I hope you’re sitting down for this, because your mind is about to be blown twice. Firstly, Microsoft debuted Super Lucky’s Tale at their E3 press conference last night. Super Lucky’s Tale is an old-school 3D platformer, making it Microsoft’s first since Voodoo Vince way back in 2003. Secondly, the game was originally launched as Lucky’s Tale for the Oculus Rift. That’s right, there’s a third person, 3D platformer on a VR headset. Too bad the Rift didn’t come with free vomit bags.
It’s Like the 90’s All Over Again
As odd as it is to see Microsoft with an exclusive 3D platformer of their own, it’s odder still to see a 90’s platformer at an E3 press conference. Yooka-Laylee helped reinvigorate interest in the genre, even though it’s terrible. Last year’s E3 was all about the return of Crash Bandicoot at Sony’s conference. A Hat in Time is also at E3 this year, which already has a new trailer out.
This is great news not only for fans of 3D platformers, but for everyone. The 3D platformer genre has been effectively dead for years, and its sudden resurgence shows developers are finally willing to branch out. We’ve been stuck with shooters, RPG’s, 2D platformers, and zombie crafting survival games for so long now that we can’t help but snap up whatever unique games we can get our hands on, however bad they may be. But the sudden return of the 3D platformer finally means us gamers are about to get a lot more variety in our diet.
What is Super Lucky’s Tale?
If it weren’t for the story surrounding Super Lucky’s Tale – i.e. that it’s a Microsoft 3D platformer – the game would otherwise be totally un-noteworthy. It’s a cutesy, 90’s mascot platformer where you run around a colorful, forest world collecting coins and jumping on things. As we saw with The Last Tinker, the reason why the genre collapsed and why recent 3D platformers have been so bad is because they religiously cling to design philosophies of Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie, two 20 year old games. They don’t try anything new or different, and as a result, they all feel identical.
Maybe the VR aspect of Lucky’s Tale was enough to make it stand out. However, nobody in their right mind with play such a game in VR to begin with, so it didn’t matter. Given the “Super” added to the title, that could mean the game will get some other changes. We could see more levels, improved levels, new characters, who knows?
Super Lucky’s Tale might be unremarkable, but the simple fact of a 3D platformer being exclusive to an Xbox console might be enough. It doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel or even be great, just good, and it’ll find an audience. Xbox gamers haven’t had a 3D platformer to sink their teeth into for years, and now they’ve finally got it.