It was during Microsoft's E3 show that a red, fluffy tail appeared and caused a lot of Rare fans to hold their collective breath. Was it time for long-absent foul-mouthed Conker to be revived? The fact that it was a platform-exclusive for Microsoft also pointed to a much-desired revival. When the fox appeared, though, it was clear that the publisher wasn't bringing the old franchise back from the dead, and that another red fluffy animal was making its Xbox debut instead. A more huggable one, in fact. No doubt there were a few sighs when the game was revealed, but is this really a character and a game worth sighing about?
It's tough to establish a new franchise in a genre that had its heyday in the '80s and '90s, so when a studio makes an honest attempt to compete with the genre giants that we remember through nostalgia-tinted glasses, it's worth at least giving it a chance with an open mind. The Oculus Rift game, Lucky's Tale, received a relatively warm reception despite its stylised setup when it was released last year, and now it's time to further develop the concept, this time without any VR elements (and virtual reality never really offered that much to this genre anyway).
Playful Corp's Super Lucky's Tale doesn't have the same established presence some of the classic platforming mascots enjoy, and therefore Lucky won't be on the receiving end of any unconditional love beforehand, nobody will ignore any of its problems, and the game could well be seen as a lesser competitor to the masterpieces of yore. In addition, it has been released at the same time as the very entertaining Super Mario Odyssey. That's a tough ask for a relative newcomer we think, fortunately, though, this new platformer actually performs quite well.
Super Lucky's Tale begins in the middle of a quarrel between the happy Guardians and the angry, genuinely super evil cat Jinx (and his Kitty Litter gang, don't forget them). Jinx and his not so merry band desperately want the "Book of Ages", which our protagonist duo protect with their fox-lives and refuse to give up. Suddenly the book opens and swallows up both the gang of kitties and the poor Lucky, who sacrifices himself to save his sister from whatever is waiting inside the tome.
The player is welcomed by an incredibly inviting, colourful and wonderfully designed world inhabited by charming creatures to talk to, nasty enemies to deal with, coins and gadgets to collect, and levels to beat. Those who consider themselves fans of beautiful old 3D platformers like Banjo-Kazooie and Conker's Bad Fur Day will feel right at home here, because the lovely smell of sweet retro is really noticeable, even if it might be just a touch more kiddy-oriented than more age-inclusive games such as Mario and Sonic. The game world is divided into several different hub worlds, which, in addition to offering various collectibles, house a number of different levels to be completed.