Up All Night To Get Lucky
HIGH A delightful platformer that’s accessible for all ages.
LOW Too easy for platforming veterans.
WTF Is there any Lucky merch? If so, where can I buy it?
Where are the mascot platformers these days? Sure, we still have Italian plumbers and blue hedgehogs, and it seems like lombaxes and bandicoots are making a comeback, but what happened to the huge variety that was common in the PS2/GameCube era? It may seem like a running joke in my reviews but I still have a deep love for 3D platformers, and especially for budget entries that feel like they belong on older consoles.
These kinds of games may not be as easy to find as they used to be, but they’re not totally gone, and New Super Lucky’s Tale is here to save the day. Starting life as a VR title before moving its way to the Xbox One as Super Lucky’s Tale, NSLT is an enhanced port now available on all consoles.
Players control Lucky, a young fox thrust into an epic adventure to reclaim lost Pages from the Book of Ages. This book is home to different worlds and is the target of Jinx, a cat who’s the antagonist of the campaign. Sure, the story is pretty basic but it provides more than enough motivation for players while also feeling like a delightful Saturday morning cartoon.
NSLT is a 3D platformer where players are taken to different worlds that act as hubs for individual levels. Each level tasks the player with reaching the end after completing some missions ranging from gathering members of an all-worm rock band for a big show, opening up umbrellas for overheated beachgoers, or trying to deactivate machines that cause chickens to become massively huge. It’s weird but charming, and that phrase seems to be NSLT‘s mantra.
Platforming and navigating feels great. Lucky controls like a dream, being able to double jump, burrow into the ground and perform a spin with his tail. By the end of the game, players can juggle between these moves to get to hard-to-reach places and obtain pages. In a nod to old-school design, Pages comes in four flavors — one for collecting 300 coins, one for collecting five letters that spell LUCKY (ala Donkey Kong Country), one for completing a bonus room and one for simply reaching the end of the level.
While the level of difficulty is fairly easy and simply finishing levels is a breeze, these collectibles make up most of the challenge and provide plenty of incentive to explore every level carefully — chasing these Pages down was the best part of NSLT for me. Getting 100% (something I never do) had me combing every area for secrets.
NSLT also manages to pack in some serious variety, with each world offering different types of levels. There are the standard 3D sandbox areas and even some 2D side-scrolling ones (my favorite since the patofrming in them is great).
My least favorite levels were NSLT‘s auto-running sections which have Lucky automatically moving forward. These got annoying fast thanks to how they halted my progress towards 100%, but the option to replay levels immediately after completing them is a welcome touch. Thankfully, these auto-running levels are few and far between.
Besides being places to pass through while traveling between levels, the hubs also house some bonus rooms that either consist of Sokoban-style puzzles (where players have to move statues to certain spots) or a series of mazes that players must navigate marbles through.
While some may think New Super Lucky’s Tale is too easy, I appreciate its accessible approach to 3D platforming, and I found it to be a great way to kick back and unwind as everything here is scientifically designed to make me smile — there are loads of charming touches like the looks on Lucky’s face, or when enemies danced along to the music during one boss fight. While nothing here is mindblowing and it doesn’t push the genre forward, NSLT absolutely manages to maintain a sense of joy and wonder lost in most modern games.
Disclosures: This game is published and developed by Playful Studios. It is available on PS4, PC, Switch and XBO. This copy was obtained via publisher and was reviewed on PS4. Approximately 15 hours were spent in single-player and the game was completed. There is no multiplayer.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E for Mild Cartoon Violence. The official ESRB description reads as follows: This is a platformer game in which players assume the role of a fox (Lucky) on a quest to rescue a book from a villain. As players run and jump through side-scrolling and 3D-themed environments, they can hop on enemies and/or use a tail spin to stun/dizzy them. Enemies generally disappear amid puffs of smoke and colorful light effects when defeated.
Colorblind Modes: Colorblind modes are present in the options menu.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Gamers: All the dialogue is delivered through text bubbles and the action on screen does not require audio cues. Text cannot be resized or altered. This game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: No, the controls are not remappable, but there are plenty of preset options. The y-axis can be changed.
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