New Super Lucky’s Tale (NSLT) is Playful Studios’ newest adventure, featuring the titular Lucky, a fox, and descendant of the legendary Guardians, who must recover pages from a mysterious book. Along the way, he must find friends and face dastardly foes, all while solving puzzles and looking for those mysterious pages. Is this an adventure worth embarking upon? Find out below – this is our New Super Lucky’s Tale review!
Starting the game, I’m struck by the simplistic character, environment, and background designs. The designs are clean, and the animations work well, but the characters are clearly designed with an aesthetic geared towards a younger audience. Lucky’s design appears to have at least been inspired by Crash Bandicoot, which isn’t a bad thing. As a grown-up (I hesitate to call myself an adult), I would have preferred more visual complexity, but the Lucky’s series began as a VR game with an appropriate level of graphics. I suppose I can’t complain too much.
The story opens with a long, drawn-out telling of how the hero ended up in his current predicament. Long story short, a big bad cat-wizard betrayed an order of Guardians (although no one seems to know what the Guardians really guard). Lucky, our hero, is related to several guardians, who were trapped when Jynx, the bad guy, did his betrayal thing, as bad guys are wont to do. Lucky is left with a magical book that seems to be the key to unlocking new worlds and finding his missing family.
By and large, the game’s difficulty felt appropriate. I struggled in some areas, but I’m not exactly the best at games like this. I expect children could pick this up fairly well. As with all games and children, it’s good to be present for your kids when they play, but you can rest assured that the content is appropriate for children. Kids may appreciate the variety of level designs as well. Some levels are speed run-type levels, whereas others are more traditional third-person explorations.
Traversing the NSLT universe entails visiting hubs across several worlds. Hub themes vary across worlds, from a farming/wild west theme to a ghostly, haunted town, all of which were enjoyable. Each hub has several levels that feature four possible opportunities to obtain new pages for Lucky’s mystical book. Accruing 300 coins yields a page, as does finding a secret, hidden page, collecting five hidden letters spelling “LUCKY,” and completing the level. Each hub requires so many pages before one can challenge the boss, which has its own stage.
The bosses are cute, all of which are children of Jynx. That means every boss is some sort of kitty – a cat ninja, a mad scientist, and so on. The boss fights themselves are generally pretty simple. Each boss requires a variation of avoiding projectiles or monsters, hitting switches, and/or landing on monsters. Defeating the bosses felt good and naturally led me to wonder what world was next. I was surprised at how many times the developers could recycle the same mechanics but in a fresh manner each time.
I think this is one area where NSLT shines. Although the mechanics are limited in number compared to, say, Super Mario Odyssey, they are used in a variety of ways to form challenging puzzles and levels. The mechanics center around a ground-pound move, burrowing, jumping, and sliding. The sliding, ground-pound, and burrowing are all variations of the same move, meaning the number of buttons you’ll need to push is limited. At no point did I really feel that the mechanics were over-used, even if I would have appreciated more in-depth gameplay.
Employing these mechanics to find hidden pages and such was probably the highlight of the game for me. I really like finding things and unlocking things, which NSLT has in spades. Within levels are the aforementioned pages, but one can also find hidden coins and extra lives. Within hubs, one can find hidden puzzles, which yield additional pages. Collecting coins allows one to unlock outfits of various stripes. Even more, outfits are available to be unlocked as one finds all hidden pages in a world. The outfits don’t provide any mechanical benefit, but I enjoyed hopping around the world dressed as a ninja fox.
really long. I felt the length of the fights every time I died, and those repetitions were not fun. Other irritations include a difficult to maneuver camera and occasional difficulty telling where exactly the enemies were on the screen. And I can’t forget the extremely long-winded characters on one of the worlds. I was practically yelling at the screen for these critters to shut up as I couldn’t skip the conversations… of which there were many.
In sum, New Super Lucky’s Tale is a decent kids’ game with plenty of puzzles and hidden items to find. Although it has some minor irritations, it is a wholesome adventure, a breath of fresh air given the torrent of unwholesome games on the market. The difficulty feels appropriate for kids as well. Accordingly, I recommend this game for kids, but given the difficulty of some bosses, it might be good to be available to lend a hand. If you want mature, complex gameplay, you’ll probably be happier elsewhere.
A Switch game key was provided for this review.
COMPARE TO: Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Galaxy