A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Super Lucky's Tale is a traditional 3D side-scrolling platformer. Players control a cartoonish fox who can swipe his tail and jump on enemies to attack them. Defeated foes -- a mix of colorful animals and more fantastical creatures -- disappear in a puff of smoke. The slim story depicts Lucky as a conventional hero, always ready to help folks while working to thwart a gang of evil kittens. A few challenges are perhaps a little harder than those of some other platformers, but the interface is easy to understand, and players are rewarded for their perseverance.
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What's it about?
A non-virtual reality sequel to the VR-exclusive Lucky's Tale, SUPER LUCKY'S TALE puts players in control of a cute, cartoonish fox trapped within the pages of a magical book and in conflict with a gang of surly kittens. After a quick prologue explaining how our sly hero came to be in this predicament, players begin exploring the first of several colorful hub worlds and learning how everything works. Lucky has a couple of primary moves -- the ability to swipe with his tail and burrow underground -- that players put to use beating up enemies, flipping switches, and digging under barriers. He can also jump, which is necessary for leaping between platforms, scaling obstacles, and pounding down on enemies and switches. The world is broken into discrete levels accessible from the main zones, and each level contains a variety of coins, collectibles (including letters spelling out Lucky's name), and clovers necessary to unlock additional levels. Lucky has only a set number of lives, but losing them all just means you'll need to restart the current level.
Is it any good?
Xbox-owning kids who are sad their console will never play host to a Mario adventure have a decent -- if markedly less substantial -- alternative in this competent little platformer. Super Lucky's Tale delivers in most of the ways it counts, providing us with a cute and likable hero in Lucky the fox, handsome cartoon graphics, and solid mechanics for running, jumping, attacking, and digging. And the levels to explore, though small, are filled with fun things to do, from solving puzzles and searching for hidden goodies (don't forget to stop and swivel the camera to see out-of-frame areas) to running gauntlets and figuring out how to defeat mini-bosses. Lucky lacks the range of abilities possessed by characters in other platformers, but he puts those he has to good use, seamlessly and satisfyingly transitioning from leaps to diving to dig through the ground for treasure.
But players familiar with Mario games may notice some of this game's shortcomings. For example, the flow of play -- jump into a level, earn clovers, move on to the next level -- is intuitive but unimaginative, and begins to feel repetitive after a while, especially when you eventually start revisiting levels looking for more collectibles. While other platformers keep things interesting by slowly evolving the main character or introducing new skills for players to master, Lucky is basically a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of hero. There are situations that force players to use his stock moves in new ways and develop mastery of the game's mechanics, but there are few surprises beyond this. It's still plenty of fun, especially when played in shorter bursts to keep a sense of repetition from setting in, but Lucky has a ways to go before he can compete with the true heavyweights of the genre.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. How long do you think a typical play session should last? How does this count when the gameplay in Super Lucky's Tale isn't particularly long?
Talk about whether hard challenges are more fun than easy ones. Is the sense of accomplishment you feel after successfully completing a hard task in a game worth the effort and potential frustration?
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