Overall - 60%
If you're expecting Yooka-Laylee to push the platforming genre into new and exciting directions, you'll be left disappointed. While the game fails to make any big strides into new and unknown territories, it lives up to the overall quality, quirky nature, and well-designed platforming elements put in place by its predecessor nearly 20 years ago - and that's no easy feat.
With some of gaming’s top talents joining forces to form Playtonic Games, it was no surprise that the Kickstarter for Banjo-Kazooie’s spiritual successor broke records, but can the platforming nostalgia of yesteryear still deliver a worthwhile experience in this day and age? 73,206. That’s the huge number of people that financially backed the success of Yooka-Laylee with one of Kickstarters most funded projects, bringing in a staggering £2.5m.
The team promised to deliver an all-new 3D platformer with a modern take on yesterday’s platforming genre. Vibrant and colorful environments alongside the classic duo-hero combination puts plenty on show for fans of Rare’s greatest titles, but is that enough?
Yooka-Laylee Review – A New Game For An Older Generation
If you were to sit around a table discussing the greatest platforming games of all time, there’s a good chance someone would mention the likes of Banjo-Kazooie. Needless to say, it’s no surprise that the gaming community as a whole has become so excited for a spiritual successor to step forward. Yooka-Laylee doesn’t rewrite the rule book. Nothing new to the platforming genre, but what it does, it does really well. At its most basic level, Yooka-Laylee is the perfect platformer from the 90s. The platforming mechanics are solid, environments are put together beautifully, and its myriad of collectibles, puzzles, and secrets offer a welcome trip down memory lane for those looking to relive the glory days of platformers.
Taking on the role of heroic duo Yooka and Laylee, you’ll explore various environments trying to capture “Pagies” and stopping the evil Capital B from ridding the world of all good literature. The story and characters are about what you would expect: Colorful, comical, and rarely making any sense. It’s rare to see a platformer focus heavily on story, and Yooka-Laylee follows that trend. However, it also drops the ball when it comes to selling its characters. Instead of dialog, the characters speak through grunts and other unpleasant noises. While this has a certain level of charm to it, the creative writing behind the game deserved more. From start to finish, Yooka-Laylee is overflowing with fantastic dad jokes, one-liners, and fourth wall breaks. This is one area of the game that doesn’t disappoint on any level.
Yooka and Laylee come equipped with a variety of abilities that aid with exploration and combat, although the latter is more a minor distraction than a feature. There’s no benefit to taking down enemies, as most die in a single hit. Other than blocking a path or area, the enemies serve very little purpose. Thankfully, the exploration is more rewarding with a huge 3D environment carefully crafted for each world, distinct in design and features. At the beginning, you’ll be single hopping between high pillars, and by the end you’re soaring through the skies, dropping bombs on enemies from afar. The steady introduction of new abilities, puzzles, and challenges ensure you will never have a dull moment.
Between the freedom of exploration and combat, you’ll find a few boss fights to test your knowledge of old-school boss mechanics. There are plenty of throwbacks to the classics of old, and even a few jabs at more the more controversial elements of today’s gaming industry. Without spoiling too much, there’s more than a few jokes at the expense of those that abuse micro-transactions. While the exploration and comedic value helps set the game apart from other platformers, the lack of meat within the combat and overall short experience (10-15 hours) does not leave much to discuss come next week.
If you’re expecting Yooka-Laylee to push the platforming genre into new and exciting directions, you’ll be left disappointed. While the game fails to make any big strides into new and unknown territories, it lives up to the overall quality, quirky nature, and well-designed platforming elements put in place by its predecessor nearly 20 years ago – and that’s no easy feat.