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Super Lucky's Tale review: A cutesy Xbox adventure held back by silly issues

In the age of endless shooters which deal with heavy-hearted topics like Call of Duty: WWII, it's getting rare to see a game that's as jovial as Super Lucky's Tale.

If you own an Oculus Rift, you might remember the lovable fox's first outing called Lucky's Tale. Lucky's Tale was designed exclusively for the Oculus Rift and offered numerous enhancements when it came to camera controls and perspective. The sequel is bigger and better in many ways but suffers from some problems which may be a result of its virtual reality roots.

Story and environments

Super Lucky's Tale is a playground platformer for all ages. Similarly to other games in the genre, you need to run, jump, spin and burrow your way across a wide variety of environments including deserts, castles, and forests. By collecting coins and four-leaf clovers, you unlock new doors which lead to new worlds just like Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse. The presence of collectibles and secret areas in each level enhances the title's replayability as well.

Super Lucky's Tale features great world variety.

The game's plot may be simple, but it's adequate nonetheless. It follows Lucky, the ever-optimistic and lovable critter, on his quest to find his inner strength and help his sister rescue The Book of Ages from Jinx. Jinx is the antagonist who wants to reshape the world. It's unclear why he wants to do that though.

The Book of Ages contains entire worlds and simple creatures who are no match Jinx's spoiled children. You defeat them one by one until you make your way to Jinx. Aside from platforming challenges, the game has plenty of boss battles. Despite the fact that they're fairly easy, it still switches up gameplay and is a refreshing change of pace.

Art direction and graphics

One of the defining aspects of this game has to be its gorgeous visuals. Super Lucky's Tale features cartoon characters and uses pastel colors to bring environments to life. The art direction is also a high point here. You will see majestic structures and towering giants on many levels. There is a lot of mystery and intrigue involved, even though it's never fully realized.

Super Lucky's Tale looks gorgeous on all platforms.

For example, early on in the game, you're tasked with bringing a slumbering golem to life by finding the heads of beings who can "activate" it. While it's easy to understand the task at hand, one can't help but wonder what adventures the towering giant has been through, who is he? And so on. The developers should've incorporated additional ways to include lore into the game. It would've added to its depth.

Performance and controls

Super Lucky's Tale 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 of Super Lucky's Tale is difficult to control.

The 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 reduces it by a significant amount. This seems like the primary reason why Super Lucky's Tale feels that much more precise on Microsoft's new console. Sadly, it's hard to recommend 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 and Xbox One X without purchasing another copy.

Aside from the frame rate and input lag on Xbox One, the other major problem has to the camera controls. Instead of moving freely, thumbstick motion causes it to rotate in a rigid manner. It seems as those players weren't meant to move it around all the time. It's unclear if this is the case but the fact that you can't move the camera properly causes an issue with depth perception. This may not have been a problem on Oculus Rift in virtual reality, but when you're playing the game on a display many feet away from where you're sitting, it can be hard to plan jumps. Collecting certain coins or reaching some platforms always seems like guesswork. Throughout our playthrough on Xbox One, Xbox One X, and Windows 10, we encountered this issue. The 2.5D platforming levels are fine, but parts of the 3D levels can sometimes feel like a chore.

Super Lucky's Tale Final Thoughts

Despite its problems, Super Lucky's Tale is more than the sum of its parts. One important factor to consider when gaming is how a title makes you feel when you pick up the controller and engage with it. This is just as important — if not more — than its story and technical aspects. In some scenarios, a simple "pick up and play" experience can bring you more joy than a gritty "AAA" blockbuster.

Super Lucky's Tale guarantees a smile.

Super Lucky's Tale is one such experience — you can't help but smile as you play. Its adorable nature, strange characters, and quirky dialogues make you fall in love with the game even though the camera controls are a bit off. If you're looking for a title which is guaranteed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, then be sure to give this one a go.

Pros:

  • Gorgeous visuals.
  • Addictive gameplay.
  • Collectibles and secrets enhance replayability.

Cons:

  • Rigid camera controls.
  • Standard Xbox One version runs at 30 FPS and suffers from clunky movement.
  • Relatively short length.

Super Lucky's Tale costs $29.99 on Xbox One and Windows 10 as it's an Xbox Play Anywhere game. The title is enhanced for Xbox One X.

This game was reviewed on Xbox One, Windows 10, and Xbox One X using a copy provided by Microsoft.

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

9 Comments
  • So between this and Sonic Forces, I'm already seeing what I was worried about: "regular" Xbox One versions of a game not running very well.  Maybe it's because reviewers are getting spoiled by having One X's to test things back to back?  I'm just concerned developers (esp Microsoft) not maintaining quality on standard systems, to push people to the One X.  I'd be fine with that if it wasn't a $500 console, lol
  • That's my concern as well. I originally played it before I purchased my Xbox One X and I absolutely hated it because I couldn't control the character properly. When I played it on the Xbox One X it was like a different game. I think your concerns are real. For example, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus runs at up to native 4K 60 FPS on Xbox One X and 810p on Xbox One. Even the PlayStation 4 version was 1080p and the prequel, Wolfenstein: The New Order, was 1080p 60 FPS on both systems. I'm worried about that too.
  • I wanted to also mention that we do have this game.  I got it late last week, and my son has gotten through world 1 (with lots of stuff left behind, he's not a completionist at 5 yrs old, lol), and seems to be enjoying it.  What little I have played it, it's pretty fun, but a little harder on the eyes and to control than the Mario 3D games.  Not horrible, but not as good.  It just feels like the depth is off, makes it hard to jump on enemies/platforms in the 3D levels.  There's also been collision detection issues, as well as ending up in areas that you can't see into, or get out of.  I hope they do an update for most of this stuff, but I don't know how much they'll change for the older consoles.  Most likely, they want you on a One X, lol
  • If the input lag is a non-issue when 60fps, are you suggesting that any 30fps game on xbox has bad input lag due to the lower frame rate?
  • Depends, input, logic and rendering cycle / frequency doesn't need to be the same. Every game has their own design.
  • No. Not all 30 FPS games have high input lag. This is just a startling example. It seems that it may be optimized around the Xbox One X and not the Xbox One. Maybe that's why the standard Xbox One version, even though it's 30 FPS, suffers from increased input lag.
  • I had no big trouble with the camera tbh. Yes a few times it was not ideal but that's pretty much normal for a 3D platformer. Nothing game braking in any means. All in all the camera was ok. More importantly would be better work with shadows. I'm talking about those bees.
    The game is good especially for the price. But while playing it I've seen so much untapped potential. I hope the game is selling well enough to invest more into this franchise. A 2,5D Jump N' Run would be great to begin with. For the next true 3D platformer they should take their time and advance the mechanics, Lucky's skills and the levels. Would be nice if playful could work together with Rare. They definitely know how to put meaningful secrets in their games (DKK 2).
  • It does make me wonder why Mario titles never get bad comments for camera. Been playing this for a day now and there's literally no difference to difficulty in jumping than found in Mario Odyssey. Mario always never gets the cutesy label even though its just as cute.  All in all Super Luckys Tale has puzzles no easier than Odyssey. But has its own lovely charm separate from the plumber. If you like Mario, Banjo, Yooka Laylee, Ori, Conker you will Love Super Luckys tale. 
  • I purchased this with my scorpio and it is def worth the 30 dollar price tag. It's very fun but the camera is the only thing that bothers me.