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Yooka Laylee // Review

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Join Yooka and Laylee as they explore Capital B’s Hivory Tower, and stop his evil plan to steal ALL the books in Shipwreck Creek!

Meet Yooka, a chameleon with the heart of an adventurer, and his best friend Laylee, a witty bat whose sarcasm is as potent as her greed. Together, they live and lounge around their pirate ship home in Shipwreck Creek. But, things go awry when Capital B comes to town and steals ALL the books in Shipwreck Creek and becomes the world’s only bookseller. In order to get the books back, Yooka and Laylee must climb Capital B’s corporate Hivory Tower and explore and expand the world’s inside the stolen books, the Grand Tomes.

Yooka Laylee brings the fun of 3D platformers from the 1990’s, like Banjo Kazooie and Super Mario 64, to 21st century consoles like the XBox One. Graphically, Yooka Laylee is beautiful, with each different world unique, from a tropical paradise to a winter wonderland. Even in the murkier levels, the colors of Yooka and Laylee’s surroundings are pleasant as you run and jump through each obstacle. Not only filled with unique settings, but you’ll meet strange and witty characters that will help Yooka and Laylee on their journey. From characters like Kartos (God of Ore!) who lets Yooka-Laylee ride the rails, or Trowzer, the sleazy business snake that sells a variety of moves and attacks. He also wears trousers. He’s a trouser snake… While colorful and fun, Yooka Laylee is also overflowing with meta references and mature jokes that younger gamers may not get (hopefully).

Where Yooka Laylee falls a bit flat is it’s co-op mode. While one player controls Yooka and Laylee as they traverse worlds and fight corplet minions, a second player acts as the Bee Team, a small swarm of bees that follow them around grabbing collectables that might be just out of reach. The usefulness of this co-op mode is not lost on me, but is overall disappointing as that is literally your only job. And you can’t even grab ALL collectables, just a few. Fortunately, Yooka Laylee has a second multiplayer mode for the more competitive gamers in Rextro’s Arcade where up to four players can work against each other in a variety of different arcade style games.

Yooka Laylee also gives an insight into what we have come to expect from games in 2017. Some games, like Dark Souls, are popular for throwing the player into the game with little instruction, adding a challenge of learning the mechanics of the game just to survive. But, most games these days come with waypoints leading us to various stages of quests, hints, journals marking your progress and telling you where to go, and even a map! These helpful guide tools have become staples of video games today, so I found it a nostalgic challenge in Yooka Laylee’s gameplay with very little instruction or hints. The joy of the game lies in exploring the entire world, not knowing where you’re going, or what to expect, learning the mechanics of each challenge through trial and error.

Trey Anthony Guillory (a.k.a. Trey Guillotine) is an aspiring journalist, a YouTuber, and a huge nerd.