Playful Corp. certainly haven’t wasted any time delivering DLC content for their Xbox One platformer, Super Lucky’s Tale. Their last major expansion hit in March, and already another substantial addition has dropped in the form of Guardian Trials, at the bargain price-point of AU $7.45 – especially seeing as the full game itself can be downloaded for free as part of an Xbox Game Pass subscription.
One major complaint in my previous reviews has been that Super Lucky’s Tale was a little too simple and gentle, even for a title focused on small children. The Guardian Trials DLC has basically been tailor-made to shut people like me up, offering a bevy of new extra-hard challenges, puzzles and platforming that are intended to test your skills, and swing the difficulty pendulum completely in the opposite direction.
Guardian Trials adds a new island, ‘Foxington’, and comes with 16 new challenges, divided up between tests for your platforming skills, combat and puzzle-solving. The best of these are the new platforming challenges, hosted by the amusing robot power-trainer ‘Brett’. These all take place in a Blood Dragon/Kung Fury-esque 80’s virtual world, where neon grids fill every platform, and the background is sometimes visited by steel eagles or rainbow-firing dolphins. Despite the well-trodden theme, it’s actually one of the few times I think Super Lucky’s Tale‘s humour actually starts to work better for older audiences, which makes sense given the additional challenge provided by these levels.
I’ll be honest, some of these can be tough. Some levels take cues from platforming classics like Super Mario Bros, as you have to climb ladders and dodge instant-death hazards in auto-scrolling stages. Others play to Lucky’s unique skills, like his burrowing, as the level forces you to stay submerged for the entire level, or the level relies on your burrowing to speed along and navigate slopes and trampolines. I’ve spent more lives on some of these levels than I think I did in my entire playthrough of the original Super Lucky’s Tale. Some of that is due to still-present loose controls, but I will take credit for a lot of it being my inability to git gud.
The combat challenges are few in number, and all offer remixed fights from the original game – two boss fights and a wave attack level. However, the difficulty in each of these has been upped to a significant, and not unfair, level that actually makes them fun to play through again and devise new strategies for survival.
The portion of the Guardian Trials I struggled the most with, and not for the best reasons sadly, were the puzzle challenges. Puzzles have never been Super Lucky’s Tale‘s strong suit, and these entirely consist of mazes Lucky must navigate while trapped inside a giant rolling ball. They play like a mix between Super Monkey Ball and a pinball machine, which sounds good in theory, but in practice are finicky, slow and sometimes the victim of wonky physics. It also doesn’t help that the goal isn’t to simply navigate the maze, but collect every coin and collectible within it, which leads to them dragging on much longer than they remain fun for.
There’s also, finally, a concrete use for all the coins Lucky collects in his adventures – buying costumes and cosmetics to pretty-up his character model. There’s nothing really cool or off-the-wall here, with the options remaining inoffensive and cute, but it’s still a welcome addition.
Guardian Trials offers some of the best levels that the Super Lucky’s Tale formula offers, and a lot of its ideas would have been great to see in the original base game. While the puzzle-solving roller-ball levels can grate, the platforming and combat challenges are fun enough to please any fan of Super Lucky’s Tale, especially at its bargain price.
-Adds much-needed challenge to Super Lucky's Tale -A decent amount of content for your $7.45 -Adds customisation options and a reason to collect coins
-Lucky's loose controls can still frustrate -Puzzles boil down to poorly-controlling pinball-esque mazes