We were recently invited to check out Yooka-Laylee ahead of its launch to see what we thought about it. After spending a couple of hours with it I have to say that I am looking forward to playing the full version. I only really played in one of the worlds but I was having a fun time exploring my surroundings and trying to find everything I could. The worlds in Yooka-Laylee are contained within magical books and you just have to go inside the book to enter the world. As you are playing the game you will find Pages to collect. Different worlds will require a different number of pages to enter. When I was playing I immediately thought of Super Mario 64 and when I inquired I was told that was definitely an influence. Remember how in Super Mario 64 you had to jump in a painting to enter a world and one world might require eight stars to enter while another might require 20 stars? Yooka-Laylee has the same basic concept. As you enter and go through a world you also have some different options. You can play through the world as you find it or you can expand it using pages. There are going to be times where you will need to decide how to use your pages whether you want to try and unlock another world entirely or expand the one you are currently exploring. It is an interesting idea that I want to see fully play out in the retail version of the game.
During my time with the game I found Yooka-Laylee fun to play and I was immediately able to understand what was going on. The tutorial worked well showcasing some of what I could do in the game and it looks like it has a nice sense of humor as well. Yooka-Laylee is coming from some of the same people responsible for the Banjo-Kazooie games so if you are a fan of the franchise I think there is a good reason to get excited about Yooka-Laylee. Within the aforementioned world that I spent my time in I engaged in a number of different activities. There is of course the standard platforming action but there were a variety of objectives I was completing. There was one instance where a skeleton was being cooked and eaten where I fought off a group of enemies to help him get out of that tight spot he found himself in. There was another instance where I had to race a cloud around a track and the cloud was no pushover. It took me a couple attempts to realize what I really needed to do and then once that was figured out I was able to emerge victorious. In the same world there was this massive arcade machine where I could also play some retro titles once I met the requirements that were in place.
One of the ancillary characters you will immediately come across is Trowzer. He is basically a snake that wears trousers and he will help you gain new moves and abilities throughout the game, as long as you can pay for them. When you enter a new area you are definitely going to want to track him down to see what he is offering and what it will cost you. His sense of humor (as well as the overall sense of humor in the game) made me chuckle from time to time and definitely added to the experience. It is a light hearted affair that is teeming with personality and those who grew up on these types of games should definitely enjoy what they find here. If you are new to this type of game (or the genre itself) you won’t get some of the referential callbacks or some of the nods that this game makes to its predecessors but Yooka-Laylee appears to be fun enough to where that really shouldn’t hamper your enjoyment of this adventure.
Overall I came away from my short time with this game pleased with what I saw. It showed a lot of promise and I’m excited to see what else the game has in store for me. It is bright and colorful and imaginative and just seems like it will be a joy to play. Yooka-Laylee is set to be released on April 11 on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. Yooka-Laylee is also coming to the Nintendo Switch but Playtonic hasn’t revealed a release date for it. Hopefully it is close to the April 11 release date as it is important for companies to nail the same release date for all platforms.