I had the privilege of playing Yooka-Laylee at last years EGX and from the 15 minute demo that I played it instantly grabbed me, I loved what I saw and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the full version of the game.
Well, now that I have the full game, I can talk about it in more depth. In the game you play as Yooka and Laylee, and you start the game off with Yooka and Laylee relaxing in the garden talking about the renovations to there home ‘Bat Ship Crazy’. This made me laugh when I saw the name of it.
They then talk about a book that they have found which seems to be quite valuable. The game cuts over to Ivory Towers where the games Villain, Capital B (Who looks very much like Gru from Despicable Me) is admiring the gold statue that was just built for him, as well as unleashing his plan to steal all the books in the world.
This is where the valuable book that Laylee had found suddenly flies away with the gold pages (called pagies) falling out as its flying away. Which brings you to the aim of the game, you have to find all the pagies that have fallen out of the book as well as get the book back and making it whole again.
The pagies are spread across different worlds, which you go to by the Ancient Tomes. The worlds are well designed with beautiful colours and lighting. What I like about it the most is that the game is designed for everyone to play. It may look and have the characters that children would love and enjoy getting to know, but there is a lot of hidden adult humour in the game as well. Such as I mentioned above with Bat Ship Crazy, there is also a character in the game called Trowser who is a snake…. Who doesn’t love a good Trowser Snake… :O
Each world has lots for you to do in it, such as side missions for other characters, collecting Quills which there are 200 in each world to collect. Some are a lot harder than others to find and collect. One thing that I did like about the game as each world can be expanded upon when you have the right amount of pagies for it. This adds even more content to the world with more quills and pagies to find.
There are puzzles as well that are in each world, all with there own unique way of finishing them. This however is also down to getting the proper skills to be able to do it. Whether its a buddy slam where Yooka can jump and smash down to break things or get enemies, to eating berries and other things to shoot at people.
One of the issues that I had with the game was that there isn’t a map or markers to show you where you need to go, where the quests are, what quests are active. After doing one thing, I found myself a lot of the time just wandering around the world aimlessly looking for things to do, and the more you got done the harder it was to find those last few little bits and bobs that were there to do. It doesn’t even have to be a full blown map, it could have just been a mini maps with markers on the edge of it showing which direction questions and items where to do. Especially trying to find puzzles and getting pagies, can be a nightmare at times. The worlds can seem a little ‘samey’ at times with the same colours sometimes clashing against each other making it quite difficult to tell where things are. This is where the mention of markers and the like would come in handy to help navigate the worlds better.
I really liked the camera work within the game, it wasn’t too hap hazard by flinging itself left right and centre when trying to concentrate on things, but was fairly solid which allows for very good gameplay.
There were notes from the devs that I had with my copy to say that there were issues in some points where the camera would lock, but I never noticed or came across this. But apparently these are going to be fixed. The animations in the game are good, there smooth and done cleverly. The attack motion, eating or collection butterflies for life or stamina is excellent and the game does feel really complete in this. I haven’t noticed any drops in frame rate either, so the game seems to be well balanced. Although I will say that there isn’t much going on at one point that caused too much stress. Enemies dotted around the world seem to be in packs of 2 or 3 and groups of more than that are rare to see.
The dialogue within the game isn’t talking and sounds more like a soundboard from a keyboard. Just think about that Friends episode with Ross and his Keyboard, that’s how I’ve seen it so far.
After a while the noises do get irritating and I found myself skipping the dialogue and just reading it on the screen in front of me. There were times I got a bit too tap happy and went flying past and didn’t understand that I was meant to do next so ended up just leaving that and not managing to get the pagie or whatever else was going to rewarded to me.
The mini games that are built in as well put a nice little smile on my face. They show up in the worlds as old school arcade machines, and you can jump on and just play which ever game it is. I loved the racing one and this is particularly fun when playing with friends and racing them as it comes up as a mini Mario Kart where you have boosts and other things to collect, but you can also shoot other people in the races or knock them off the track! So much fun!
Yooka-Laylee is a very good game with lots of humour, a fairly standard kids rescue type story, but with the worlds and what can be done in each, there are hours of fun to be had and I would highly recommend giving this a go if your a fan of open world platformers.