While the focus of the Xbox One X launch lies with Forza Motorsport 7, a second notable title coming out of Microsoft Studios this fall is striving to help kickstart the console. With some of the biggest Xbox One exclusives now on track for a release in 2018, Super Lucky's Tale will be one of the few in-house titles to look forward to in the months ahead. And with a release date set for November 7, 2017, for many, the game will be one of the several titles playable in 4K on the new flagship Xbox device at launch.
Super Lucky's tale is a somewhat unexpected addition to Microsoft's games lineup, with its predecessor available exclusively to the Oculus Rift. Originally envisioned as a 3D-platforming series with a unique virtual reality (VR) twist, "Lucky's Tale" showed promise as a concept, but was criticized at launch for the repetitive nature of its gameplay. Due to the added barrier to entry of requiring a VR headset, the franchise has seen little exposure outside of early adopters of the Rift.
With Microsoft now overseeing the series' future, Playful Corp is delivering Lucky's second adventure as an exclusive release for Xbox One and Windows 10 this fall. Following the move to a traditional display, the series has understandably ditched headset support, while delivering a much richer 3D world. And though this transition means the series has lost its previously defining feature, a new take on its platforming is shaping up for a simple, yet refined platformer.
A throwback to the golden era
There's a noticeable sleekness and simplicity to the design of Super Lucky's Tale.
Although Super Lucky's Tale delivers some noteworthy improvements over its predecessor, the series' simple platforming core can still be seen with the sequel. Taking clear influence from the "golden era" of 3D platformers in the 1990's, gameplay mostly centers around using a small set fundamental mechanics across a range of challenges.
While playing as Lucky, players will have access to both abilities commonplace in your average platformer, such as basic movement and jumping, alongside some more unique concepts tied to Lucky's design, such as swipe attacks or underground burrowing. These abilities influence the basis of the game's level design, with platforming puzzles and small-scale boss battles requiring the use of these mechanics. Seemingly without any form of traditional progression, unlockable abilities or skill trees, the focus of gameplay relies solely on using these core mechanics.
Even its level design is reminiscent of various classics of the platforming genre – in both the flow of its challenges and visual design. Over the course of the game, players will work their way through a series of stages, completing small puzzles and defeating various enemies along the way. While this adopting ideas from pre-established successes almost guarantees a working formula, this may also cause issues for the series' identity.
Sticking to the beaten track
There's a noticeable sleekness and simplicity to the design of Super Lucky's Tale, which was evident throughout every moment of our hands-on with the game. Between its clean but characterized world and small, yet polished, set of abilities, its gameplay solely leverages its strengths in forming engaging stages to explore.
However, while the simplicity and familiarity of Super Lucky's Tale isn't necessarily a bad thing, its approach does leave some uncertainty in regard to its future. Its "pure" approach to platforming might be nostalgic for fans of 90's platformers but the game risks failing to develop its own identity in the process. Similar franchises have thrived in the past by carving out their persona, but the somewhat generic concepts driving Super Lucky's Tale raise questions surrounding its success.
The somewhat generic concepts driving Super Lucky's Tale raise questions surrounding its success.
Microsoft could have its answer to Nintendo's Super Mario series on its hands and depending on the contract with Playful, there's nothing ruling out Super Lucky's Tale finding a permanent home on the Xbox platform. However, while its mechanics are enjoyable, the lack of innovation to distance itself from the competition may be a detriment to its growth at launch.
Super Lucky's Tale is already shaping up to be a simple and adorable platformer for the Xbox One X this fall and launching alongside the console at $29.99 will be a major draw. Sporting 4K resolution at 60 frames per second (FPS), the game will be another title showcasing the potential of Microsoft's console, at a price point that won't break the bank. With its adorable world and relatively simple gameplay, the game will be a great for all ages – especially for families picking up the Xbox One X later this year. Despite that in its current state Super Lucky's Tale can fail to stand out from other platformers, its fun and quirky gameplay is still making for a promising proposition.
Super Lucky's Tale hits Xbox One and Windows 10 on November 7, 2017, with enhancements for Xbox One X to run at 4K resolution. The game will also support the Play Anywhere initiative, allowing for cross-platform purchasing and saves between devices.
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