Super Lucky's Tale recently received an expansion which adds numerous "Guardian Trials" to the game. The content offers a lot of levels and sticks to what made the base game rather enjoyable. This time around though, the platforming feels smoother and there are less camera issues. This is necessary because the challenges are quite difficult to say the least. Developer Playful took the criticism to heart and built upon that. It's a shame that Guardian Trials doesn't offer as much content as the base game, because it feels much more polished than before.
Super Lucky's Tale starts off when the antagonist Jinx steals a mysterious artifact called the Book of Ages. The Book of Ages contains entire worlds and simple creatures who are no match Jinx's spoiled children. It's up to Lucky, a cute little fox who wants to be a hero, to save the day. Just like any platformer, you need to run, jump, spin and burrow your way across a wide variety of environments including deserts, castles, forests and more.
The Book of Ages is protected by individuals known as "Guardians" and the Guardian Trials expansion — basically a 1980's retro-themed boot camp adventure — follows Lucky's path to become a full-fledged member. After saving Gilly Island, Lucky's sister Lyra believes the time has come for him to meet his destiny and embark on the journey to become a full-fledged Guardian.
Lyra enlists the help of a few friends from the Book of Ages, and together they set up a series of daunting challenges that only a skilled player could possibly conquer. For example, you have an obstacle course that revolves around burrowing over long distances while avoiding traps that permeate the ground. Along the way, you'll meet bizarre characters, lots of platforming challenges, defeat massive bosses, solve perplexing puzzles, and earn your right to stand with Lyra as an official Guardian of the Book of Ages.
Unlike the previous expansion, Guardian Trials adds new costumes and accessories for the adorable fox to wear. You can unlock them all with coins you've saved up. While this isn't an essential part of the new content, it's still a great way to personalize your playthrough.
Super Lucky's Tale still runs at 1080p 30 FPS on Xbox One and native 4K 60 FPS on Xbox One X. The resolution upgrade in this case isn't as important as the frame rate upgrade. The game looks great on both systems due to its native presentation, however, the Xbox One X version has a clear advantage here. Not only does it look better, but it also feels better when you're jumping and burrowing.
The standard Xbox One version is difficult to control because it suffers from increased input lag. While every game exhibits this to some degree, no matter how minuscule, doubling the frame rate helps make Lucky's handling a lot smoother. This seems like the primary reason why Super Lucky's Tale feels that much more precise on Microsoft's new console. It's hard to go back to the standard Xbox One version because of this. Luckily, Super Lucky's Tale is Xbox Play Anywhere so you can experience it at a higher frame rate on Windows 10 in addition to Xbox One X without purchasing another copy.
Guardian Trials require precise movements so playing it at 60 FPS is ideal. However, even then, the controls aren't precise enough and you may have to replay a section again and again. Unfortunately, that lingering "floaty controls" feel hasn't been eliminated. This is probably the biggest drawback when it comes to clearing these hard arenas.
When we reviewed Super Lucky's Tale last year, we said that it suffered from poor camera controls. Instead of moving freely, thumbstick motion caused the camera to rotate in a rigid manner. While the camera controls are still somewhat rigid, you don't need to adjust them because the game almost always gives you an optimal angle. There aren't many issues with depth perception in Guardian Trials as there were in the base game.
Overall, Guardian Trials is a good expansion which should be seen as more of a refinement rather than a game-changing addition to Super Lucky's Tale. If you want to challenge yourself and don't mind some unwieldy controls, then give this one a go. At $4.99 it's a great deal.
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