Super Lucky's Tale: Gilly Island DLC Review

By Sam Quirke, 9 months ago
Super Lucky's Tale was a game of highs and lows. It certainly had a cute aesthetic and for the most part, delivered a classic platforming experience with competence. Unfortunately there were more than a few hiccups, and over the course of the full game the problems came to the fore as the charm wore away. It’s perhaps a game that should be played in short bursts for that very reason. It’s easy to forgive the faults if they haven’t had a chance to grind away the charm. For this reason, the surprise release of a short additional chapter as DLC is a perfect fit as the base game moves into Xbox Game Pass, where players may dip in and out of the game over a longer period.

Developed by Playful Corp and published by Microsoft StudiosDeveloped by Playful Corp and published by Microsoft Studios


The additional content sends Lucky off on a vacation to Gilly Island for Super Lucky's Tale, but unfortunately Lady Meowmalade has turned paradise into a nightmare for the tourists. You’ll come across a selection of the cute critters from the base game on the tropical island, all bemoaning the fact that Meowmalade is throwing a party to celebrate her new single. It’s a terrible song but it’s gotten in everyone’s head, and you need to complete three levels to destroy the speakers blaring the noise across the island before taking down Meowmalade herself in a boss battle. Unfortunately this is an early stumbling block for the DLC; Meowmalade’s song may be intentionally bad, but the sound designers have gone too far. You may well find yourself running from level to level quickly or turning the sound off altogether, because it’s unbearable stuff.

That would be a shame, because Gilly Island itself is a pretty little spot to hang around in. The art style is consistent with the base game but the tropical setting adds a splash of sunny variety. Once you do start destroying those blasted speakers there is actually a fairly pleasant overworld soundtrack to the place as well — so at least there is a reward for enduring Meowmalade’s horrible song.

A pleasant spot for a drink, once you've silenced the cat-cophony.A pleasant spot for a drink, once you've silenced the cat-cophony.


The DLC’s three stages run the gamut of the base game’s offerings: you get one small three-dimensional map, one isometric maze to navigate, and one fully two-dimensional side-scroller. The expansion adds absolutely nothing in terms of additional features or move-sets, and that’s to be expected from such a small piece of content. In fact, it probably works in its favour — rather than clutter the experience with a one-note gimmick, Gilly Island just offers a fresh lick of paint to a familiar set of gameplay expectations. None of the levels feel overstretched or overly difficult, which cannot be said for the base game, and so Gilly Island feels like a great way to remind existing fans what it is they liked about the original experience.

Just like in the main game, your main task is to collect up to four clovers in each stage until you have enough to unlock the next one. On the whole these clovers felt significantly easier than those found in the final third of the original game, meaning that players that have been away for a while won’t be thrown into the deep end. Nevertheless, it does speed up what is already a very short experience. Accomplished platformers may feel slightly short-changed when their vacation in Gilly Island comes to an abrupt end. That ending is a sour one; for whatever reason, the developers have decided to include a boss battle similar to the base game’s abysmal final encounter. Once again it’s only difficult because Lucky’s jump seems weirdly underpowered and the camera angle makes it annoyingly tricky to determine whether he lands on a safe spot or a laser beam. Happily it’s slightly easier overall than the final showdown of the main quest, but it’s still an aggravating note to end on.

When the final reward is getting the cat to stop singing, you'll put up with anything.When the final reward is getting the cat to stop singing, you'll put up with anything.


Other minor aspects of the base game make a return as well. The Slide Block Puzzles make a return, and while the puzzle master continues to be a fairly funny character to hang out with, his puzzles remain dull. It would have been nice to have seen some Gilly Island flavour at least in repainting the puzzle assets, but sadly everything looks exactly the same. There’s a disappointing lack of other activities on the hub island itself — apart from a few diamonds hidden on extra platforms, there’s basically nothing to do but chat briefly to the tourists and get on with the clover hunt.

With that said, the additional clovers in the levels themselves seem to be slightly less frustrating to obtain while maintaining a decent challenge. It was a lot simpler to grab the 300 coins needed in each level for an additional clover, but the experience of finding them was still engaging enough to make it fun. The alarm clock timed sections make a return for additional coins or one of the L-U-C-K-Y letters, but according to this playthrough it would appear that Playful have ensured that those clocks reappear after a failed attempt, resolving one of my larger frustrations with the base game whereby any mini-game failure essentially required a total level restart.

A beautiful, cat-free view. Perfect. (Disclaimer: the reviewer prefers dogs.)A beautiful, cat-free view. Perfect. (Disclaimer: the reviewer prefers dogs.)


The achievement list for the DLC pack itself is relatively straightforward and in keeping with those in the base game. As well as completing the main levels and securing all of the clovers, there are some fun additional challenges such as avoiding every switch in a switch-based maze, and defeating a yeti in an homage to an early video game classic. Getting through the final boss without getting hit will be a pain, but the rest of the list is manageable. The same can't be said for the Title Update that all players have received alongside the release of this DLC; for some baffling reason the developers saw fit to make players pick up 99,000 coins across the base game and additional content. A thorough playthrough of both will only net about 20,000 — so earning this achievement will take a depressing amount of grinding.

Check out our Best Xbox Platformer Games Available in 2018 article for a compilation of other great games in this genre.

Summary

Super Lucky's Tale is perhaps a game best served in small slices, so that the surface cheerfulness isn’t ground down by overexposure to the game’s faults. It certainly seems so based on the short but sweet Gilly Island DLC. The expansion is simply one extra world with a handful of levels plus the inevitable boss, and despite some lovely tropical art design it really does next to nothing to improve or alter the basic gameplay loop. Yet it works — diving back into this world for a brief couple of hours is refreshing compared to the eventual tedium of the base game. Some aspects of the design are still frustrating, but Gilly Island remains short, easy and pretty enough that you don't have the opportunity to get too upset about it. If you didn't enjoy the base game this DLC will do absolutely nothing to sway you. If you were a fan, though, this is an easy recommendation. Kick back in the tropical sands and have a little fun, and here's hoping Lucky gets a few more little outings in this format in the coming year.
3.5 / 5
Gilly Island in Super Lucky's Tale
Positives
  • Short and sweet, doesn't out-stay its welcome
  • The tropical island hub and the levels have a lovely design
  • A decent collection of the best aspects of the base game
Negatives
  • Still plagued by some poor design decisions, particularly in the boss battle
  • The deliberately annoying cat music is a little too obnoxious
  • Doesn't build on the main game in new or interesting ways
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent about four hours digging foxholes in the beach, earning 11 of the DLC's 14 achievements. An Xbox One digital code was provided for the purpose of this review.
Please read our Review and Ethics Statement for more information.
Sam Quirke
Written by Sam Quirke
Sam has been a Newshound since 2016. He's also been gaming long enough to know what a text parser is. When not hopelessly lost in the latest open-world epic, Sam is busy devouring books and podcasts or trading Pokémon with his wife.