The slow string of Microsoft published titles coming to Nintendo Switch continues with New Super Lucky’s Tale, an enhanced version of the Xbox One and PC adventure. The third platformer to make the jump over to Nintendo’s device, my expectations were somewhat muted compared to the excellent pairing of Cuphead and Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition especially following the tepid reception the original version of this game received. Has enough been done to elevate it to the same standards of Microsoft’s previous Switch releases?
New Super Lucky’s Tale ticks all the expected 3D platforming boxes you’ve likely come to expect. It’s cute and colourful, takes you on a journey across a range of different environment types each packed with collectables aplenty and also includes a rather straightforward story that really just sets you an excuse to go about exploring said worlds. The cast itself is charming and wacky – from our foxy hero Lucky to the evil Kitty Litter group – but at the end of the day, I never found myself caring much about why I was collecting pages of a magic book or taking on bosses. None of that really mattered.
Going about collecting the magic pages will take you through several hub worlds all of which contain a handful of smaller levels. Each level will require you to navigate a combination of 3D playgrounds or traverse across 2D side-scrolling courses all whilst gathering as many collectables as you can. Hoard enough and you’ll be rewarded with clovers that can be used to take on each world’s boss and then progress onto the next hub area. It’s a rather predictable pattern of slowly working your way through the hub worlds to access and unlock more platforming intense levels but at the end of the day, it’s a layout that’s worked for this genre so well in the past and still works today.
From start to finish the challenge of the game rarely posed much of a threat. Even when I did find myself slipping up by falling off an edge I would quickly get plonked right back to safety and only a single heart (from my stock of three) taken away from me. The level design too never felt like it was asking a lot of me. Whether that was down to my experience with this particular genre or simply a case of this game feeling like it was aimed at a younger audience or maybe even a mix of both, reaching the end credits was a breeze.
While simply finishing a level is pretty straightforward even netting you a clover; it’s each level’s objectives that encourage you to explore your surroundings more thoroughly. Whether you’re trying to amass 300 coins or locate the five individual letters that spell out the hero’s name, you’ll find a slightly more satisfying challenge by going beyond doing the bare minimum of a level.
Lucky controls well and possesses a moveset that’s easy to get to grips with whilst also offering a few unique skills of his own. His digging ability, in particular, is a neat inclusion and one I wish was taken advantage of more. The camera too keeps up with the action well rarely making a simple jump more difficult than it should.
In terms of presentation, the game is both bright and colourful giving off an all-round pleasant vibe. The characters are a bit twee sure but they’re a delightfully fun cast. The worlds themselves meanwhile offer enough variety to keep things feeling varied and interesting – from grassy islands and dry desert settings to beaches and barns.
My time spent playing through New Super Lucky’s Tale has been enjoyable albeit familiar. It’s clear the developers are shooting for an experience reminiscent of great 3D platformers like Banjo-Kazooie, Super Mario 64 or Spyro the Dragon and to their credit they manage to accomplish that pretty well. At the same time though, the game doesn’t really bring anything new to the platforming table resulting in an experience that feels somewhat safe and at times rather vanilla.
What you’re left with is essentially a strong example of a well-worn genre meaning there’s little to surprise or truly excite. While there’s definitely fun to be with New Super Lucky’s Tale, in a sea of excellent platformers – both 3D and 2D – already out there on Switch this may be one worth circling back to if you’re hungry for more after sampling those.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Playful