I was given a review key to play and share my thoughts on Team 17 and Playtonic Games' spiritual successor to classic 3D platform games like Banjo-Kazooie, called Yooka-Laylee. The game is set to come out for Xbox One, PS4 and PC for $39.99 on April 11th, and has a planned launch for the Nintendo Switch as well.
Having played a lot of classic games that experimented with 3D back during the late part of the 1990's, I couldn't wait to play Yooka-Laylee. And although I enjoyed a lot of parts in the game, I can see where those who missed out on the early 3D platforming days of Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64, or people who simply weren't too fond of that era of gaming, could easily walk away from Yooka-Laylee with a sour taste in their mouth.
With that said, and attempting not to spoil the entire game, who is Yooka-Laylee catered toward and what does it have to offer? Well, if you like bright, colorful and humorous titles this one is sure to bring just that and then some. If you like tricky puzzles, trials that call for you to pay attention, and tests that demand fast and nimble use skills and abilities found scattered throughout the game, then you will probably like playing this game and unlocking hidden content behind along the way.
If you've played Banjo-Kazooie it is likely that you will find a lot of references and hints sprinkled throughout Yooka-Laylee. And much like its predecessor, the game also doesn't refrain from ratcheting up the difficulty early on, even within the first hour.
After the first 10 to 20 minutes of the game you will find a hub-like villain hideout that is used to jump to other worlds. This hub can be further opened up by finding special items known as Golden Pagies in the hideout, as well as those scattered around the other worlds/realms.
I'm sure collecting Golden Pagies will bring a smile to the faces of those who like challenges, given that collecting some of them can be rather challenging since they aren't just typically lying around. These challenges quiz players on the environment of other realms in the game and on enemies, and sometimes players will need to collect things called Quills in order to purchase special abilities so that the abilities can be used to unlock a puzzle (or beat a time trial) to obtain more Golden Pagies.
As players progress further into the game and defeat bosses, the more the hub world opens, allowing players to venture around more freely and to access more realms. At first, opening up more worlds can feel a bit overwhelming at first, but it'll likely be enticing for gamers out there who enjoy adventure and challenges.
As far as creativity and gameplay variety is concerned, the game does a decent job of alternating the recipe of fun by offering different kinds of collectibles to gather without any of it feeling glitchy or too out of place.
Yooka-Laylee also packs a lot of collectibles across each realm in the game, and one group of collectibles, going by the name of Ghost writers, has players obtaining each of the five Ghosts in a particular way. For those who are a collector at heart or an achievement hunter this game brings loads of collectibles throughout the story mode.
The game also sports local multiplayer so that players and their friends or family can play in one single place on one PC or console. The multiplayer modes offer different challenges and competitive play for living room domination, and a special co-op mode so that another player can help Yooka and Laylee.
As for the soundtrack that Yooka-Laylee houses... the game has a decent soundtrack that won't get annoying when roaming about the different realms, and if any song becomes too repetitive players can always turn the music down via the options menu. I should note that the music does change depending on your location in a realm, such as if you are underwater, up high or in a new section of the same realm.
As for the sound in the game, it's nothing to write home about nor is it anything that is terrible, except I can see where some might find the indistinct babbling that the characters emit can become annoying after awhile, which can be turned down, too, in the options menu.
Before concluding this review, if you are aware of what happened between JonTron and Playtonic, and you do not like censorship and so on, this game is not for you. But if you do like good modern day platform/adventure games then this title is something worth checking into, especially if titles like Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64 hold a special place in your heart.
Yooka-Laylee is set to come out for Xbox One, PS4 and PC on April 11th, with a planned release for the Nintendo Switch, too. The game has a current price point of $39.99.
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