paul-bettnerWhen most people think about the types of things that want to do in virtual reality, then they almost always think of experiences that are from the first-person perspective. But Lucky’s Tale proved to me that there are going to be a whole range of experiences that people don’t know that they want to have until they actually have them in VR. It also proved to a lot of VR developers that not only could a third-person perspective work, but that it could work so well as to be able to cause a fit of VR giggles for how surprisingly compelling and delightful it could be.

I talked with Playful Corp’s Paul Bettner in January about the decision to bundle Lucky’s Tale with every Oculus Rift, and I also had a chance to catch up with him again a few weeks ago at GDC for some pre-launch thoughts as he was showing off the final build of Lucky’s Tale.

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Having the camera in the third-person perspective with a finely tuned movement algorithms solves a lot of the problems of VR locomotion, but it also creates a very stimulating experience for your brain. Lucky’s Tale places all of of the action within the near-field sweet spot of VR, which feels like it’s about an arm’s-length worth of distance. This allows you to really see a lot of the stereoscopic effects that are the strength of VR, but it’s also really integrated within the gameplay of Lucky’s Tale in that it really wouldn’t work as well if you tried to play it in 2D.

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I’ve been a huge fan of Lucky’s Tale since first playing it at GDC 2015 because it gave me that sense of nostalgic awe and wonder that I remember feeling from playing through Super Mario Bros as a kid. I had a chance to play a demo build of a single level of Lucky’s Tale back in September, and I ended up playing a single level over and over again for four hours trying to create my own self-created achievements. The final build of Lucky’s Tale will have at least a couple of different modes for playing each level, and Playful Corp wanted to provide different objectives to encourage players to revisit and continue to explore each level for either hidden coins or to find the fastest path to the end.

Lucky’s Tale is rated as Moderate in comfortability and is included as a bundled launch title for the Oculus Rift, which officially launches today.

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  • Bryan Ischo

    It’s available for free on the Oculus Store for DK2 owners as well as CV1 owners. Thank you Oculus! I am sure that it looks better with the CV1, but it still looks quite good with the DK2.

    The cuteness of this game cannot be overstated. The characters are designed to be super cute and they are. This may sound like a lame endorsement but there is something very compelling in the character design. The gameplay is fine, nothing earth shattering, it doesn’t have any elements that you haven’t already seen in many games before. But it’s very polished. And it has a sort of a diorama mode when you go underground that is somehow even more visually engaging (for me) than the above ground mode.

    All that being said, I don’t think it’s really the best showcase for VR. While the true 3d view makes the game more compelling than a flat screen version, it doesn’t equate to a fundamentally different experience. I’ve only played through the first two levels thus far, maybe later levels will change my mind.

    Oh and with regards to the comfort. The first minute or so felt a little strange as the camera moved me around on its own to follow Lucky. But that quickly passed and I never felt any discomfort after that in about 40 minutes of further play.

  • michaeltenery

    This game surprised the heck out of me. I found myself talking to the little fox! It seems insane but he is adorable and you get attached to the little guy after following him around a while. I am a grown man and the awwws came often. This game is just a blast. And not just for cuteness but for how it plays. It invites discovery and looking around. What a great launch vehicle for the Rift. I am sorry I was ever skeptical.