Jonathan 'Kit' Shaw

Review: Yooka-Laylee is still a classic

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The big question here is… Has Yooka-Laylee succeeded in bringing back the old classic formula that entertained everyone back on the N64? To answer that question – yes, but it does have a few kinks in the works. Being a spiritual successor to the Banjo-Kazooie series, Playtonic Games have done a fabulous job of recreating that joyful genre, after all they are made up of ex RareWare members who worked on those games.

Our new dynamic duo is the titular Yooka, a chameleon who is happy to help those who need it and Laylee, a purple bat with a big nose and attitude. Our new heroes must stop the evil corporate Capital B from stealing all the world’s books and be the only competition in the business. But that’s not all, the duo must also recover the Grand Tome that was stolen from them and all its Pagies because Laylee wants to flog it, and because Capital B wants to use it to rewrite history.

It’s a nice story but rather tame when compared to Banjo-Kazooie. You’re not saving your sister from an evil witch who wants to steal her beauty and with that there is no personal connection between the heroes and villain. Yes, rewriting history is a bad thing but you don’t get the same connection… You could replace the duo with a shoe and you would get the same result.

Instead of Jiggies, it’s Pagies you must collect in this adventure. There are 145 to collect over five worlds and some are hidden in the hub world too. There is a wide cast of characters to interact with, one of which is Trowser, who will supply you with new moves – for a fee of course – and these are essential if you want to further explore the worlds and collect more Pagies. You now have a power bar which drains with certain moves, it’s annoying but it keeps you on your toes when going about obstacles, and some of the challenges can be difficult.

If you’re going to explore the worlds you may want to pack a few sandwiches as they are huge, beautifully designed and rich in colour. They’re very easy to get lost in and feels like the designers just plonked structures down willy-nilly. You don’t know where to start, and if you’re looking for a specific place then chances are you’ll be looking for some time. Using Pagies can expand the worlds, too, adding new areas for you to explore which is a nice touch.

To finish up it is not perfect but it’s fun, challenging and a welcome throwback to the genre that will have you playing for hours to find everything.

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