As some of you might already be aware, I’m a massive fan of 3D platformers, and I miss the days where it was a popular and well-received genre. When I first heard of Yooka-Laylee, I was ecstatic. A new 3D platformer, created by past veterans of Rare Studios, I kept a close eye on the game during its development, watching as it became the fastest video game in Kickstarter history to reach US$1 million (it has since been beaten), but I never had a proper chance to play it until recently.
For those that might not know much about the game, it follows Yooka and Laylee, who journey through Hivory Towers to take down Capital B and his minions after stealing the One Book that has the power to re-write the universe.
Much like Banjo-Kazooie, the game tasks players with venturing into various themed worlds in order to complete tasks and collect Pagies, the game’s main collectible item. The worlds in Yooka-Laylee, while not necessarily memorable, are fun to explore and vibrant. Eventually, players can choose to expand each world, and while the additional challenges are fun, some worlds suffer from a case of being too big for their own good, which detracts from the experience at times. This also becomes an issue when searching for Quills, as some are placed in awkward locations, or are unreachable prior to expanding the world, which isn’t explained to the player.
While I wasn’t a fan of Capital B in both design or as a character, the other supporting characters in Yooka-Laylee are much more enjoyable. If I had to choose a favourite, I think Trowzer is the standout for me, but characters such as Rextro, Dr. Quack and Kartos are all likeable in their own right. It’s something that the developers at Playtonic Games have a lot of experience with given their prior work at Rare, so it’s no surprise to see them excel with their character design here as well.
As a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, players will find that gameplay is very similar. Aside from the platforming and collecting, players are also able to unlock new moves, as well as undergo transformations by interacting with Dr. Puzz, a former research scientist turned ally to Yooka and Laylee. The game also allows Yooka to gain additional abilities by swallowing elemental berries, providing players with fire breath, the ability to shoot explosives, and more. These berry bushes not only change up combat scenarios, but can also play a role in various puzzles and challenges throughout the game.
For players that are looking for a classic, 3D platforming experience, Yooka-Laylee is exactly what you’re looking for. Admittedly, I played the game well after a significant patch fixed a number of issues, so my initial experience wasn’t as problematic as it was for those that played it at launch. Nevertheless, Yooka-Laylee is an enjoyable game that’s bound to provide a fun time for just about anyone.