If you’re up for the strangest, wildest, most colorful time of your life, Yooka-Laylee might just be the game to beat. It’s magical landscape and absurdly fun characters are available on multiple gaming platforms - PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, PC, Mac and Linux - and is due for release on the PS4 on April 11.
Another in Playtonic Games’ plethora of cross platform successful titles, Yooka-Laylee has been a long awaited hat-tip to the beloved 3D platformer games of the 90s. From the same creators of Banjo-Kazooie, this is the perfect team to bring the latest platformer game to the table. Old school platformer games were fun and light and didn’t pretend to be more than they were. Since the slow decline of this style, only the likes of classics such as Mario remain, and more as nostalgia than much else. The theme was the forefront of gaming for such a long time that it’s only natural people would crave it since it’s disappearance. So of course there has been a hunger, since they were essentially replaced by more exciting story lines and action role-play games, to see a grand return of the style and quality of that genre. And hopefully Yooka-Laylee will not disappoint. Platformer games are not an easy find today, especially on consoles like the PS4. Simple story lines and basic game-play have been long underrated by major consoles, who have ousted such simplicity for more intense genres.
But Yooka-Laylee offers another chance to re-establish the platformer games on major consoles. It is at the heart of a platformer revival. And according to reviews so far, it should be the clincher to re-open the genre on a phenomenal scale.
Yooka-Laylee revolves around a simple plot, combined with a modernized platformer concept. Sweet-faced chameleon, Yooka and bat companion Laylee must together track down the missing pages from a magic book that was stolen by a giant Bee. Definitely not the dark, deep story line of the likes of Horizon Zero Dawn. But isn’t that exactly the kind of relief we need every now and then? It is not a game to take too seriously and that is the best thing about it.
Yooka and Laylee move with agility through the magical land around them, across Avatar style hanging islands, ancient buildings and igloos to track down the magic book. With tons of side stories and adventures to progress you further into the game, this reinvention of platformer gaming will not cease to impress. It’s a barrel of laughs, with constant puns and cringe jokes thrown into the mix and it also comes with an arsenal of fun abilities for the player to choose from, including tongue whipping, and Solar blasting. There is even a move that just might involve a giant fart bubble. Looks like you’ll have to play the game to find it!
As aforementioned, this is hardly a game of serious intellectual thought. But it most certainly has been created with intelligence and love for an era of bouncy, brilliant and colorful gaming. It is unapologetic and embraces its role fully as a light, entertaining rehash of 90s and millennium predecessors. Playtonic have mastered their ability to recreate a nostalgia that also keeps up with the times. It is not a retro game, but it inspires a retro concept and throws it into modernity, right where it belongs. We all remember the likes of Mario, Crash Bandicoot (one of my personal favorites) and Jak and Daxter. They were unrealistic, crazy and they had threw us into a fantastical world of fun and relaxation. There has been far too much of a lack of this kind of gaming recently. Realistic and darker themed games have taken over and understandably so. But Yooka-Laylee allows us to throw our hair down in a way those games are unable to offer.
Overall, Yooka-Laylee has a ton to offer the current gaming world. Innovative, fresh and fun, it invokes a sense of humor and is well worth a play. It could be the first in many steps to reemerge the platform gaming we have long since put behind us.