Game Info:

Developed by: Playtonic Games
Published by: Team17
Release date: April 11, 2017
Available on: Linux, macOS, PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One
Genre: Platformer
Number of players: Single-player, Up to two players for co-op multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E 10+ for comic mischief
Price: $39.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Team17 for sending us this game to review!

The classic 2D Donkey Kong Country and 3D Banjo-Kazooie games bring back many fond memories for gamers who enjoy platformers from the '90s era. What made these games special is their challenge and the thrill of collecting all of the items despite their treacherous locations. The creative talent behind the aforementioned games are on staff at Playtonic Games and their first project, a “Rare-vival” called Yooka-Laylee was successfully Kickstarted in June of 2015. The $175,000 goal was exceeded with its ending amount reaching over 2 million.

The main characters, the chameleon Yooka and his female bat companion Laylee begin the game lounging around their tropical home in Shipwreck Creek when Capital B and Dr. Quack threaten the existence of all of the world’s literature. Along with many books, the enchanted pages from Yooka and Laylee’s mysterious Grand Tome are taken away from them. They must travel to Hivory Towers to re-collect all of the Pagies and quills scattered throughout the five worlds.

Each vibrant and 3D rendered world has two hundred quills in it and those are used for purchasing moves from a shady snake seller named Trowzer (trouser snake, get it?). Some of the moves include rolling up slippery slopes and shooting projectiles. Battling against bosses or fully exploring the world will not be possible without these moves, so be sure to buy them early and often. Thankfully, the quills are pretty easy to locate and collect.


Strong Points: Nice throwback to '90s classic platformers that require collecting lots of items
Weak Points: Despite the cute graphics this game can be deceptively hard and may turn away some gamers; confusing level design; annoying voice acting; mini-games are boring when playing solo
Moral Warnings: Cartoon violence; potty humor; gambling references; sexual innuendo

Pagies, on the other hand, often take more effort to get. They are used for expanding and opening up new worlds. Each world has twenty-five pages in it and they are usually locked away until a quest of some sort is completed. One of the easier quests is locating the fractions of a page to make a whole one. Other pages can be yours by winning races or by completing timed challenges. If some of the challenges are too much for you, you can skip them, but be warned that one-hundred Pagies will be required to take on the final boss.

Ghost writers dwell in each world, and they'll reward you with treasure if you get their attention. In order to get them to acknowledge you, you’ll need unlock some of Trowzer’s special moves first. There are some characters who will refuse to talk to you in your chameleon form. When you befriend a scientist named Dr. Puzz, she’ll be able to transform you provided you can get her machine up and running first.

As you can imagine, the Pagies take a lot more work to get and there are plenty of them to retrieve if you’re a completionist. Besides the main game, there is a retro arcade with a few minigames that can be played by yourself or with a nearby friend, stranger, or family member. Here’s a quick rundown of the minigames:

Bee Bop – As a bee drone, you must defend your hive from invading enemies
Blag the Flag – Keep your flag secure from enemies that are after it
Glaciators – Collect as many quills as you can before the time runs out. You must be wary of the shifting ice and enemies coming at you
Gun-Tlet Run - Blast away at corplets in this chaotic shoot ‘em up
Hurdle Hijinx – A poker themed racetrack that requires you to jump and switch lanes to avoid upcoming obstacles
Jobstacle Course – Collect quills in this shoot 'em up game
Kartos Karting – See how fast you can complete your laps without hitting obstacles, enemies, or negative power-ups
Up ‘N’ Nova – Collect quills in this space flying game

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 78%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 89%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 8/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8.5/10

Some of the minigames are over when the time runs out while others let you play until your five lives are depleted. When the mini-game ends, your score will be added to the local leaderboard. While these games can be played solo, I highly recommend recruiting a friend. Playing a kart game without any opponents is boring and wrong.

Yooka-Laylee is mostly kid safe and will hopefully entertain more than frustrate younger gamers. Some of the innuendo went over my head at first, but they're present. There’s cartoon violence and some burping, but that’s as bad it gets. The humor is silly and appreciated.

In the end, Yooka-Laylee is a cute game with the exception of annoying gibberish voice acting. Aside from that complaint, this title is bound to entertain gamers for a while, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. If you’re longing for a retro styled platformer, Yooka-Layee will deliver in spades, but don’t expect anything more and you’ll be happy.

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