Yooka-Laylee is a classic 3D platformer in every way taking that old school feel and creating a massive world to explore. It heavily carries that nostalgic feeling of those old school platformer games while offering something only a modern game could possibly do. As Yooka and Laylee you head out on a quest to reclaim a rare book that was sucked into this large bizarre warehouse. It's a simple sort of quest and one that's light hearted. This helps to build into the idea that this is accessible for all ages and fun for everyone. Once the two head inside the factory that's sucking up all the books they meet their nefarious villains and attempt to stop them.
The book itself has prevented the bad guys from taking advantage of its power by splitting into 145 separate Pagies. You'll need to collect these Pagies in order to unlock new Grand Tomes which are the worlds in the game. There are five of these that comprise the game including Capital Cashino; Glitterglaze Glacier, Space World, Swamp World and Tribalstack Tropics. While it might not seem like a lot, each area packs hours of gameplay and the option to expand each worldfor more things to do. This system works mostly alright giving the option to freely explore further or expand. I was however disappointed that this attitude didn't carry towards the end boss as you needed 100 Pagies to face him which was annoying considering that theme of freedom most of the game had.
The entire campaign can be played locally with another player, but this is very limited. The second player just acts as a bee swarm helping with collectibles, but that does give purpose for a younger second player. There's also a full competitive arcade area that can be played with a local group of colorful Yooka-Laylee peeps. Done in an arcade machine style you play a variety of silly mini games aiming for the best score. These weren't honestly great, but it adds something to do with others and extra value. These games can also be played in single player directly from the menu or in-game through the use of arcade coins. The games were somewhat fun to play with the family gathering laughs though again simple.
It's a really lovely game with catchy and charming music throughout the entirety of your journey. The game has many, many abilities to learn from your snake pal throughout the game and they're all very intuitive. There's some sort of ability for any task and it's great once you have them all to tackle any challenge. The puzzles have a great variety within them on levels offering something for everyone and you don't have to do everything. Aside from Pagie collections, there are also 1010 quills that can be found and friendly ghosts on each level. Some other side collectible hunting is present, but those three are the primary ones.
The world is vibrant, filled with color and exciting to explore. It's got a distinctly classic look to it while providing many different puzzles to complete. There are wacky characters, great meta and just hours of things to do. I would liked a bit more guidance at the start though as I was confused about what to do after I finished world one, but after exploring in the main hub I discovered that's where everything else is located. There were also some slight performance issues in the later worlds, but nothing that ruins the experience.
Yooka-Laylee is simply amazing, it's a blast to play and one of the best 3D platformers ever. The worlds are large in scale offering hours of gameplay that's enjoyable. You want to be out there grabbing collectibles, running through the worlds and meeting the characters. There were some minor issues that held it back from perfection, but still a stellar experience to behold. You can play with others in some mini games if you'd like though the real magic is the campaign. It never takes itself too seriously having fun with every moment and it's a game that all ages can enjoy.
Yooka-Laylee Review on Xbox One
Review Code Provided by Team17