Earlier this year the developers behind Yooka Laylee, Playtonic Games, launched an update for the PC version titled “Spit N’ Polish.” This update fixed many peoples issues with the platformer that was inspired by the glory days of Banjo-Kazooie and as of yesterday, the patch has been added to the PS4 and Xbox One editions of the game.
Image Source: http://bit.ly/2wAfDUx
One of the many changes that the indie developer made was a new optional camera that gives the player way more control over where they can position the once fidgety system. This seemed to be one of the main concerns of the Spit N’ Polish update as many reviewers considered the camera to be a major downside to the experience.
In addition to the new camera, the game also makes adjustments to the game’s flying and first person aim controls, the ability to skip cutscenes and dialogue, an option to shorten the iconic “gibberish” voice acting, and tons more that Playtonic detailed on their Spit N’ Polish blog post.
Some of the bigger changes include:
Pagies have added signposts to Hivory Towers to help guide players to new worlds
Design tweaks to all arcade games
Improved speed when scrolling through Totals Menu
New moves section added to pause menu, with image guide
Restart option added in the pause menu during arcade games and Kartos challenges
“Sonar-able” objects now have clearer visual identity
Laser move no longer requires player to crouch
Improved Transformation controls
Minecart control and hitbox improvements
Improved Rampo boss fight
Image Source: http://bit.ly/2wAfDUx
Playtonic is still hard at work on the Nintendo Switch version, set to replace the canceled Wii U version of Yooka Laylee. No release date has been set for their return to Nintendo but Playtonic tweeted a picture of the game running on the new console so hopefully, we’ll see it soon. The developer also detailed that the Switch version would come with the Spit N’ Polish update already implemented.
It is hard to express how much I love Yooka-Laylee but stand by while I give it a go. This platformer is an affordable foray into a beautiful universe with plenty of challenge and collectibles. The $40 price tag offers even more incentive to try it out. Each world provides players with a new experience, all while keeping players entertained with clever dialogue and interesting characters. To top off this nostalgic gut punch, Playtonic Games included a delightful soundtrack that will make Banjo-Kazooie veterans flashback to their N64 days.
To address the elephant in the room, yes Yooka-Laylee does feel nearly identical to Banjo-Kazooie. This is mainly because the developers working at Playtonic Games are industry veterans that were the brains behind the bear and the bird most gamers remember. These similarities are not a bad thing though, in fact they add to the allure of the game. The controls are fluid, Yooka runs and jumps with grace just like Banjo. Jumping from platform to platform feels great and the only thing that ever got in the way was an occasional camera glitch.
Powers and Abilities
Fluidity is essential due to the pallet of skills at your heroes disposal. Throughout the adventure both Yooka and Laylee will learn tons of moves used for moving, flying and fighting their way to victory. From the start players are limited in terms of skills, only having access to run and jump. After a minor introduction, attack is unlocked and the game opens up. Players are then introduced to the move acquisition system. Instead of just being handed moves, a smooth talking snake will trade abilities for quills. Although the price seems steep, quills are in no short supply as they are one of the more prevalent collectables.
Yooka-Laylee is a collect-a-thon that just keeps giving. Players have a constant stream of various quills, pagies, ghost writers, tonics and various other objects necessary for reaching the end of the game. Not all of these items are easy to obtain as many are hidden behind various puzzles and fights which Yooka must take care of first. These puzzles aren’t always easy, some require quick reflexes and clever problem solving. One of the more challenging problems require players to answer a series of 10 questions that are necessary for progression. These questions seem easy at first, but as the list goes on very specific questions are asked, such as “how many hours have you been playing the game.” By the way, these were all asked by a talking duck in a rolling fish tank.
Environments and Characters
The delightful cast of characters is one of the many driving forces Yooka-Laylee uses to keep players attentions. A constant feeling of anticipation is felt when traveling into the many worlds, brought on by new faces and self aware dialogue. The antagonist of the game comes in the form of an arrogant bee known as Capital B. Puns, plays on words and destroying the 4th wall are what the game does best. The snarky dialogue between the two heroes is endearing and while Capital B’s dialogue will never match the wit of Gruntilda (the antagonist from Banjo-Kazooie) he still has some funny lines that take a jab at corporate culture. Characters also make the iconic goofy mumbling noises made famous by Playtonic Games previous franchise.
These characters are spread throughout a variety of gorgeous environments accessed by jumping into magical story books that have been stolen by Capital B. Players start on a busted up pirate ship that Yooka and Laylee call a home and move onto the main hub world known as the Hivory Towers. This is where you’ll find the world bending books, starting with the jungle level, Tribalstack Tropics. Players will move onto various other whimsical areas such as a frozen tundra and a flashy casino. Although there are only 5 zones, they each have two versions that require players to expand the world in order to grab all the collectables. When expanded, the books contain new challenges to take on and introduce more characters to meet.
An arcade like multiplayer is included as well. It lets friends compete against each other in various mini game activities. These are fun diversions from the story but ultimately they feel a little forced but ultimately don’t detract from the excellence that is the campaign.
Yooka-Laylee is a truly wonderful experience that is a must buy for anyone who enjoyed Banjo-Kazooie or any retro platformer. This indie game is a Kickstarter success story that shows the true power of the platform and independent developers. Hopefully it inspires more small time game developers to go against the grain and develop outside industry norms.
Gigamax Games is dedicated to giving our fans a look at all the latest games and industry updates. Make sure to stay tuned for more early previews and reviews and if you’d like to see some gameplay of Yooka-Laylee make sure to check out our sneak peek let’s play below.
When I first heard that an exciting new project by the developer of Banjo-Kazooie was coming out, my excitement went through the roof. Then it was announced that the game would be a spiritual successor to the Banjo series and I lost it. A game that had been a huge part of my childhood was finally about to see life again and the hype train left the station at full speed. It was no secret that this game would need to be funded on Kickstarter before it would ever make it to a console. Luckily it didn’t take long for Yooka-Laylee to hit its goal.
In fact this indie game did more than make the required funding, it blew past the goal and into the million dollar mark. The relatively small game turned into a full fledged experience that would make its way to almost every gaming console. Yooka-Laylee is obviously a labor of love by developer Playtonic. Essentially Banjo-Kazooie in almost every way possible and that’s an amazing thing. While I wasn’t able to back the game on Kickstarter, I took the opportunity to pre-order it and show support as an official release has been announced. Players that purchase early are able to hop on the Toybox Demo that was originally released to backers and I immediately took the chance to take control.
Right off the bat (pun very much intended) you can tell the new dynamic duo are essentially Banjo and Kazooie with a new skin. Now a chameleon and bat instead of a bear and bird, these two control and move just like the original protagonists. They have the same moves that use the same buttons and make the familiar wacky noises when moving. When speaking to the one NPC available you can tell the same writing style was used. A mix between meta and sassy makes for an endearing and good laugh. In the background you can hear a nostalgic score that feels like it was pulled right from Banjo-Kazooie. This compilation of love for the N64 classic makes anyone who was a fan of the original feel right at home.
Although the Toybox is less of a demo and more of a proof of concept to early adopters, it still inspires plenty of confidence for the full release. It gives a small taste of what’s to come and most importantly let’s you step back in time. Nowadays it is very rare to see a 3D platformer with bright colorful worlds. Hopefully other developers take a note from Playtonic. Once a common sight, Yooka-Laylee does a great job of making the classic structure feel modern. The Toybox has 100 “quills” available that once collected unlock a secret to discover somewhere in the demo. Those familiar with Banjo-Kazooie will recognize the collect to progress structure that feels so very satisfying.
With such a fun teaser, Playtonic certainly knows how to build excitement for their game. Yooka-Laylee’s release is set for March of 2017 and it can not come fast enough. These two are looking great and I don’t think I’m prepared for the nostalgia overdose that is in my near future. If you’d like to see the demo in action we’ve got a full playthrough that shows where all the quills are located and where to find the secret. If you were a fan of the Banjo-Kazooie or want a return to 3D platformers I recommend keeping this game on your radar.