Playing Old Songs on a New Instrument

This month I've cheated a little bit on Undertale, but will still be working to complete it before the end of the month. I've been waiting for Yooka-Laylee for a very long time. So when it came out, I just had to get started. Since this is the first time that I've played a game so soon after release and written about it, I'm going to do my best to keep the spoilers to a minimum.

For those that don't know, this game is the spiritual successor to the N64 Platformer Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie. While the series has had a third game, released only for the Xbox 360, it wasn't a platformer and wasn't really what fans of the series wanted. Some of the original devs of the series left Rare to work on something to fill that gap. If you want to learn more about the development check out their Kickstarter page.

You play as the Lizard-Bat duo, Yooka and Laylee. It brings in puns and homages to it's predecessor and other games right off the bat. Then you jump into things. While you only have a couple of moves available to you to start, but you quickly begin learning more that will help you on your quest. You have to navigate your way through the hub world to find each of the levels. Each level starts out at a fairly good size, then you have the opportunity to expand them. Not only does this give you more area to explore, but unlocks the rest of the collectibles for a given level.

There are three different types of major collectibles to be found in each world. Pagies are the most important type. These are what you use to unlock the next world as well as expand each level. These can be obtained through many different types of puzzles and requests from NPC's. Quills are the most numerous collectible in the game, but are used to unlock new moves, which are needed to continue finding all of the pagies. The last are Ghost Writers. Each level has 5 Ghost Writers for you to catch, and each of the 5 has to be caught in a different way. You may have to feed one bombs or ice, before it'll let you catch it, or you might need to fight it. Each of the 5 is caught in the same way each level, but finding them can be difficult.

There are also a few other collectibles that are smaller in number. In fact each only has one per level: a power extender, a health extender, a play coin, and a mollycool. The first two are extremely straightforward, they make it so you can use abilities longer and take more hit, respectively. The others are a little more in depth. The play coin unlocks the ability to play an arcade style mini-game. Some of these were fun, but a couple were extremely tedious. And they hide a precious pagie, so the completionist in me couldn't skip them. The mollycool is an item that allows an NPC to power up a transformation device. Every level has a different transformation, and these transformations unlock 1 or more pagies.

Overall I really enjoyed this game. Some of the puzzles can be hard to navigate, and the worlds seem huge, but once you learn where major landmarks are it gets easier. My biggest issue is that some of the puzzles are extremely difficult for the simple fact that the controls can be weird. Sometimes you might not have the ability to move backwards, and instead of making it so that button doesn't do anything, you continue moving forward, or turning. There's also some puzzles that are extremely difficult without a time limit, that then have a time limit added on.

The final boss was extremely difficult, which I appreciated after having some easier to defeat bosses throughout the game. You have to manage your resources well to get through it, and it's longer than any of the other major fights.

If you're a fan of the Banjo-Kazooie series, I highly recommend this game. I also recommend it if you're a fan of 3D platformers. It's shorter in length than I was expecting, but there are still plenty of collectibles to be had before I fully put this game down. And hopefully we'll get news of a sequel before too long, this game deserves it.

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