Posted September 20, 2017 by Adam Ghiggino in Feature

Super Lucky’s Tale Hands-On Preview (Xbox One X)

I think it’s safe to say that not many would remember Lucky’s Tale, as the original game was released as an exclusive launch showcase of the Oculus Rift’s technology. It offered a simple platformer viewed from a third person perspective, except your head (and the VR headset you’re wearing) controlled the camera. It was a fine, if limited, family-friendly demo of the VR tech, but developers Playful seem keen to distance the character from a strict VR association, with the sequel Super Lucky’s Tale coming in regular old 2D to Windows 10 and Xbox One. However, if you choose to play on Xbox One X, the game is enhanced to play at 4K resolution.

Playing Super Lucky’s Tale is a lot like going back to the PS1/N64 era of platformers, and the game certainly does feel like a throwback. Lucky himself handles pretty smoothly like many mascots of that era, with his own particular unique ‘thing’ apparently being the ability to burrow underground to attack enemies or reveal secrets. That said, while the game firmly takes inspiration from the past, and there are plenty of coins and collectibles, it’s not to the extent that Rare games of the 90’s would reach with games like Banjo Kazooie and D0nkey Kong 64Super Lucky’s Tale feels less demanding of your time, and obsessive-compulsive collecting abilities, with smaller streamlined environments more like those you’d find in Super Mario 3D World, for example.

The level I played primarily concerned Lucky’s traversal of a world filled with strange robot-like creatures, some of whom had lost their heads, making reuniting them with their bodies one of the objectives as Lucky dodges fireballs and other environmental hazards. It’s not quite a walk in the park, but the challenge is gentle and far more fitting for children than other Xbox One X titles like Cuphead (which may result in a couple of controllers lodged in the TV screen or nearby walls/pets). It also seems to throw a little more at the player than the previous VR-only Lucky’s Tale, with little miniature sub-bosses, like enemy flowers, which Lucky has to dodge and stomp to progress. Reuniting three of the aforementioned robot heads with their owners is a vital component of one of the demo’s key puzzles, which involves using the robots’ combined power to reactivate a giant stone golem. Throughout the level, Lucky is taunted by a martial-arts master cat, one of many colourful characters he’ll meet throughout his journey, who also forms an interesting boss fight that involves Lucky’s ability to flip objects back at the ferocious feline.

At 4K resolution, the game’s art style certainly pops from the screen – not necessarily with excessive detail but with colour and personality. It was somewhat surprising that in the pre-release version I played on Xbox One X, that at times the game struggled to maintain a consistent frame-rate, especially when there was a bit of action on-screen, although hopefully this is due to optimisation issues which will get ironed out for the game’s launch, as Super Lucky’s Tale is targeting 60fps at 4K.

Super Lucky’s Tale was certainly a very enjoyable platformer to demo, and it fills a nice family-friendly niche that Microsoft has perhaps been missing out on with their first-party published releases. It seems that while Lucky has given up VR headsets, he’s still attached to the launch of new cutting-edge technology, as Super Lucky’s Tale will be released alongside the Xbox One X on 7 November.

Adam Ghiggino

Owner, Executive Editor of Rocket Chainsaw. I also edit TV, films and make average pancakes.