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About the product
- OUR NEW BUDDY DUO: Yooka and Laylee boast an awesome arsenal of abilities built for platforming fun!
- CARVE YOUR PATH: Unlock moves with freedom and choose to expand your favourite worlds into even larger playgrounds!
- A MODERN COLLECT-EM-UP: Seek out a roster of shiny collectibles with gameplay progression at their core!
- A CAST TO LAST: Meet a memorable cast of characters destined to endure in future Playtonic adventures!
- LOTS MORE: Discover epic boss fights, mine cart challenges, co-op mode, unique multiplayer games and more!
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From the manufacturer
Yooka-Laylee is a new open-world platformer from genre veterans Playtonic! Explore huge, beautiful worlds, meet (and beat) an unforgettable cast of characters and horde a vault-load of shiny collectibles as buddy-duo Yooka (the green one) and Laylee (the bat with the big nose) embark on an epic adventure to thwart corporate creep Capital B!
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Yooka-Laylee takes a lot of inspiration from Banjo-Kazooie. You collect two primary collectible items: quills (the equivalent of Banjo's musical notes) and "Pagies" (the equivalent of Banjo's puzzle pieces). There are other items in each world to collect as well, such as a Jinjo equivalent. It's collect-a-thon platforming, which is exactly what it was advertised to be.
You control Yooka with some help from Laylee, the bat companion, to navigate the worlds. They can obtain new moves which aid in exploration and puzzle solving. The controls are pretty good, but feel at times a little looser than they should be. For instance, there is a move where the characters can move more quickly by turning into a ball and rolling on it. While it moves faster than walking, it isn't as precise as its spiritual predecessor, Banjo-Kazooie's "Talon Trot." This lack of precision can lead to some frustrating sections of the game where otherwise easily obtainable collectibles are missed.
The other issue with the game is the camera. Most of the time it works without issue, but sometimes, it moves at just the wrong moment resulting in you falling off a platform. An example of this is in the very first area of the game. There are some small platforms leading up to a ship. As you approach the ship, the camera shifts its position which can cause you to miss the jump and land on the ground. Periodically while exploring the game's worlds, the same thing will happen, leading to unnecessary deaths. Platforming games, whether they are 2D or 3D, require a higher-than-average degree of precision, so the camera cannot be an obstacle unto itself. However, the situations in which the camera gets in the way are not excessive or so bad as to render the game unplayable.
The game consists of a hub world and five fairly large sub-worlds to explore. These sub-worlds are all pretty good (though the second world is only so-so), consisting of plenty of collectibles, platforming challenges, and rewards for exploration. There are mine cart sections, boss battles, races, and puzzles spread across the five worlds. While the total number of worlds to explore is a little light, each of them is densely packed so as to feel fulfilling.
There is a quiz show game at the end of the game challenging your knowledge of some very specific facts from the game. This is a direct throwback to an identical mechanic in the end of Banjo-Kazooie, and in fact was a Kickstarter goal if funding hit a certain level. Some people might be turned off by it as it can tend to break up the action, but it is intended to be a throwback and is (ostensibly) a reflection of what backers wanted.
Overall, Yooka-Laylee is a fun game to play and explore. It encourages exploration at every turn, and feels similar to the heyday of the 3D platformer genre on the Nintendo 64.
Yooka-Laylee is bright and colorful, just like its predecessors were. Environments are clearly defined and look quite good. Everything has a great sense of artistic style and consistency. While it does not push the hardware on the PS4 to any meaningful degree, Yooka-Laylee accomplishes exactly what it sets out to accomplish in the visuals department.
The game does not feature any voices, at least not in the traditional sense. Like the Banjo games, the characters "speak" using garbles and voice samples that mix together. While I was a fan of this style on the Nintendo 64, something about the voices in this particular game just is not quite right. The only way I can describe it is that in Banjo-Kazooie, the voices had an almost musical quality to them, whereas here, many of them just sort of sound like a bunch of garbles and never surpass that baseline starting point. I understand and appreciate the choice in using these types of voices, and it does not bother me, but the reality is I've heard the exact same style done better before.
By contrast, the music in the game is phenomenal. Grant Kirkhope, David Wise, and Steve Burke nailed the score. It sounds like it could come right out of the Nintendo 64 era in terms of composition, but it is mostly live recordings, so the sound quality is much improved. The songs fit the worlds very well, and there are variations depending on whether you are swimming, near certain locations in the world, or just in the general areas of the worlds.
I've compared Yooka-Laylee to Banjo-Kazooie a number of times in this review, but Yooka-Laylee practically begs for the comparison because it is, in a very real and unapologetic way, the sequel that Banjo-Tooie never received. As an indie-developed, Kickstarter-backed project, Yooka-Laylee is a resounding success. It could have used a little more QA testing to resolve the camera issues, and the voices will not be to everyone's satisfaction. That having been said, Yooka-Laylee wears its identity proudly. If you grew up in the era of Nintendo 64 3D platformers, this game has been tailor-made for you. It will also likely appeal to younger kids and families due to its colorful characters and largely inoffensive aesthetic (there are some very dry, British-humor jokes that push right up to, but never cross, the line, such as naming the snake character Trouser so as to create a literal "Trouser Snake"). If you do not have an appreciation for 3D exploration collect-a-thon platformers, this game will not likely change your mind. For those who do, I would urge you to pick this game up. It's not perfect, but it is an excellent and enjoyable 3D platformer with some modern sensibilities.
I have played it so far and have gotten to the 3rd world. The game is so fun!!