Review: Yooka-Laylee (PS4).

Yooka-Laylee is the platformer I’ve been waiting for for a long time. Keeping the old rules and putting them in a new setting seems like a dream come true for anyone who grew up on this species. Let’s find out what it really is.

Yooka-Laylee is a spiritual heir Banjo-Kazooie and a return to the genre’s heyday in general, when games with Nintendo 64 and the first PlayStation. In creation Playtonic Games So we will find many solutions that functioned in those years. Mostly references to the hit with bear and bird and the platform itself, which was N64, which can be seen throughout the game. We play the role of two heroes who work together to stop the villains. Their opponent is Capital B with his sidekick Dr. Quack, whose aim is to collect books from around the world and find magic pages to use them to rewrite the universe and become its ruler. By the way, he kidnaps the book of our heroes, and those, as befits the main characters, go back to get theirs, saving the world at the same time. The plot is nothing special, but it does its job well. They give a lot of great dialogue between characters here, especially when the saucy Laylee starts throwing his cut jokes. The whole thing is spiced with flavors referring to old and new games and breaking the fourth wall.

Review: Yooka-Laylee (PS4)

Heroes are not all that connects Yooka-Laylee with Banjo-Kazooie. What was already noticeable in the trailers is the way the characters express themselves. In the 1990s, the sounds made by characters on the Nintendo console were limited by hardware. Here, however, it was decided to return to this solution. Unfortunately, my first impression was not very positive. Especially that I was forced to listen to quite a long dialogue between the adversary and his helper, and Capital B’s voice is unpleasant and quickly starts to irritate. The scenes cannot be skipped, so the first moments with the game are not very encouraging. Later it is fortunately better, although I still can’t say anything good about the voices of the characters, especially since we listen to the main boss throughout the game. Dialogue lines consist of too few syllables and too intrusive sounds – which often makes them repetitive and irritating. In case of Banjo-Kazooie or even Okami it had much more charm, although I appreciate that the creators also remained faithful to the original in this matter.

Fortunately, other elements of the audiovisual setting Yooka-Laylee is a real feast for the senses. The design of the game is appropriately colorful and cute, and while the game only features five different levels, each is suitably varied and in its own way satisfying. First, we will go to a tropical jungle that impresses with its size and vivid colors, and then we find ourselves in a slightly melancholic winter level, where I have stopped many times to look at the beautiful views. There was also a grotesque or a casino that reminds me of Toy Story 2 from the first PlayStation. Each level has at least a good song, but there are also some that delighted me. The very sound of the game is the essence of the genre, especially those from Nintendo. If only the creators hadn’t spoiled the characters’ voices, the soundtrack would have been perfect. In its current state, unfortunately it is not, but I also cannot say that I shake my nose the whole game. It is worth mentioning here that one role will see a change – due to the controversy, the lines recorded by jutuber with the nickname Jon Tron will be removed from the game. How this will affect the quality of the characters’ voices – we’ll find out only after the premiere.

Review: Yooka-Laylee (PS4)

Yooka-Laylee it resembles a classic also in terms of the design of the heroes. IN Banjo-Kazooie we played the role of a bear and a bird – here we take control of a chameleon named Yooka and a bat Laylee. Both characters work together to travel through colorful lands. Yooka is the main character who does most of the work, while the bat plays the role of support. When we want to jump to some distant platform, Laylee will extend the jump with her small wings. In another situation, the roles will slightly reverse and the bat will be responsible for moving – only in this way will it be possible to overcome the steep slopes. Our heroes can also join forces in attacking enemies, when Laylee stuns the enemy and the chameleon finishes him off. Of course, we cannot use everything at once and without restrictions. The game is largely about collecting items and learning new skills. On all five large levels there are 200 feathers to collect, which are arranged like the notes from the original or even diamonds from the iconic Spyro – so we can find them in groups of several. In addition, there are hidden items that will extend the life or energy bar. The most important, however, are the magic sides that allow us to make progress – to get it, we often have to complete a task or face a challenge. It can be winning a race, completing an obstacle course in time or completing an old school mini-game played by Rextro. So there is something to do and there is no time to get bored.

Still, I was disappointed with the amount of levels in Yooka-Laylee – five lands is not an impressive number. If we add to this the base from which we get to the next worlds, we have six of them, which is still quite pale. It should be mentioned that we expand each of the worlds and the first time we end up in an incomplete world. However, if we collect a sufficient number of pages, we may decide to expand it. After that, new places appear there, sometimes even leading to bosses. I am not entirely convinced by this solution, although the very nature of the game forces you to return to the worlds many times – because with new skills, we can get to more and more difficult to reach places. However, I would prefer the worlds to be expanded right away, because it was usually the case that I could enter one of them, leave it immediately, and then expand it immediately. It does not sound bad on paper, but in practice it turns out to be unnecessary, because it turns out not to be very effective in extending the game.

Review: Yooka-Laylee (PS4)

Collecting necessary items and overcoming new challenges in Yooka-Laylee is a lot of fun, but unfortunately it is not without its unpleasant aspects. The most acute problem regarding the gameplay is – and here a surprise – camera work. I’m on the verge of saying that it performed better in the 1999 game, even though we didn’t have that much free control back then. In production Playtonic Games The camera very often gets stuck on elements of the environment, which leads to the fact that it shows the action from an impractical perspective. More than once, I have “left” the camera behind the door or while flying up to observe what is above the figure, instead of what was below. The creators gave a lot of freedom in using the camera, but on the other hand, limited it by imposing behavior in specific situations. On the other hand, in tight spaces, the camera is too close and looking around is simply uncomfortable. It remains to count that the developers will fix this oversight with the premiere patch.

The occasional control problems also left a bad taste, when in some situations controlling the hero was simply uncomfortable, which in some places drove him crazy. I’m talking about fighting the last boss and a certain challenge of avoiding obstacles while sliding down. I also didn’t like how the developers dealt with saving the game, although it’s not something that particularly bothered me to have fun. The developer took the matter of fidelity to the old classics so seriously that he gave his new work a very similar system for saving the game to that of Banjo-Kazooie. All the collected pages are immediately saved in the progress, as well as other items, but after restarting the game, we will not be in the world we were in last time. Instead, we’ll land in the right part of the base camp – so if we wanted to do anything else at this level, we had a little walk. I don’t find this solution particularly bad, but it is simply too outdated for today’s standards.

Review: Yooka-Laylee (PS4)

Finally, I will leave the length issue Yooka-Laylee. The very completion of the story, where I collected all the collectibles in only one world, took me nearly 30 hours. During this time I defeated all the bosses, collected most of the items and never felt weary. In addition, I extended the game with a few joint sessions with a second player, where we were able to play mini-games from Rextro. Even though not all of them are suitable for more players, we still had a great time. It is still possible to play through the story together, but the role of the other player is limited to the cursor that helps in collecting items.

Yooka-Laylee is a great platformer that will provide many hours of great fun. It is generally relaxing and enjoyable, although it can be frustrating – especially because of awkward controls and poor camera operation. Nevertheless, the fabulous audiovisual setting, old school character and the multitude of references to the video game industry make the production a worthy position to check, especially for someone who misses similar games. Others should also try, although I warn you against the bad-sounding voices of some characters and the aforementioned archaisms.