Yooka-Laylee is the spiritual successor of Banjo-Kazooie, you will notice this with everything that is going on in this game. If you know Banjo-Kazooie then you know that the game is mostly collecting items or ghosts. I can still dream of hunting those Jinjo’s. Yooka-Laylee is a massive collection game where you need to collect many different items. In Yooka-Laylee you will need to collect pagies that belong to the one book. The game characters break the immersion walls and don’t want to immerse you in their story. They often ask you if you are looking at your cellphone or they acknowledge that they are characters.
There are many different collectibles, the quills are needed for new moves. These new moves can lead you to new pagies. You can also collect upgrades for your health and power bar, you will also find molecules to enable a transformation for more pagies. There are also loads of minigames in Yooka-Laylee but for the retro arcade, you will also need a play coin collectible! There are some different mechanics in Yooka-Laylee compared with Banjo Kazooie but there are also some flaws, one of the flaws that I have encountered is the screen freezing. You can just save and quit but it is very annoying. There are five different worlds to explore and expand, I will go into detail of expanding a world in the gameplay section. If you do not like backtracking in games, this might not be the game for you. Backtracking is the key to success in Yooka-Laylee.
What did I think of Yooka-Laylee before playing?
I was really interested in what Yooka-Laylee would bring to the table, some of the people that worked in Rare have also worked on Yooka-Laylee.
Rare is the developer that created the Banjo-Kazooie franchise among other games. The idea of a spiritual successor was a great idea that many people wanted.
Back to the time of the Nintendo 64 era, those platformers were epic back then. I remember how difficult it was as a kid but now I just cruise through the game with ease.
The idea of a lizard made me think a little bit about Gex enter the Gecko, I have the urge now to review that game! Of course, a Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor would not be complete without a second character!
The purple bat Laylee and the green lizard Yooka embark on a grand quest together. The graphics looked great but I needed to blink twice to make sure I was not looking at Banjo-Kazooie. The sound effects to the graphics are almost identical.
I bought the game and started installing the game, ready to embark on this grand quest for pagies!
The rating for Yooka-Laylee is 8.2 based on watching the footage of Yooka-Laylee before playing.
The graphics look good and I have heard many different soundtrack and sound effects. I have seen many puzzles in the footage and non-playable characters.
The game looks like it would be very fun to play with enjoyable scenery.
The story starts with Yooka and Laylee just relaxing in shipwreck creek enjoying their free time and wondering what could be hiding in the crashed ship behind them. Laylee mentions she found an old dusty book hidden in the ship but meanwhile in Hivory Towers, something evil is happening. Capital B and Doctor Quack are hatching an evil plan to steal all the books including the dusty old book! Doctor Quack activated the Novelizer 64 and starts absorbing all the books.
Yooka and Laylee are talking about how much the book could be worth when suddenly the book starts flying away! Laylee mentions it must be worth a lot if the book can fly. While the book is flying away all the pages of the book fly out.
Yooka and Laylee decide to retrieve the pagies and get their book back, when they learn Capital B is responsible for stealing their book they intend to beat him up and get the book back!
Can you help Yooka and Laylee retrieve all the pages and the one book?
The rating for the story in Yooka-Laylee is a 7.1
The story seems a little underwhelming to be honest. I think there could have been done more with the story but it makes a good narrative to play the game. I had expected more from the story before playing the game but thinking back to Banjo-Kazooie I think the story is on the same level.
In Yooka-Laylee you will need to collect many items while also backtracking many times. Your health is measured by butterflies and you will start with six butterflies but you can upgrade this to a max of twelve butterflies with upgrades.
You can collect butterflies through your journey and they will heal you for one butterfly, there are many places where you can find butterflies but the butterflies are usually around honeycombs. You will need to eat the butterfly to heal your health points.
You start with a few basic moves and most moves also need to be collected. You will need to collect quills to unlock new moves by buying them from the snake Trowzer. He is kind of a loser and uses a brick phone from the year 1985 which is also the year that Rare was founded. You will need to backtrack each time you learn new moves, when entering world one for the first time you won’t be able to collect all the pagies since most are locked behind special moves that you learn in later worlds. You will also need pagies to unlock new worlds but you can also expand worlds. When expanding a world there will be more characters and pagies to collect and usually also a boss to fight. The best idea is to collect the moves from Trowzer first, try to get to world five as fast as possible, and then take your time when collecting all the other items. You will need to collect pagies to get to world five but this seems the best strategy for me. You will also unlock tonics along the way, you can only equip one tonic at a given time. You will need to complete challenges to unlock these tonics. These can help you in hunting down some quills or give you more power when performing a ground pound among other things
Most of the special moves will cost some power, the power bar can be seen under your health bar. When the power bar is empty you can no longer use special moves and you will need to wait for the power bar to recharge. You can touch a butterfly to refill your power bar, if you eat the butterfly you will not recharge your power bar. You can extend the power bar by finding power extenders in each world including one in the hub. There are also pagies hidden in the hub but for most of the pagies, you will need advanced moves that you will learn later in the game. You can also unlock molecules in each world that allows you to transform into something else, world one sees you transform into a plant! Transforming usually lets you access pagies that otherwise cannot be reached. There are 145 pagies in total to collect along with 1010 quills. There are also secret collectibles in each world and these are called pirate treasure. You won’t get any hint on what they are or what they do, you also won’t get a hint on where to find them! You won’t even see the pirate treasure when you have collected one! In every world, you will also find five ghostwriters and they grant you a pagie when you have collected all five of them. The boss fights are very easy and usually don’t involve much strategic thinking and you will get enough butterflies to heal up. You can play a mini-game in each world but you need to find a play-coin first, a good reminder is that you need to play the minigame twice to get both the pagies that you can get for playing the mini-game.
The endgame boss is a difficult fight and they made the fight long without getting any recharges for your health bar, I would suggest finding all butterfly extenders before attempting the endgame boss fight. You will need to clear multiple phases when fighting the endgame boss and if you die you will need to start all over from the beginning of the boss fight. When you get attacked by bees you will need to use the move called sonar explosion to get rid of the bees. A good idea is to either use the tonic livewire or super slam depending on your playstyle. There is a huge error in the last phase of the endgame boss where you will need to fly while luring the missiles into the endgame boss but when you need to recharge your power bar you will get hit since it takes to long for your power bar to recharge. You can try to parry the missiles by attacking them but getting the timing right might be hard. Using the super slam tonic, you will reach the end phase earlier with more lives but using livewire makes your power bar recharge faster. It took me a few tries but once I knew how long the endgame boss was and what attacks he is what going to throw at me it was a piece of cake but the game certainly does not tell you what to do. This is a slight issue since you have a lot of moves to perform in Yooka-Laylee.
The gameplay rating for this game is a 7.8
I liked the gameplay a lot and it did remind me of Banjo-Kazooie, this game has a couple of rough edges. There are a few crashes here and there, I have also experienced some game freezes but nothing too major. As seen below the game froze in the middle of the end game boss fight!
Sound and Graphics
I have to resist my urge to try and type how the characters talk! It is amazingly funny and made me chuckle a few times, it is just like in Banjo-Kazooie!
There are many different soundtracks and all sound effects are on par with what you would expect. There is nothing to complain about the sound it fits the game perfectly.
The graphics are gorgeous and you can see the developers put many hours of work into the graphics. Especially the dancing collectibles of course!
You can also use a tonic to revert back to the Nintendo 64 graphics with 20 frames per second!
The rating of the sound and graphics is 8.4
What did I think of Yooka-Laylee after playing?
There were a few annoyances when playing but this was mostly in world four the cashino but the other worlds were much better. Finding the tokens in the Cashino was hard to do, this got annoying after looking for over an hour. Even though the hint screen that you get while loading mentions the tonic for hunting down quills will also work for tokens it did not. In the end, it seemed a non-playable character got bugged and did not give the tokens. After restarting the game completely, the tokens magically appeared. I liked world three with the spooky environments the most along with the Kraken fight!
The game started a bit slow for me and it did not get my attention at all but once I got a little bit further into the game with more moves the game got much better.
I liked the characters a lot but they kept breaking the immersion and that got me off track every time, I don’t mind a single joke or a funny bit but it gets annoying if you have to endure it through the whole game.
The challenges were easy and for most of them you had to backtrack but it did not take me to long, it took me around three days to platinum Yooka-Laylee.
The bosses were pushovers and I did not have to pay much attention or learn any patterns to beat them so the endgame boss took me by surprise! The endgame boss fight is much more difficult than any other boss in the game, this is not a problem but this was a huge spike in difficulty without warning. The other difficult part of Yooka-Laylee is when you are missing one collectible in a huge world and you need to find it, luckily you can use a tonic to help you with hunting down this last collectible. The easiest world to get lost in the collectibles that you need to collect is the cashino where you will also need to hunt down tokens for the pagies in that world. There are many minigames to be found in Yooka-Laylee, the controls in the mini-games are a bit sloppy as they react fairly slow and odd. I think a lot of people will have trouble with the minecart challenges, once again world four the cashino was the hardest! Locking the boss fight in the cashino behind the mine cart challenge felt quite cheap to me as not everyone can complete this challenge.
The rating for after playing the game is a 7.3
Yooka-Laylee did not meet the expectations that I had before playing the game but I definitely had fun while playing this game and I would recommend it everyone that is looking for a 3D platformer. Fans of Banjo-Kazooie would also love this game since the developers did a great job of making a spiritual successor.
My personal rating
Based on how much hours I spent in Yooka-Laylee and how much fun I had while playing I would give this game a 7.9.
I would have loved to give the game a higher personal rating but the odd controls in the minecart challenges and other mini-games bring the rating down for me.
There are also some wanky hitboxes and the flight mechanics are a bit rough, I did like the graphics and sound as there is nothing wrong with them.
Collecting all the items was fun to do and I am excited to start playing Yooka-Laylee and the impossible lair soon.
This is a great platformer and I liked to gather all the collectibles, For some reason, I could not resist collecting all the pagies. This might be a problem that I also have in other games. I would recommend this game to anyone that is looking for a challenging platformer where you need to collect many items.
Don’t forget to leave your own thoughts about the game in the comments, You can also leave your own rating of the game.
I hope you liked reading this review, I hope to see you in the next review!