This charming platform game is made by the same developers that introduced the highly popular Banjo-Kazooie franchise so long ago. This Yooka Laylee review will look at the features and gameplay of Yooka Laylee to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the game and how it fits into the greater platforming world of digital games.
|Type of game:||3D Platformer|
|Total Play Time:||15 – 25 hours|
|System Requirements:||CPU: Intel Core i5-2500 3.3 GHz or AMD FX-8150 3.6 GHz
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTS 450 or AMD Radeon HD 6850
RAM: 8 GB
OS: Windows Vista
HDD Space: 9 GB
DirectX 9Controller is recommended
The World of Yooka Laylee
There are certain aspects of any platforming game that generally need to be followed in order to create a worthwhile and fun game. This section will look at the major components of the game as a whole in order to better determine whether or not Yooka Laylee is a well-rounded game worth the investment of money and time.
Atmosphere and Location
This third person perspective game puts you into a world of bright colors and 3D environment models. You play as a pair of characters who are a share a type of symbiotic relationship and travel together through this world to solve puzzles, defeat enemies, and collect valuables.
The characters’ primary abilities are centered around the titular characters’ animal models and include such powers as sonar blasting, tongue whipping, and flight. There are also certain items that can trigger other special abilities that the main characters can use as they make their way through the world.
Yooka Laylee involves a great deal of tongue in cheek humor mixed with vibrant characters and a number of often repetitious activities. The game is charming, but it lacks any real definition based on a sense of deeper world building. Unfortunately, the game spends a little too much time trying to mimic and pay homage to its successful predecessors that it never really has a chance to make its own name.
One of the major design flaws of Yooka Laylee is its distracting and often uncooperative camera that makes the necessary physics movement of this 3D platformer frustrating at times. However, there is enough variation in what you need to accomplish that the game is still engaging enough.
The game is based on the titular characters Yooka and Laylee. Yooka is a lime green chameleon with red orange points at his fingers, toes, head fringe, and tail. He is the easy-going character who enjoys adventure but is also good with just chilling out and relaxing in the pair’s Shipwreck home. His specific abilities include:
- Slurp Shot (Yooka’s tongue shoots out to eat things in the environment)
- Tail Twirl (a spin attack)
- Double Jump (just like it sounds)
- Slurp State (Yooka can gain certain elemental properties after licking specific items)
- Lizard Leap (a tail-boosted jump)
- Lizard Lash (Yooka wraps his tongue around an enemy or object and then propels himself toward it)
- Buddy Bubble (a “fart bubble” that lets the pair breathe underwater)
Laylee, on the other hand, is a purple bat with a large red nose and tan wing membranes. Unlike the calm and collected Yooka, Laylee is the wise-cracking, slightly mentally unbalanced character who feels the need to be in control of every situation. She is impatient and often bored, which can lead to plenty of trouble. Her specific abilities include:
- Sonar Shot (a stunning beam)
- Sonar ‘Splosion (sound wave explosion)
- Sonar Shield (sound wave shield)
The pair together form a more powerful character and share a set of abilities between themselves. These two-character abilities include:
- Air Attack (Laylee lifts Yooka up for an aerial attack)
- Flappy Flight (allows for short flight distances)
- Buddy Slam (Yooka jumps up, Laylee slams down on his head, and they deal damage on the ground)
- Glide (slows falling speeds)
- Camo Cloak (creates an invisible shield)
- Reptile Roll (Yooka becomes a wheel that Laylee rides to move quickly or up steep hills)
The game centers around the titular characters trying to thwart the evil machinations of Hivory Tower which is owned and run by the greedy Capital B and his assistant, Dr. Quack. When Capital B and Dr. Quack learn of a powerful item known as the “One Book” with the power to rewrite the universe, Dr. Quack builds a machine called “the Noveliser 64” that has the power to suck up all the books in the world.
Yooka and Laylee, who had been minding their own business in their Shipwreck home at Shipwreck Creek, get drawn into the conflict when the Noveliser 64 steals Laylee’s book, which just so happens to be the One Book. During the process, the book bursts apart and its golden “Pagies” fly across the world.
Laylee convinces Yooka to help her find the Pagies so that she can sell the book for a fortune. They enlist the help of some different characters (including a snake named Trowzer who is known to wear pants…you get it) and go off on their adventure. By the end of the game, the pair throw a big party at Shipwreck Creek and Laylee stores the repaired book in a safe because she believes it will increase in value over time.
To reach this goal, Yooka and Laylee go through a series of platforming puzzles all the while defeating Hivory Tower goons and collecting valuable items. The goal of the game is to gather certain collectables that allow the pair to increase their abilities while collecting Pagies at the same time.
DLC and Expansion Packs
Playtonic Games, unlike many other game developers, made the decision to not start on DLC development until after the game itself was fully worked out and released. This means that when Yooka Laylee was first released, there were no Day One Digital Downloads that players needed to pay extra for to get started playing.
In other words, all DLC planned for the game is meant to be utilized as expansions that will add to an already developed game. That being said, since Yooka Laylee’s April 2017 release, there has not been any DLC subsequently released. This highly funded Kickstarter game will likely continue to see updates, but when DLC or an expansion will be released is still up in the air.
For players who remember the Nintendo 64 days of Banjo-Kazooie, Yooka Laylee will be a nostalgic experience in terms of overall gameplay, but with an updated 3D graphics environment. Overall, Yooka Laylee is a charming platformer that can appeal to both old hands and new gamers alike who are in need of a humorous, lighthearted adventure across a beautiful (if not wholly unique) and colorful environment.
Overall reviews place Yooka Laylee somewhere around the 70th percentile, but there are still elements of the game that make it worth playing. Whether or not you will want to play it more than once is another matter entirely. If you have anything to add to our Yooka Laylee review, feel free to do so in the comments.