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Review: Yooka-Laylee

April 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Publisher: Team 17
Developer: Playtonic Games
System(s): PC, PS4 [played on], Xbox One, Switch (coming soon)
Release Date: 11th April 2017

Disclosure: I was a Kickstarter backer for this title.

It’s been a while since its high-profile Kickstarter broke records, but Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor Yooka-Laylee is finally here. Reactions so far have been mixed, which was a concern for a Kickstarter backer such as myself, and while some criticism is deserved, it’s not all bad.

Yooka-Laylee has a simple premise. The nefarious corporate lackey Capital B (he’s a bee and he’s a capitalist!) is stealing the world’s books to try and obtain a specific magical book that will grant him power. However, the book’s pages have scattered through various worlds and it’s up to a plucky chameleon and his aggressively rude bat friend to save the day.

To achieve this, they play a game of Banjo-Kazooie with the level size dramatically increased and a new HD lick of paint. And I do mean that this game is literally Banjo-Kazooie, with moves, level structure, the hub world, and gameplay structure all largely cribbed from the developers’ previous 20-year-old project. There’s a slight bit of Conker’s Bad Fur Day in there as well, with humour such as a snake character named Trowzer (ask your parents). When the former Rare staff said they really wanted to make Banjo-Kazooie again, they weren’t kidding.

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