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Spirit Lucky's Big Adventure Is Washed-Out On Arrival

dreamworks spirit lucky's big adventure
Courtesy of Outright Games

DreamWorks Spirit Lucky's Big Adventure

Publisher: Outright Games
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Available as: Digital and Physical

GOTY -- Gaffe Of The Year

I think the one thing that surprised me the most when I saw this game, aside from the fact that it even exists for us to be unboxing this anyway, is that the Spirit movie turned into a franchise large enough to sprout a sequel, released this year, and make a video game based off of said sequel. 

Especially since the original alone, to me anyway, was a highly forgettable movie in which all I remember was that it dealt with horses. I wouldn’t even have the movie remotely in my mind were it not for the opening song playing at the store of a multi-million dollar corporation that I used to work at. Thank goodness I don’t have to hear that song or deal with the bs of that store anymore.

DreamWorks Spirit Lucky's Big Adventure gameplay
DreamWorks Spirit Lucky's Big Adventure - Nintendo Switch Game Capture

NOT The ‘Spirit’ You Grew Up With

But, yes indeed today we are covering DreamWorks Spirit Lucky’s Big Adventure and if that sounded like a mouthful, then trust me, that’s the official name of the game according to the Nintendo website. Also, according to the website, this game has an MSRP of $39.99 which, on the Switch is a competitive price. There are already a lot of titles, the majority of which aren’t even on sale, that are certified blockbusters within the same price range. But, it’s not like me to judge a book by its cover even if by the cover it looks like someone took the license and “Barbiefied” it.

Unfortunately, even suspending my disbelief and putting myself in the perspective of a child isn’t enough to deny how horrid this game runs. DreamWorks Spirit Lucky’s Big Adventure, docked alone, runs at a snail’s crawl and it’s unfortunate because the game plays like it demands precise controls to even allow basic things such as controlling Spirit and the girl, Lucky herself. The best way I can explain the controls is that it’s similar to PlayStation 1 era early 3D titles. Think Tomb Raider and how Lara has to step in a specific direction to turn, causing her to glide about in a way that feels unnatural but it’s something players will pick up on.

DreamWorks Spirit Lucky's Big Adventure gameplay
DreamWorks Spirit Lucky's Big Adventure - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

A Child’s Project Looks Better Than This...

Now, imagine this over twenty years later in a kid’s game, where somehow the horse controls worse than the human even though the horse is the supposed “star” of the show. If Spirit gets stuck on a wall, there are times when he will refuse to move and turn until seconds after the player frantically tries to move him away from the obstacle. Even lining up next to other NPCs is enough to cause this to go out of control, much to my frustration. At some point I even thought the controls were acting up, but, no, even watching other people play this on the Switch, it has the same terrible frame rate and the even-worse controls.

Maybe the story is the saving point here right? Wrong. A big fat wrong. As far as my attention span would allow me to care, I got that the girl, Lucky, is on a treasure hunt after her father discovers a treasure map left behind by her mother. Then there’s a random dude who is snatching horses and Lucky teams up with her best friends to look for the treasure...but also be on the lookout for the horse bandit?

lucky's big adventure gameplay
DreamWorks Spirit Lucky's Big Adventure - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

DreamWorks Spirit Lucky's Big Adventure Is Not Fun To Play Or Look At

Somehow the town knows that there’s a horse bandit on the loose but...somehow completing chores is more important than calling the sheriff to go after a felon? The girls are going after said felon themselves and Lucky’s pops seem to be okay with it? I have no idea what is going on and again basing it on the original movie, none of these characters are remotely familiar at all and I can’t be bothered to watch the movie that this game is based on if it’s as lifeless and dull as the game is alone. First impressions are everything and I can’t say I was impressed to care to know more about Lucky and her friends, maybe if I’m really bored.

DreamWorks Spirit Lucky’s Big Adventure’s gameplay is even blander as there are only two controls; a dash and a jump. Even on foot, all the player does is jump, call their horse, interact with objects the game tells you to, and have brief weird segments like taking pictures with a camera that’s more of a pain in the ass than a feature I’d wish to dive into. 

SLBA Nintendo Switch
DreamWorks Spirit Lucky's Big Adventure - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Player Base? DreamWorks Spirit Lucky's Big Adventure Has One?

I want to say this game was marketed towards young girls and if so, this is an offense to girls. Especially for the asking price of $40, one can spend money on so many premier titles for the Switch, including Fire Emblem Three Houses which not only allows players to play as a woman but also features very strong women as central characters in the game. 

You could teach your child how to explore various identities within themselves based on a diverse cast of students forced into a war-torn state, or you can bore your child to death by riding on a horse aimlessly at 10 frames-per-second. The choice is yours.

DreamWorks Spirit Lucky's Big Adventure is (sadly) available on the PC, Switch, Xbox One, and PS4.

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