The dream of the 90s is alive in Yooka-Laylee. Developed by Playtonic Games, whose team members worked on the Banjo-Kazooie franchise back during the Nintendo N64 days, this platformer has been released with the anticipation that it would recreate those feelings of sugar-coated fun older gamers experienced long ago. As this review’s title alludes to, unfortunately, nostalgia is not enough to make the 3D platforming genre as fun as we may remember it was.
As the titular chameleon Yooka and his batty bat companion Laylee, players can explore five colorful worlds in search of Pagies, pages of the One Book you must collect to keep big baddie Capital B from taking over. To traverse these five worlds (which can be expanded after gathering a certain number of Pagies), Yooka and Laylee can hop, fly, swim and roll while utilizing powers like flame breath and sonar to defeat enemies. The puzzle platforming is only moderately challenging, making it easy for younger gamers to get on board, particularly during local 2-player co-op sessions with friends and family. With all the Pagies and quills there are to collect (this is a throwback to 90s platformers, after all), kids will be entertained for quite a few hours. Older gamers and Kickstarter backers, though, may get lost in the tediousness of it all.
Final Thoughts on the Yooka-Laylee video game:
Yooka-Laylee is a fun treat for anyone who wants an accessible gaming experience to enjoy with family or bring back memories of a simpler time in life. Noticeable loading screen lagging and framerate issues may be frustrating at times, as are forced camera angles during select platforming sections, but those can be tolerated for a Kickstarter game that doesn’t have the same levels of polish or production behind it like a full-priced release. While your gaming tastes may have evolved past these colorful collect-a-thons years ago, Yooka-Laylee is a trip down memory lane worth looking into.
Yooka-Laylee on PS4
- Bright environments and lively characters
- Lots of cool moves and power-ups to learn and collect
- Local 2-player co-op and 4-player mini games
- Minecart sections that would make Donkey and Diddy proud
- Character speech bubbles you can’t speed past
- Occasional freezing and lagging during loading
- Camera can be tricky to center at times