Lucky's Tale - hands-on at CES 2016 with Oculus Rift

There have been plenty of showcases built with virtual reality in mind. But what happens when a more traditional game is crafted and just happens to work with VR? Shacknews recently had a chance to strap on an Oculus Rift headset and try out Lucky's Tale.

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Virtual reality has largely been a showcase for first-person experiences and a chance to view gaming through an entirely different perspective. It lets players reach out and interact with a world they've never been able to touch before. However, what happens when a more traditional gaming experience is set to virtual reality? The result is Lucky's Tale from the folks at Playful.

There's no major virtual reality-tied hook here. Lucky's Tale is a standard 3D platformer, in the vein of games like Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, or Ratchet & Clank. Players control a happy-go-lucky little fox traversing a colorful world, but one filled with dangerous enemies. Even the perspective is just as before, with players viewing Lucky from a third-person view. The biggest difference that Lucky's Tale has over its contemporaries is that the camera is controlled entirely by the player's head. In fact, players will have to unlearn roughly 20 years of gaming logic, because the camera is no longer tied to the right analog stick.

What that means is that players can view the world as they see fit. They can peer underneath the elevated surface that Lucky is standing on to view the waters (or lava) below, they can peer into the sky to check out a bright sun or a cave ceiling, or they can look around to check for any enemies that may be spawning in and attempting to catch Lucky off-guard. The camera will follow Lucky, of course, but the player is granted freedom to look around and take in the surroundings.

The platforming mechanics in Lucky's Tale are finely implemented, offering collectible coins, secret areas, and challenging jumping sequences. But there are a few things that take some getting used to. Normally, the camera can be adjusted in such a way that jumping and swiping at enemies becomes easier to judge. This isn't quite the case here, since your personal perspective acts as the camera. That means it's possible to mistime a jump or swing at an enemy and miss.

If there's something to take away from Lucky's Tale, it's that traditional games can work in virtual reality. VR shouldn't be seen as a complete replacement for classic genres, but it should be seen as a way to enhance old standbys. Just as the 3D era pushed certain styles of games in new directions, virtual reality offers the same potential. Playful is certainly taking that idea to heart and it'll be interesting to see how many players take to it.

Lucky's Tale will debut alongside the Oculus Rift VR and will come as one of the packed-in titles.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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