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Yooka-Laylee PS4 Game Review

Yooka-Laylee PS4 Game Review - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Apr 12, 2017
( Rating: 2 Star Rating)

Yooka-Laylee is the kickstarted nostalgia trip from the creators of Banjo-Kazooie. Kidzworlds played the new game, read our review to see if this 3D platformer sinks or soars!

By: Max Cannon

When I watched the incredibly lengthy credits roll on Yooka-Laylee I let out a sigh of relief, I was finished. Though I've got a soft spot for the 3D platformers that inspired the game, Yooka-Laylee felt like a game stuck in the past.

Developed by a team of former Rare employees, Playtonic Games had shown off Yooka-Laylee as a spirtual successor to Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64. Rather than a successor that takes the ideas of the games of yesteryear to expand upon, this "collectathon" revival feels unchanged from the games I played in the late 90's/early 00's.

Capital B makes for a clever, corporate villain.Capital B makes for a clever, corporate villain.Courtesy of Playtonic Games

For Better or For Worse...

That sigh of relief from the end of my time with Yooka-Laylee was mirrored with a similar sigh at the beginning; they got it right. This game looks/feels/sounds like the games that made Rare famous. Characters garble out sounds, music is full of somehow ominous xylophones, and the game's presentation can only be described as charming.

Yooka-Laylee Launch Trailer

 

Yooka the chameleon and Laylee the bat are after their stolen book which has been taken by Capital B in an effort to rewrite the universe. The overall plot is simple but it's the character interactions that really turn up that aforementioned charm. 

You'll run, jump, and collect through Hivory Towers and the 5 worlds hidden inside the Grand Tomes. Collectibles really parallel Banjo games, musical notes are swapped in with quills to trade for moves, Jiggies are replaced with Pagies, and Mumbo/Humba Wumba's transformative magic is exchanged for Dr. Puzz's D.N.Ray.

Yooka and Laylee are Banjo Kazooie in almost every way but name and appearance.Yooka and Laylee are Banjo Kazooie in almost every way but name and appearance.Courtesy of Playtonic Games

Old Dog, Old Tricks

Bugs slowed me down a handful of times. I was unable to move unless I reset my game and my characters wouldn't be able to use their moves on occasion. Those issues are rough but they could be forgiven, however I have a harder time moving past the archaic design. Worlds feel unnecessarily large and controlling jumps doesn't always feel precise. There are multiplayer modes based on retro games you'll play in the main game but they're the most uninspired part of the game.

Challenges to find Pagies are either too simple or unfairly difficult, it rarely hits that sweet spot. The game's camera is often at odds with what I'm trying to do/see and sometimes will randomly switch to a fixed camera angle -- though I did really like a level that resituated the camera for an "isometric" callback. Each world can also be expanded once to offer more challenges and locations to visit but it feels pointless so the first time you're playing in a world that you haven't expanded it feels like your level is unfinished. 

And then there's Laylee's flying move...And then there's Laylee's flying move...Courtesy of Playtonic Games

Where I really began to take issue with the game's design was when the pair get a the ability to fly. Certain moves will use up your power meter but the flying move drains very slowly. It's nearly gamebreaking because it removes any need to platform from the game. Puzzles that would've demanded a skilled leap or long climb can be totally circumvented with the power of flight, that's a big issue for a 3D platformer. Banjo-Kazooie got around this issue by only allowing flight on certain platforms but this is one of the only old school rules that Yooka ignored. 

For every negative I throw out, I love the visuals of Yooka-Laylee.For every negative I throw out, I love the visuals of Yooka-Laylee.Courtesy of Playtonic Games

Final Thoughts

I love that Yooka-Laylee exists. Nostalgia fuels much of my gaming love and I remember buying and excessively playing Banjo-Kazooie's sequel as a child. I pray that Yooka-Laylee gets a sequel but I also hope that the game grows up. The building blocks are in place but the barren worlds need better level design to really thrive. When we get Yooka-Laylee 2 I'm going to be playing it but I can't say that I'll happily be returning to the frustrating world of Yooka-Laylee and that really bums me out.

Pros

  • Fantastic Art
  • Charming

Cons

  • Poor Level Design
  • Empty Worlds
  • Inconsistent Difficulty

Yooka-Laylee Game Rating:2

Available for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Yooka-Laylee Box ArtYooka-Laylee Box ArtCourtesy of Playtonic Games
Have Your Say!

Have you played Yooka-Laylee​? Which games are your favorite this year? Throw a comment below!

 

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