Preorders for The Daughter of Dragons is coming soon. Enter the wildlands as Melisaria Blackfang encounters a dragon with a disturbing sickness, one that could bring about the end of dragon kind, unless she can master her Dragonspeaker powers in time.
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Platformers have been a favorite of mine since the Super Mario days. Jumping around, solving puzzles, finding collectibles and so much more. But while some would say those days are gone in favor of arcade-style shooters and action games or yet another Call of Duty clone, Platformers are starting to gain a resurgence in the public eye. Old mainstays such as Crash Bandicoot and Spyro are returning to the spotlight and new entries such as A Hat In Time and Yooka-Laylee are making waves.
I’ve played Y-L and have Hat in Time but haven’t started it yet. But there was one that kept things basic. No gimmicks, no fluff, just old fashioned platforming. And it proves that one doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel to make it work when it just needs a tune up.
Enter New Super Lucky’s Tale, a platformer by Playful games originally for the Xbox One, and now appearing on the Nintendo Switch. I’ll be talking about the latter version, but if you want a great platformer, you got one right here. So let’s go on an adventure.
The world of Foxington
The evil Jinx has gone mad. The sorcerer and his faithful servants, the Kitty Litter, seek to harness the Book of Ages for themselves. But when Lucky Swiftail is trapped inside of the book’s many worlds, he’ll have to traverse through many unique worlds in order to find the missing pages and become the guardian he was destined to be.
The story is pretty basic as far as platformers go. As for the game itself, I truly enjoyed my time with it. As mentioned, it keeps things simple. It doesn’t overcomplicate things. It’s as true to form as a 3D platformer can get.
His controls are pretty basic. We have double jump, a tail attack (which can be used to hover for a short moment), and a dive attack which allows him to burrow. It might seem limited, but I’ve managed to create some fun combos with this. For example, there have been occasions where I jumped on and enemy, tail swiped another, into a homing attack. Lucky is truly capable if holding his own.
Getting Lucky with Lucky
Lucky’s also a very fun character. He’s basically a kid. Happy, optimistic, ready to save the day, and will stop at nothing to defeat Jinx’s henchmen (henchcats?). I felt like this would have been awesome as a GameCube title as opposed to an Xbox One exclusive at the time. This definitely stays true to the classic 3D platformers of its time. It definitely gives off a Spyro the Dragon feel as well. You have a hub world with numerous levels within each one.
It even varies the types of stages Lucky goes through. You have, of course, the Spyro-style 3D worlds, but you also have a Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze where it’s a side-scrolling platformer. Also like DKC, you have letters to obtain in each level, which spell, of course, L-U-C-K-Y. Some of these were hard to find, but most of them are easy to get and took me little effort, and maybe a bit of luck(y).
There are six main worlds, including the post-game Foxington. There’s a Sky world, a farm-like world, a arid mesa world, a tropical paradise world, and a ghost carnival world. Each one had variety and I liked that it didn’t rehash a lot of the same formulaic platforming tropes. The level design also varies as well, as some will feel more open ended than a linear path (though those levels do exist).
Simplicity at its finest.
It feels simplistic, but what it gets right is it’s uniqueness as a platformer. It doesn’t have some gimmicky mechanic. It doesn’t have upgrades or fancy technology. Sometimes, what isn’t broke, doesn’t need fixing. In fact, it’s simplicity actually works in its favor. Lucky’s pretty much a simple explorer. He doesn’t need fancy gadgets or super speed to get through his day.
The game is a little on the easy side, but I found this to be one of the most accessible platformers out there, and one that anyone of any age can get into. The characters are fun to interact with, the worlds are vibrant and unique across each level, the combat is good, and the music is really catchy. I get a smile on my face every time I see Lucky get a page at the end of the level and he cheers with victory. I feel in a world of hyper-realistic games like the stuff EA or Activision would put out, it’s nice to have a little harmless fun while being the hero.
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