As we continue to move forward, sometimes things are left in the past. These range from beat ‘em up games to a number of popular franchises. This is where Yooka-Laylee comes into play. With expectations of a Banjo-Kazooie-esque 3D platformer, there are high expectations for the title. With lush worlds, puzzles and cartoony fun, is Yooka-Laylee a must or does it fail to meet expectations?
Yooka-Laylee tells a familiar story. The evil Capital B wants a book, so he starts sucking up all the books in the land. Among them is the book that Yooka and Laylee posses, which is destroyed in the process. Your goal then becomes infiltrating Hivory Towers, locating pagies, rebuild the book and stop Capital B.
As you might’ve guessed, the story doesn’t go anywhere particularly interesting, with it being little more than a reason to collect pagies. There are some jokes, with the villains being especially comical, though don’t expect much more than a pretty basic adventure.
Beyond this, the world of Yooka-Laylee is quite interesting. While the worlds aren’t overloaded with content or enemies, every area has a general section devoted to a puzzle. Many of these overlap with another or act as a tutorial, but they generally have the right amount of difficulty.
With the exception of a few which are too easy/difficult, most of them make use of your surroundings. One of the first puzzles requires you to get flame powers and then light torches in order to spell pagies to open a chest. Another was a race where you needed to pick up butterflies to maintain your power bar and win in time. They also have a fair bit of variety, even if several of them boil down to the same basic concept.
Even though these are great, some of the puzzles fall flat. One of the worst mechanics is the roll, which has a lot of very precise platforming parts. The issue is that the roll doesn’t handle as well as you might expect, resulting in many failures. Many of the worst puzzles involve using this for long periods, with few checkpoints.
Another common problem is the camera. Sometimes levels will fixate on the wrong thing, making it harder to progress or it just behaves in a weird way. This can get frustrating, especially when the controls work against you. There were multiple times when I didn’t do something just right and the move failed to work properly. Not to mention some of the design choices are baffling. The idea that you can’t jump and tongue leash is odd and makes several sections harder than they need to be.
Arguably one of the most annoying things is the long delay between things. There were several times when I would put in the wrong input because I was trying to speed things up and also clicked accept.
Similar problems also occur out in the world, where there will be lag or dropped frames from the littlest thing. These never proved to be an issue for me, but those who’re sensitive to these things should keep this in mind.
Yooka-Laylee is the type of game that you’ll enjoy if you love Banjo and hate if you don’t. The puzzles provide a decent challenge; though keep in mind some are just frustrating or poorly designed. The worlds offer have plenty to find, but little to do once you’ve cleared an area out. Combine this with a forgettable story and you have a fun game that could be better. Because, when push comes to shove, the frustrating parts are far less common than the fun ones.
[Editor’s Note: Yooka-Laylee was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Yooka-Laylee Review,