Game Review - Yooka-Laylee on Nintendo Switch

Written by MrPapillon on October 14, 2018 @ 3:28 pm

In short :

++ Nice "retro" 3D platformer-collectathon vibes
++ A very good spitirual successor to Banjo-Kazooie
++ A sound track by the legends Grant Kirkhope and David Wise
+ Perfect for Nintendo Switch
+/- Boss battles and their inconsistency
+/- The british humour / Too much 4th-wall breaking
+/- Maybe not that family friendly
- Wonkiness of controls
-- Long loading time on Nintendo Switch

We waited so long for this ; a true successor to the Banjo-Kazooie franchise (Nuts and Bolts doesn't exists). Yooka-Laylee takes the torch and throws good 90's-nostalgic vibes in our faces. Crowdfunded, I'll admit being one of these backers and, oh boy, was I not disappointed. Seeing my name on the backers credits (which is absolutely huge) fills myself with pride. Theses credits could have deserved a bit more care ; some huge names are truncated and some others mean stricly nothing. But it's understandable by the over-excessive size of the backers list.

Yooka-Laylee fulfills its promises as it gave us an "old-fashioned" 3D collectathon platformer in the same gaming principles of the Banjoo-Kazooie franchise ; you explore beautiful worlds with a lot of different collectibles, googly eyes everywhere and on anything, silly dialog voices and silly british humour. All of this feel so good and it's a real pleasure to get back to these styles of games.

One very excellent point is that Grant Kirkhope and David Wise are back for some eargasmic game soundtracks. If you don't know them, Kirkhope is the man behind the original Banjo-Kazooie soundtrack, which is perfect, and David Wise did incredible music for the Donkey Kong franchise. And indeed, Yooka-Laylee's soundtrack is also a masterpiece. One thing I'm personally a bit disapointed is that the hub world music is not as emblematic as Banjo-Kazooie's.

The Nintendo Switch if a perfect place for a game like Yooka-Laylee ; pop out your console, launch the game and voil?, you are inside a silly world, moving and goofing around.

One thing that Yooka-Laylee adds is the boss battles. The inconsistency of the challenge of these battles is a bit weird ; the first bosses make the player use and master a specific mechanic, then the bosses become a bit more challenging and ask the player to think a bit more, then it's back to no-thinking-needed boss and then finally back to a bit more strategic challenge.

As a sucker for british humour, I was wholefully delighted to read the dumb dialogues between the characters and the countless low-level references. However, I must admit that the game makes it way too excessive. There is so much 4th wall breaking that it becomes a bit difficult to fully immerse yourself inside the world and to think that Yooka and Laylee are genuine characters.

Moreover, these silly dialogues doesn't save some weird choices of design for certain characters, most notably the worlds 3 and 5 bosses, which are basically stuff of children nightmares. That's not really new in fact as I remember being pretty scared of some parts of Banjoo-Kazooie.

One drawback of Yooka-Laylee is its wonky controls. Even after completing the game, I'm still uncertain with my ability to control Yooka and Laylee. The not-that-great camera combined with the wonkiness of 3D movements and battles makes challenges sometimes unnecessarily difficult. Indeed, more precise 3D worlds require more precise and tweaked 3D controls and in our case, the controls deserved to be tweaked around a bit more.

However the major drawback of the Nintendo Switch version of Yooka-Laylee are the much too long loading screens. Basically, everytime you launch the game, enter a world or when you enter the hub building, you have a big waiting time, which is a bit disappointing as it defeats the purpose given by having this game on the Nintendo Switch.

Still, Yooka-Laylee is a great game and a massive nostalgic pleasing experience. I would recommend it to any 3D platformer lover and especially to Banjoo-Kazooie fans.

Gameplay Rating: 7
Story Rating: 7
Graphics & Visuals Rating: 8
Sound Rating: 9
Overall Rating: 8

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Game Information

Platform
Nintendo Switch
Developer(s)
Playtonic Games
Publisher(s)
Team17
Genre(s)
Platformer
NA Release Date
December 14, 2017
JP Release Date
December 14, 2017
EUR Release Date
December 14, 2017
AUS Release Date
December 14, 2017
ESRB Rating
E10
PEGI Rating
7
ACB Rating
G
MVGL User Score
6.7
Composer
Grant Kirkhope, David Wise, Steve Burke
Official Website
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