A cute little fox greeted me on the title screen, urging me to ‘Come on!’ like an overexcited child. I quickly decided this Tails understudy-looking motherfucker appeared to be an agreeable fella, so why not? ‘Let’s go on our 15 minute adventure, Mr. Fox!’ Super Lucky’s Tale is the sequel to Oculus Rift’s Lucky’s Tale, wherein you play as the titular mammal, Lucky, in a cutesy 3D platformer. You have enemies to dispatch, raised surfaces to jump on, and the ability to burrow into the ground before popping up elsewhere.
I met Master Mittens of the Meow-Lin Temple early on in my demo, and he informed me that we’d be meeting later on after I’d done a bit of puzzling. Traversing patches of land that adorned the sky like diamantes on Queen Elsa’s dress, I had to reassemble three sentient rock children that would then wake up a larger rock adult. Their heads had been separated from their bodies, and were now scattered throughout the stage, so I had to reattach their stoney craniums to their torsos.
A later section of the level took me underground (once again looking to repair one of the pebbledash kids), and even though seeing the knots in the cartoon wood panels, and cracks in the hard CITV blocks, is a pleasant contrast to the caricature, it was all a little too simple — across the board, really. It looks nice, if uninspiring. Warm, yet flat. If I could’ve seen different angles of the world at points when I wanted to, maybe I would’ve appreciated it more, but the camera restrictions made that tough.
If nothing else, the mini-resurgence of 3D platformers this year has reminded us how frustrating jumping onto floating platforms in the third dimension can be; misjudge a jump and you can fall to your death very easily. Not having full control of the camera means that depth perception issue pops up more often than one would like. You can move it ever so slightly, but not being able to fully spin it around Lucky is a massive hinderance. I wasn’t hurtling towards death on every jump, but that aspect was still unfairly harder than everything else in the game. You’d hope this will be addressed before the November 7 launch.
There is one thing that’ll be hard to tackle prior to release, though: it’s boring. I like the design of the wide-eyed redhead and the world, as I said, seems quite nice, but there doesn’t appear to be a lot of substance here. Super Lucky’s Tale is a game for children, and its humour veers more towards something CBeebies would produce, but I believe Mr. Tumble might provide more chuckles than Lucky and co. Movement and combat feel pretty slow, too — I was urging the fox to pick up the pace, constantly. I appreciate I’m not the target market, but I can picture my age-appropriate nephews playing it for a few minutes before thinking they’re being spoken down to. After quarter of an hour, I’d had enough.
3D platformers were as much a staple of my upbringing as Frosties and Bernard’s Watch, so the genre’s hot-and-cold comeback in 2017 has played with my emotions. Come November, I’d love to play Super Lucky’s Tale and realise what I played on that afternoon wasn’t reflective of the whole thing, but right now, it’s not looking great.