e3 2014

Lucky's Tale Shows How Platformers Can Work With Oculus Rift

by Mike Futter on Jun 11, 2014 at 04:46 AM

When Lucky's Tale was announced last week, I was skeptical about how a 3D platformer might work in virtual reality. While I think Lucky's Tale has room to improve, it definitely makes the case that third-person experiences can succeed quite well in this medium.

Lucky's Tale, which is under development by Paul Bettner (Words with Friends) and his team at Playful, puts players up close with a furry hero. Lucky has a set of basic skills, like jumping, throwing, and bouncing on enemies to kill them. The view keeps you close to Lucky, and instead of using the right analog stick for the camera, you need only turn your head.

Unlike most VR experiences, like Alien: Isolation and Superhot, Lucky's Tale left me with a slightly woozy feeling of vertigo. This is something I haven't experienced with Oculus, even with the outstanding EVE Valkyrie demo.

The level we played was very simple, but it did have some drops that were a bit off-putting, possibly due to the camera position being so close to Lucky at that point. I also had some trouble peeking around some visual obstacles, and would like to see the camera refined.

Overall, as a first test of the genre, Lucky's Tale succeeds in demonstrating the viability of platformers in virtual reality. Between now and Oculus Rift's as yet unknown consumer release date, I suspect that Bettner and Playful will work to refine the experience for comfort and playability.