REVIEW: Yooka-Laylee (PS4)
Playtonic and Team17’s latest platformer, Yooka-Laylee, is quite an enjoyable (if not a little childish) platformer and definitely one of the better ones out there.
You may not agree, but Yooka-Laylee is one of those puzzle-platformer adventure titles that gives sarcastic humour which makes everyone laugh and amused.
If I remember correctly, Ratchet & Clank for PS4 is the last platformer title I’ve played and one I thoroughly enjoyed. The questions is though, can Yooka Laylee live up to the current day standard-setters such as Ratchet & Clank? Read on to find out in our review.
Our little green and violet friends are set to recover the book they found in a wrecked pirate ship. It holds the key to control the whole universe. The Hivory Company, headed by your one and only Capital B (who is technically a bee who looks like Gru from Despicable Me), invented a machine that would suck all books in the planet to eliminate competition. However, Capital B has an eye for the “special” book that Yooka and Laylee found. While the special book was getting sucked by that huge vacuum contraption, the magical pages managed to get out from the book. And it’s up to Yooka and Laylee to recover these pages from a wide variety of imaginative places
As with other platformer adventure games out there, the plot is not too taxing to follow, and it’s not the highlight of Yooka-Laylee. What made my journey enjoyable in this unique world was its dialogue and the frustrating puzzles, not its narrative. Laylee, Yooka’s bat companion, has her own moody side that frequently says sarcastic lines especially to the merchant snake, Trowzer (I know) who sells you “moves”. Yooka, on the other hand, is the one lizard you will find optimistic and nice throughout the entire game. He may spurt out some corny lines, but for every gamer out there, you will surely laugh with Yooka-Laylee’s bomb responses.
I definitely want to say that exploration is key when progressing in Yooka-Laylee. The game doesn’t spoon-feed you with maps, an objective marker and entrance highlights but it does give you riddles and clues throughout the game to recover the Pagies and other collectibles. These Pagies are the magical pages of the special book that you need to get to unlock places and extensions. There are some puzzles that are impossible to solve when you don’t have the specific move required. In each world, you get approximately 2 moves which you can use in previous locations you’ve visited. You will need to gather Quills for you to buy these moves. When you get those 2 moves, you can hop on to another world until you beat the game without really expanding the worlds.
Aside from these so called moves, you also have these elemental materials you get from the plants like water, fire, and ice which also help for certain puzzles; and these elemental feats can be used in combat as well.
One thing I must say is that I love how Yooka-Laylee handles boss fights, especially with one boss that gives you a quiz that tests your retention skills. Players will have to be aware of some number of quills you get to spend for a move, the name of some characters, and also some sights you have to remember (photos will be shown as one of the questions). What’s also great about this mini-boss battle is, every time you get to restart the whole thing, random questions gets thrown to you so it’s not your typical “retry-get-the-answer-right” gameplay.
Yooka-Laylee is one beautiful platformer. The unique worlds can easily be described as “dazzling” and “pretty”. Each world has its own locals and theme like a tropical island, a snow kingdom, a smelly swamp and a five star casino and the icy and cool atmosphere of Glitterglaze is a sight to behold. You can even see Laylee’s face formed by the stars as a constellation in the sky. Nonetheless, it saddens me that a Photo Mode feature was not added, it would have been a lovely feature to showcase how spectacular the worlds are.
Since the game is inspired and considered to be the spiritual successor of Banjoo-Kazooie, players who haven’t played Banjoo might think the gibberish voice-overs is a result of a lack of budget, no it’s not. Yooka-Laylee takes a lot of things from the Banjoo franchise, even the voice-over styles. It might sound gibberish, but it’s actually kind of cute. There are things in the dialogue that have double-meanings, but it’s up to you to interpret those. Putting voice-overs aside, the musical soundtrack fits the game’s atmosphere, especially with the worlds in Yooka-Laylee.
Yooka-Laylee is a charming game with tons of throwbacks to its predecessors. While I am still not a huge fan of collect-a-thons, the awesome music, charming characters and witty dialog kept me hooked, wondering what the next interaction would be. I also love how the game isn’t afraid to make fun of itself for references to past games. If you are a fan of the genre, you will enjoy Yooka-Laylee!