Monday, September 28, 2020

New Super Lucky's Tale (PS4, XB1, PC) Review

After our 950th review two Fridays ago, let's get the motor running as we gun for review 1,000! We start the run to 1,000 with a game I previously covered on another platform, the Nintendo Switch version of New Super Lucky's Tale. Now, I review the game as it has launched on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Here's is the SPC review of New Super Lucky's Tale.

A tale so nice, I played it twice.

If you're having a case of deja vu, don't be alarmed. While SuperPhillip Central previously covered New Super Lucky's Tale, that was the Nintendo Switch version that released late last year. Now, Lucky's journey to return home to his family arrives on more platforms, though this time around without a retail version in sight, at least here in North America. While intrinsically the same game as what was found on the Switch, New Super Lucky's Tale now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC has some differences that make it my preferred version of developer Playful's game.

New Super Lucky's Tale's adventure takes our precocious young hero Lucky through multiple hubs that connect all levels together, as one would expect from a game of this nature. The levels are entered through portals scattered throughout these hubs, and inside them are veritable treasure chests of platforming goodness. 

Lucky engages in some barnyard shenanigans in this second world level.

There are three main types of levels in the game, and they all range from great fun to just good fun. The levels where you can fully explore the surrounding areas in 3D platforming environments are the ones that are the former. The auto-runner levels are at the other end, requiring precise leaps and activation of switches to reach the bonus areas containing more currency and hidden collectibles. Finally, the 2D side-scrolling platforming levels serve as the part of the game in between the two aforementioned level types in terms of the entertainment factor to be found.

Regardless of the level type, there are four pages of Lucky's obtained tome to collect in each. One is earned by simply reaching the end of the level. Another is earned by collecting all five L-U-C-K-Y letters. Then, there's one for accumulating 300 coins in one run of a level, and lastly, there's a hidden page usually discovered by completing a puzzle or stumbling across a secret area or "hard"-to-access part of a level.

Be on the lookout for golden letters like this "K" in levels if you want to earn a prized page.

I put "hard" in quotes because New Super Lucky's Tale is a bit of a breezy game--for the most part. When you're performing pure platforming challenges, the game isn't too taxing. You'll be racking up Lucky's lives count faster than you can lose them. This is because hearts are plentiful, and even things like falling off a level doesn't result in an instant life lost. Instead, you just lose a heart from Lucky's health. 

That said, there are some stronger challenges posed in the game, particularly after the final boss has been given a catnap. There are pure tests of platforming skill to take on, but there are more arduous and quite frankly, annoying marble-rolling sections that, while optional, need to be beaten to fully complete the game. These have you controlling a board, tilting it in all directions as Lucky rolls around in a ball as you attempt to collect every coin in the level without losing all his hearts. These are the lowest point of an otherwise enjoyable game--and even then, they aren't too trying for one's patience.

Apart from marble mini-game levels, there are also puzzle mini-challenges that appear in many of New Super Lucky's Tale's hubs. These put your brain muscles through their paces, as they require you to move sliding statues around so they eventually all land in their proper places. The catch is that statues hit by Lucky's tale don't stop moving until they hit the end of the track or another statue. Later statue-sliding puzzles offer a tremendous mental test, and I was quite literally stumped at some until a lot of trial and error. 

As I said already in this review, New Super Lucky's Tale isn't a strong challenge, really. Perhaps if you want to get all of the trophies and/or achievements, depending on your platform preference, as there are some "take no damage" challenges. Thankfully, for the small challenge that is present in the game, it's not due to the camera or the game's controls--something that other 3D platformers can't attest to so strongly. 

No matter the perspective, New Super Lucky's Tale is a good time.

No, Lucky controls wonderfully, whether you're using his signature burrow move to dive underground to travel underneath soft surfaces (emphasis on "soft", as Lucky can't dive through concrete--it's bad for the cranium, after all) to either move through levels faster, collect buried coins, or pass through obstacles that are otherwise impenetrable above ground. This burrow move also can be used to home in one enemies to leap on top of them, defeating them. That's not the only offense Lucky has, either, as he can also whip his foes into submission (or at least a temporary daze). Finally, offering more aerial versatility is Lucky's double jump, which can also end with a twirl of his tail to get some extra distance or a safer landing. 

This enemy meets Super Lucky's "tail"!

If there's one other thing beyond the limited difficulty of the game that makes New Super Lucky's Tale a little bit tougher to recommend for its full price is that the game is awfully short. Beating the game, and then earning all of the trophies took just under ten hours for me to do. I'll no doubt return to the Lucky's colorful world every now and then (heck, I did for this review since I already covered the Nintendo Switch version last year), but bear in mind that this isn't a lengthy adventure by any stretch of the term.

Meanwhile, when it regards New Super Lucky's Tale's presentation, Lucky's world is suitably colorful and charming, whether that's the vibrant environments or the personable characters. The latter uses gibberish speak (and sometimes singing) which was pleasing to me. The dialogue that is spoken is rare, mostly done as bookends to the adventure. Lucky himself exudes personality, and just like with my Switch review, I still adore the way he looks at and makes faces at the camera when he stands still for a short while. With regards to performance, the PlayStation 4 version features vastly reduced load times when compared to the Switch version, which is terrific considering how plentiful load screens are in the game, but there are still issues with unstable frame-rate in parts of the game. Musically, Playful's composers have done a great job bringing forth mostly catchy and engaging music to the ears. Most of it I wouldn't listen to outside of the game, but in-game it works. 

While this foe gets its stinger hit back at it thanks to Lucky's furry appendage.

New Super Lucky's Tale isn't the type of platformer that starts out with a breezy level of challenge and then gets ultra grueling by its end. Instead, the difficulty curve with regards to pure platforming is more of a modest one than something you'd need mountain climbing equipment to scale. That said, what is present for the brief adventure is both adorable and enjoyable, offering mostly clever ideas and well executed concepts from start to finish. Here's hoping we see more of Lucky in the future--preferably a completely brand-new adventure next time instead of the same game in a slightly varied form.

[SPC Says: B]

A PS4 code was provided to SPC by the publisher for the purpose of writing this review.

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