When I reviewed Super Lucky’s Tale almost three years ago, I was fairly harsh on it. I stand by that critique, of course, but in retrospect it also came in at a pretty tough time. Not only was it a launch title for Microsoft’s souped-up Xbox One X, but it was less than a week after the release of one of gaming’s all-time greatest platformers, Super Mario Odyssey. A victim of timing as much as itself, perhaps. Good news for New Super Lucky’s Tale, Playful’s new and improved version of the game then, as time has been as kind to Lucky as his game’s fresh lick of paint.
As much as 2017’s Super Lucky’s Tale did its best to bring the VR-exclusive trappings of the original Lucky’s Tale to ‘flat’ screens with its pseudo-3D fixed camera angles, there’s something truly transformative about the fully-controllable 3D camera in NSLT. Even ignoring the huge boost in environmental detail and visual effects, it immediately looks and feels like a whole new game with the change in perspective alone. It’s like going from Super Mario 3D World to Odyssey without the need for a brand new game. There are, of course, a ton of meaningful changes to levels and level design to accommodate but even without that the fresh point of view is incredibly welcome.
Spread across a handful of varied worlds, Lucky’s journey in New Super Lucky’s Tale harks back to the collect-a-thon platformers of yore (and of course many modern Nintendo games). Lucky needs to travel to each world and level to collect the pages of a magical book stolen by the evil Kitty Litter gang and its leader, Jinx. The game’s levels are a nice variety of 3D platforming and exploration, side-scrolling levels and more puzzle-centric sections and each has a ton of secrets for Lucky to (sometimes literally) dig up. Most of the levels that have come across from the original version feel largely familiar, albeit with some extra nuances that take advantage of the new camera, but they’re still a lot of fun. One of the most welcome updates is to Lucky himself, who controls like a dream and makes this game possibly one of the best-feeling platformers I’ve played in a long time.
There are a ton of brand new additions to the game as well – new levels, gameplay sections, unlockable costumes for lucky and all of the DLC from the original release integrated and updated to boot. It makes for a much more complete-feeling package, and the costumes finally give players a good reason to collect as many coins as they can. Trophy and achievement hunters can rejoice too, as the road to completion is a fun, roughly ten-hour endeavour. Visually, the game has come a long way and looks fantastic on the PlayStation 4 Pro with some sublime animations and a huge boost in environment detail, lighting and more to accommodate the new perspective. There’s also an evident knack for writing that comes across in all of the new bits of cutscene and dialogue and interactions with the game’s characters, especially the often hilarious loading screen tips.
New Super Lucky’s Tale certainly lives up to its name by somehow making a rehash of the original Super Lucky’s Tale feel distinctly new. Rather than simply port their game to more platforms, Playful have put a commendable amount of time and effort into turning a once-average platformer into something easy to recommend to young players and genre fans. The price tag might be a blocker to anyone who’s already played the older version, but for everyone else it’s finally worth checking out.
Reviewed on PlayStation 4 Pro // Review code supplied by publisher