, that and this”, and it barely making a dent into their bank balance.
The levels did show some good variety though, with different themes throughout each world and this is one of the strong points of New Super Luckys Tale. Each level would then offer its own challenges, and occasionally the game would even throw up different style levels too. From your typical walk around and explore style, to speed run style levels that you have to navigate quickly to capture all the pages. So despite it being easy for the most part, it didn’t feel that repetitive. And as you complete levels, the main hub becomes more populated with people you’ve rescued, showing a nice sign that you’re progressing well.
To navigate the levels you can walk/run/jump around or skid above/burrow below the ground. You’ll make great use of these skills as some areas of the level will require you to burrow down to sneak under fences, or to jump to higher ground to help you solve certain tasks. However, I did have an issue on one level where you had to burrow around to avoid a farmer, and if you were caught or finished the challenge, you’d reappear at the beginning again. A couple of times when doing this, the level froze and Lucky was unresponsive, which was strange as I could still pause and navigate menus. In the end, I just had to exit the game and restart.
The other mechanic you’ll make use of in-game is Lucky’s spin. This is used to hit enemies, although you can jump on them too. One hit usually dazes the enemy, and a second hit will finish them off. Except when it comes to bosses. Here, you’ll face a few attacks from the bosses, in between each phase you’ll have an opportunity to attack the boss back. This repeats three times per boss, each phase becoming more difficult. But again, they don’t pose any real challenge, until the end when you face Jinx himself, that did take me a couple of attempts.
New Super Lucky’s Tale really is a great tribute to classic 3D platformers. It feels as charmful and full of wisdom as those from my childhood, it just, unfortunately, doesn’t pose the same kind of challenge. Still, the game was great fun, offered a lot of variety and was just an all-around joy to play. If you have little ones with a Switch, this would be a perfect game for them. But, if you’re looking for more of a challenge, then you may want to look elsewhere unless you’re ok with just having some pure and simple fun.
New Super Luckys Tale is a 3D platformer developed by Playful Studios. The game is an expanded edition of Super Lucky’s Tale that was released for Nintendo Switch on November 8th, 2019.
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