On Tuesday, April 11, Playtonic Games launched the spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie called Yooka-Laylee. If you are one of the people who grew up on the Nintendo 64 with games like Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Super Mario 64, then Yooka-Laylee will feel like you took a step back into a time-machine and relived moments from your childhood. Meet Yooka, your friendly chameleon and his companion, Laylee, as they set off to find “Pagies,” which are mystical pages from a magic book.
So, what exactly can players expect from this modern take on the 3D platformer? Playtonic Games has created a colorful cast of characters for players to meet and interact with. Internet favorites, per the Playtonic forums at the time of this writing, include the devious Capital B and of course everyone’s favorite pants-wearing serpent, Trowzer. As one would imagine with any game launch there are bound to be less-than-stellar first impressions. What Yooka-Laylee aims to do in its current form is to immerse the players in a universe divided into five worlds, where they use the powers of exploration to guide them on their journey to defeat Hivory Tower.
Internet opinions seem to be divided into the “nostalgia” versus “modernization” camps. With most of the supportive perspectives on the game coming from the former. Heather Alexandra from Kotaku considers the game to be a flawed attempt at appealing to gamers’ nostalgia.
“In stitching together various pieces of previous titles, Yooka-Laylee is decidedly uncritical and never seeks to improve upon its inspirations. The end result is a game that ultimately recreates some of the most glaring flaws of the source material.”
Those are some harsh words for a game that has been exciting many platforming fans as their way of reminiscing about the old days of jumping and spinning around. Kotaku’s sentiments about Yooka-Laylee have been echoed in other areas of the gaming community. Reviewers have cited slow dialogue, over simplistic combat, and a lack of a map to allow for easier game completion, as some of the challenges that players must overcome. Remember that quiz from Banjo-Kazooie? Oh, yeah, expect to have to do something similar more than a couple of times in Yooka-Laylee. The biggest critics point to the fact that, with our current technology and advances in game design, Yooka-Laylee should go beyond recreating our love for 3D platformers and instead, reinvent it.
Despite all this, the major advantage that this cute duo has is the support from a community that honestly believes in their success. Originating as a Kickstarter campaign, Yooka-Laylee was able to gain the support of 73,206 backers which equated to just over $2.5 million. This speaks volumes about gaming demand for nostalgic experiences and just how captivated gamers were with the Nintendo 64 giants.
Outside of the issues that were present in its predecessors, Yooka-Laylee has won the hearts of many with its own charms. Players revisit old areas with new powers and just frolic around in platforming bliss. For those of you who are itching to get your hands on this title, you can find it on Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC, and Mac. So, what’s next for our quirky bibliophiles? Yooka-Laylee is set to come to the Nintendo Switch sometime later this year. That means you get to take our friends and roll up hills, glide, and disappear on the go.
What are your thoughts on Yooka-Laylee? Feel free to comment and let us know. With the current community support behind it, we could see the potential introduction of new 3D platformers. One thing is certain though, if you’re playing Yooka-Laylee it’s about to get wild.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]