Super Lucky’s Tale was one of the more interesting reveals during Microsoft’s E3 showcase, namely because a game of its nature really hasn’t been featured on consoles that aren’t designed by Nintendo. Speaking of Nintendo, after getting some hands-on time with Lucky’s Tale, it’s hard not to compare it to the Super Mario franchise of games, because it borrows many mechanics from the 3D Mario titles. Hell, it even borrows the “Super” from Super Mario Bros., so this game’s inspirations are worn on its proverbial sleeve.
Quite frankly, after playing Super Lucky’s Tale, I think its similarities to Super Mario titles will be beneficial to its success. Again, a 3D platformer hasn’t really been made for Sony or MS’s recent gaming machines, so it is fresh in that sense. It also feels very familiar if you’ve played any of the recent 3D Super Mario games, as it features very similar controls and mechanics. Lucky has a tail spin move like Mario’s fist twirl, he collects coins, and he bashes bad guys to beat them. Lucky is Mario, albeit with less facial hair and humanity.
The demo I played was running on an Xbox One X, so it did look marvelous visually and very vibrant thanks to the HDR boost. We were given about 15-minutes to complete a canned mission, which involved platforming and puzzle solving, so unlike the Super Mario games, it looks like Super Lucky’s Tale will heavily rely on puzzles to compliment the platforming gameplay. I was tasked with finding a stone statue’s body so he could open a door, which wasn’t a tough puzzle to crack, but it did provide time to explore the vibrantly colored level, while also testing out Lucky’s other moves, such as the ability to burrow underground. I can see this ability coming in handy later on in the game, as well as one that the developers will surely lean on to provide more challenges and more difficult puzzles to solve.
My time with Lucky eventually led us into a cave, which offered up another puzzle that required me to place totems over lighted panels to open a door. It wasn’t terribly difficult, but it did provide a break in the platforming gameplay, so I liked how this game is paced. It didn’t seem to just be all about platforming or puzzle solving, as both mechanics were used perfectly to break up the gameplay and keep you engaged and on your toes.
The platforming itself did feel a bit wonky though, which I credit to the game’s camera. It tends to like to maintain its position, so at times while you’re trying to maneuver in the 3D world it would lock its focus and prevent you from seeing in front of you. It wasn’t a huge deal, but it made a few jumps feel more like leaps of faith than the precise movements required for a platformer.
Super Lucky’s Tale may be a Super Mario Bros. inspired title, but considering it’s for a non-Nintendo machine, I think gamers who have avoided Nintendo’s wares — but are wanting a platformer — will be motivated to give it a go. The game looks great and features solid puzzle and platforming gameplay, so outside of the wonky camera, I found it to be an enjoyable and fresh feeling Xbox family of consoles experience. Look for it to release for all variants of the Xbox One and Windows 10 PC this November.
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