Over the past couple of years platforming games have been lumped into almost every other mainstream genre, usually as a means of lengthening a playthrough. As a result, games revolving around obstacle based gameplay have been few and far between. Most gamers childhood memories of gaming is made up of N64 platform gaming, be it Mario, Banjo Kazooie or Donkey Kong. Yooka Laylee – which even has an adorably punny name – looks to channel the best of all of those games and attempt to revive the 3D platforming genre when it comes out this April.
Yooka Laylee has the look and feel of a N64 game, updated for the recent console generation. The game actually started out as a kickstarter project back in 2014 – quickly becoming the fastest to reach a million in sales in just 21 hrs and eventually raising nearly $2.6 million in cash – that was started by Platonic Games, a studio comprised of several former key personnel from Rare during the Nintendo 64 era. With a wacky story, equally loonie characters – including a corporate overlord antagonist named Capital B who is a bumble bee wearing a pinstripe suit – and similar collectible elements(Pagies = Jiggies, Ghost Writers = Jinjo), it’s obvious why this is being called the spiritual successor to the original Banjo.
The collectable bonanza’s in recent games has been a overused and squandered aspect of the current generation, but will play a huge role in expanding Yooka Kaylee’s levels. Finding stolen book pages will open up a level, creating new structures, quest lines, and challenges. Not only does this arrangement allow more depth in already previously explored levels, it’s also entirely optional, so if players don’t want to do it they, don’t have to.
Narration will even give players a nostalgic tingle, as characters speak illegible nonsense that is narrated through thought bubbles above their heads. Tutorial and upgradable aspects will also seem familiar, as Trowzer the snake will be your guide to learning the new skills gained throughout the adventure. And don’t forget about fourth wall breaking and pop culture references, as Bat companion Laylee will be full of quips. Shots at first-person shooter games’ illogical health bars and making fun of the prominent tutorial tactic of having to teach the user something as simple as crouching are just a few of the many witticisms Yooka Laylee will have to offer.
But can Yooka and Laylee possibly be as loved as that goofy bear Banjo and his plucky sidekick Kazooie? Be sure to look out for our review when it comes to PC, Mac, Xbox One, and PS4 next month, April 11th.