Developer: Playtonic Games
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One (Reviewed)
Gene(s): Adventure, Indie
Publisher: Team17 Digital Ltd
Yooka-Laylee is a bright, colourful side-scrolling platform that has a resemblance to Banjo-Koozie and Donkey Kong Country. While there is some resemblance in the gameplay and design, there is a lot more to Yooka-Laylee with the additions of potions and some clever game mechanics. It’s a beautifully crafted game that will hold your attention for many an hour. The main game is a 2.5D side-scrolling platformer, it’s a throwback to old platforms but spruced graphics, design and layout.
Yooka-Laylee is set in the world of Bee-Kind from Capital B, there is an emphasis on bees and bee-related puns throughout the game, you play as Yooka, the chameleon with Laylee the bat sidekick. You roll, jump and crash the many levels of Bee-Kind to free bees from Capital B to bring normalcy back to Bee-Kind. Your beetalion will increase as you free the bees
Yooka-Laylee strangely starts you off the final level, the impossible lair, the level is impossible to finish at this stage but you get a sense of the gameplay and what you will see as you play through the levels. It’s a shock to the system and was confused when I failed epically but soon got my bearings as to what was happening.
The level design is fantastic with a good mix of puzzles, difficulty level and enough hidden items to make you explore the levels. Level themes vary as you progress through the world and you collect quills (think coins in Mario) to get bonuses and level up your character via potions. TWIT coins are required to progress through paywalls in the world to unlock other parts of the world. Look and feel of the levels are vibrant, an emphasis on bee-related paraphernalia is throughout the level world. Bees, honey, hives etc.
Like any good platformer, level and puzzle difficulty increase your progress through the game. The introduction of game mechanics is done well, this is done a steady pace throughout the game, you get an understanding of each feature by just playing level, no need for a complex manual or tons of tutorials.
Each level does require a thorough playthrough as TWIT coins are required to unlock newer areas in the world, on the whole, this well done but I have found certain levels tricky to find all the coins.
Gameplay is based on the old school classic side-scrolling platformer, Yooka-Layee as a combo can glide and crush items and enemies if your partner flies away you lose these abilities. Check points allow your loyal comrade to come back to your side. Navigating and passing each puzzle is rewarding, there is a sense of achievement and inherent feeling of accomplishment too. It’s a wonderfully enjoyable game with loads to do and a fantastic game mechanics. The controls are smooth and responsive, you never feel a sense that you aren’t in control of your character. This level of control is required in certain parts of the game where a multitude of level design components are placed together, where you have to chain rolling, killing/avoiding enemies and gliding from floating platforms. The game flourishes in wonderful emphasis on solid platform gaming with great level design.
Yooka-Laylee is a fantastic platformer and offers an immersive gaming experience, it provides a decent learning curve with enough difficulty to keep you playing. There are lots of surprises and twists and turns throughout. The game is ultimately fun and some quirky potions add to a sense of playfulness in the game. It brings the world of platformers back to another generation of players. It’s one of the best platformers I have played in a long time.