Yooka-Laylee makes me feel like I’m 15 again. Sitting up way too late, trying to stay quiet so as not to wake up my mum. Playing games on my N64 and laughing at the obvious dick jokes, while the more subtle, adult references fly over my head.
I’m taken back in mind and spirit. Waves of nostalgia ebb and flow and I’m reminded of how and why playing video games has always been a part of my life and always will be.
In the time I’ve spent with it so far, Yooka-Laylee is exceptional. Utterly brilliant, incredibly playable and most importantly of all; ridiculously good fun.
It would be easy to dismiss Yooka-Laylee as a Banjo-Kazooie clone, but calling it an homage is far more accurate. The twin character mechanics, world and level design, gibberish vocalisations and delightful British-isms are all taken directly from the N64 classics; Kazooie and Tooie.
It looks and sounds and plays just like Banjo-Kazooie, but that can only be considered a positive.
Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie were seminal on release and have achieved a well deserving status as iconic video games. There haven’t been high profile adventure games of their ilk released in such a long time, but Yooka-Laylee fills the void wonderfully.
Yooka is mild-mannered, polite and agreeable. Laylee is loud mouthed, brash and impatient. They’re the original odd couple.
Yooka and Laylee aren’t the only characters you’ll love though. Rextro, Trowzer, Dr. Puzz (I’m ashamed to say how long that pun took me to get) and Dr. Quack are all standouts, each with something to say that’ll make you chuckle.
Speaking of laughing, I’ve not laughed out loud at a game so often in a long time. It’s rare (no pun intended) for games to actually be genuinely funny, rarer still for one without voice acting.
But, Yooka-Laylee nails it. It nails everything in fact.
Everything it set out to achieve, as far as I can tell thus far, has been achieved. Every goal has been smashed. Every reference in-place. It’s difficult to even come up with anything I’ve experienced while playing that’s a negative. Not impossible though.
I’ve spent a good deal of time fighting with the camera and forced perspective sections are a pain. Traversing the overworld takes a bit too much time and some of the challenges are downright spiteful.
That being said, none of these things has diminished my love and enthusiasm for rushing home at the end of the day and playing until my eyeballs fall-out.
Just like when I was in high-school.
Yooka-Laylee won’t be available until April 11, 2017, but stay tuned for our final thoughts when our review is published at 2am AEDT April 5, 2017.
Yooka-Laylee is being reviewed on PS4 using a digital promo code provided to PowerUp! by Team 17.