Does it make a splash as an amazing Banjo successor? Or does it bring shame to the “collectathon” genre?
(The impressions discussed in this review are from the Xbox One version of the game as we did not have a Switch version available at the time of this writing)
Yooka Laylee started out as a Kickstarter project back in 2015 and it made a LOT of money, making it obvious people wanted the Banjo style games to make a return. Playtonic was formed by ex Rare employees who are very skilled in making these kinds of games so we all had high expectations to at least meet the standards of the Banjo series. Did they meet these expectations? Let’s find out. This review will be based on a few categories, those being story, gameplay, music, and controls. As said in the title, I did play this on Xbox One after the performance patch came out and I didn’t have any major problems with framerate or bugs.
Capital B. and Dr. Quack run a business known as Hivory Towers. They are in search for a book that Yooka and Laylee have. The book gets captured and all of the Pagies fall out of the book. The goal is to collect all of the Pagies so that Capital B. cannot take over the world with them.
If you’ve played a Rare platformer, especially any game in the Banjo series, you know what to expect with Yooka Laylee. Travel the hub world until you find the entrance to the wold, use the correct amount of collectibles, Pagies in Yooka Laylee’s case to unlock it and then go in and hunt for the 25 Pagies and 200 Quills that inhabit each world. Quills are scattered throughout the world and Pagies are either received by solving characters problems or puzzles that are plentiful throughout the game. There are also 5 Ghost Writers to collect, each requiring a different tactic to capture them. In each world there is also a Play Coin in each world that you give to a charming dinosaur named Rextro to play arcade games, which sadly I found to be my least favorite part of the game.
Finally there are one Butterfly Heart and Power Extender in each world for you to find which add one butterfly to your health meter and extent your power meter respectively. New to this game however is the ability to expand worlds to make them larger, which I found to be the most interesting part of the game. The map’s start small but once you expand them you will have an expansive world to explore.
If you’ve played a Rare game before you know what type of music to expect. Grant Kirkhope, David Wise, and Steve Burke all had a hand in making the game’s soundtrack. I found most of the tracks to be amazing, and fitting to the locations they are placed in. In my time playing I did not find one song bad but I did find a few to get repetitive and annoying the longer I was in the world they played in. You can also find the soundtrack on iTunes if you want to purchase it.
The controls are simple, the basic moves that you have when the game begins are nothing new. However the moves you get from a pants wearing snake named Trowzer require button combinations that I found to be easily remembered. The controls are easy to learn and I had no problem with them.
Yooka Laylee is the Banjo Kazzoie successor that I wanted and the collectathon that I didn’t get with Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. Yooka Laylee doesent do much new to expand on the Banjo formula but I do not see that as a bad thing. My problem is, it doesent do anything Banjo did over 15 years ago better, it matches the quality but I found myself wanted more new mechanics that weren’t already used in the Banjo games.
My problems didn’t affect my enjoyment of the game much but at points I did have to put it down out of irritation but those incidents only happened two or three times throughout my entire 13 hours playthrough. Unfortunately as well is that during development the Wii U version was cancelled and we don’t have a clear release date for the Nintendo Switch version, but we do know it’s coming “as soon as possible.”
I award Yooka Laylee an 8/10 -Great
Follow me on Twitter: @RiversDeven