Lucky’s Tale Review- A Mediocre Tale
Best Part:Colourful World
Worst Part:Replaying Levels to Unlock Story Mode
Lucky’s Tale is a 3D Platformer developed by Playful exclusively for the Oculus Rift. It’s set in a bright vibrant world where you will run, jump and climb your way around each level. It won’t take you long to get through the game or those it present much of a challenge, but Lucky’s Tale is just about worth the few hours it will take you to complete.
Lucky’s Tale is a third-person platform launch game developed by Playful for the Oculus Rift and comes bundled with the Rift from day one. For anyone who has only tried VR by just playing from the first person perspective and even anyone new to the Oculus, Lucky’s Tale is a perfect game to show the potential for Virtual Reality and to prove it is not just for FPS shooter games.
The story tells the tale of a cute little fox called Lucky and his little buddy Piggy. One peaceful day in their home, when they are taking which is probably a well-earned nap from their adventures, an octopus appears outside their window looking for a bite to eat, scoops up Piggy and takes him away. This action sets the whole story off and as Piggy seems to be an actual piggy bank he drops coins which you have to collect and in turn is a big part of gameplay. As Lucky, it’s up to you to go rescue your friend from being a main course.
The game is sort of Mario 64 mashed up with Crash Bandicoot set in VR. As you would imagine for a platformer there is lots of running around, jumping from platform to platform, making your way over spinning logs, bouncing on mushrooms and climbing up walls. Platformers have never been the sort of game I’ve gravitated to but even for me there was nothing that I hadn’t seen before throughout the game. Level progression is rather easy too and you never seem to get stuck in an area for too long and most of the time you can just waltz through to the end of a level. There is no real challenge on any of the chapters though the later ones do get a little bit trickier. However, at this stage, you will have earned a lot of spare lives and you never get stuck for more than two or three tries.
The gameplay is very polished and the controls do handle extremely well even if they are fairly basic. The world is really colourful, full of life and well crafted. Story Mode does suffer from being far too short and can easily be finished in an afternoon. Playful do lock out chapters until you have collected enough “Paws” to unlock the next round. These are earned by completing levels through the story mode, time limit or collecting all the red coins bonus level. Being forced to replay some levels to unlock the main game can be a little frustrating and seems to exist just to extend your play time and makes the game feel longer than it really is.
Everything in the game is designed to be cute and this includes the creatures out to get you and get in your way. Even little red birds that look a little cross (most likely they’re annoyed about being ripped off from Angry Birds) are kind of cute too. There is never any real threat from the enemies you encounter. In fact, I’m not even sure that some of them where enemies as they look so friendly running towards you, maybe just looking to help out or point you in the right direction before you jump on their head. The one or two times I was heavily outnumbered I was never really in any danger and a well-timed flick of my tail or a belly flop was enough to dispatch any enemy I came across. The boss fights suffer the same problem as they don’t offer up much of a challenge and they seem to be over before they begin.
Playing this game in VR does bring you right into Lucky’s world with him and getting to look around with your head now being the camera works really well and is enjoyable. When you run around as Lucky you collect coins, jewels, hearts and lives and the 3D icons for these inside VR make it feel really satisfying to collect them and it gives them a sense of real presence that is not felt in a non-VR game. This is the same for every piece of ground, platform and fauna. Sometimes you just want to look up and around to see what the next parts of the level will bring. You can find yourself looking around trees and bushes for extra coins or even when Lucky is climbing up a wall you tend to stretch up and look for a sign of possible danger for your furry little friend. The game never rushes the camera as it’s following Lucky. Instead it glides at a nice pace along with him and this helps to never feel disorientated even if Lucky is dashing through the Time Limit events. There is an issue that when you do look around and see a collectible you have missed and you need to scamper back to pick it up, the camera will be reversing back and you can’t watch behind you and Lucky at the same time. This can end up with you running into an enemy or over a drop. The game does have a nice feature that as you do look around coins and diamonds do appear as if you unlock them with your glare, although they are still in translucent form. This gives you a little something extra to do and keeps you more involved in the game by having you looking around all the time. The bonus levels do offer a change of pace and work really well in VR as you play a small side-scrolling game underground.
Lucky’s Tale is not a bad game but either is it great it just sits in the middle somewhere. Playful have crafted both a bright vibrant world and a loveable character in Lucky. Although with the game being so short and never presenting any real challenge, you will walk away from it feeling a little underwhelmed. VR does bring something extra that you can’t get with any other platformer out there so with that I would recommend everyone from beginner to an experienced gamer, to sit down for an afternoon and play through Lucky’s Tale. I don’t think this will be the last that we will see of the furry little fox and building off this Playful could make a sequel that I’d be happy to play.