Recently, I got the chance to spend a few hours with Yooka Laylee. It’s safe to say that within a short period of time, I had become a child again; more so than what I already am. I sat for over 90 minutes playing Yooka Laylee all while laughing at some of the silliness in the game and the occasional, somewhat adult undertones within the dialogue.
Early in the game you are introduced to the 2 main antagonists of the game; Dr Quack and Capital B. Dr Quack is but the head of a duck floating in a jar similar to that of celebrities from Futurama; and Capital B is the love child of Felonious Gru from Despicable Me and Penguin from the DC Universe. Dr Quack is the underappreciated sidekick of Capital B, who is a business driven millionaire who answers to no one; except for a board of shady, faceless directors whose instructions sound similar to that of the adults from Charlie Brown.
Their goals are easily identifiable moments after meeting them which is essentially own everything regardless. We then meet the protagonists of the game at their home area known as Shipwreck Creek; Yooka and Laylee. Yooka is the heart of gold, green chameleon and Laylee is the sassy, wisecracking bat. The basis of the game is that the pages of your magical book have blown into a building owned by Capital B. This is all to his plans as the pages and book has the ability to essentially manipulate space and time which is a truly terrifying concept. You must work together with friends to collect all of the pages (sentient beings called Pagies) and foil the plans of Capital B.
You initially make your way into Hivory Towers with the assistance of an acquaintance known as Trowzer…who is a snake…so he is Trowzer snake (earliest adult joke). He is a businessman that can be found in all of the worlds who you learn new abilities from by exchanging quills; one of the many collectables within the game. Once in the hub, you use a certain number of Pagies to open up Grand Tomes which act as teleportation devices to venture to different worlds. Within the demo, we explored Tribalstack Tropics and Glitterglaze Glacier.
The list of collectables in each world consist of 25 Pagies, 200 quills, 5 ghost writers, 1 mollycool (molecule), 1 butterfly booster (health bar), 1 power extender (stamina bar) and 1 play coin. Once in the world, you must use your skills to aide friends through the hunting of collectables, completion of objectives and/or simply saving them.
Characters met in the demo consist of:
Vendi, a vending machine who provides tonics to permanently boost particular attributes.
Rextro, the pixelated T-Rex who you exchange play coin’s with to play classic arcade games reimagined for the game. All arcade games can be access from the main menu and played with up to four players.
Nimble, the overly enthusiastic cloud whom is always up for a race.
Dr Puzz, the squid-esk scientist who you exchange mollycool’s with to use her giant ray gun to spice your DNA to become some very unique creatures.
Clara, the would be adventurer who continually gets herself into trouble, and
Shovel Knight who makes a guest appearance within each world.
Completing tasks for your friends provides you with Pagies; essential for unlocking new worlds. One of the cool mechanics within the game is the expansion of each world. There are only 5 worlds in total in this game’s universe which seems small but each world can be expanded upon once. This allows for new areas of the map to be unlocked through the use of Pagies.
You transverse incredibly beautiful and individual worlds, using an array of specialized moves to explore the land, completing objectives and searching for the huge amount of hidden collectables. The game is a modernization and reimagining of the classic Banjo Kazooie game with many common and distinctive elements. Enough that you catch yourself reminiscing of the time spent playing as the old-gen duo but continuing to be fascinated by the progression and development of this new team. This game aims to be a bridge between the diversity that is the game’s potential fan base. It provides an opportunity for older generation gamers to walk down memory lane with the game’s development party consisting of members from Rare; the original developers of Banjo Kazooie. It is also a unique genre of game that acts as the perfect starting point to entice a new, younger generation of gamers. Despite what the game aims to be, it is a genuinely fun game that I absolutely loved playing and I wish there were more games out there like this.
Yooka Laylee will release on April 11th for PS4, Xbox One and PC. A Nintendo Switch release will come later down the track.