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Yooka-Laylee Review: Plenty of Highs, a Few Lows, Too

Yooka-Laylee’s made by some of the people who created the beloved Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 3-D platforming games. Is this long-awaited offering as excellent those gems?

What’s a Yooka-Laylee?

Although the title’s a play on words, it’s not a guitar. Yooka is a wacky green lizard who looks a little like Spyro The Dragon. Laylee is a purple bat with a red nose and a lot of attitude. Together, they have to save the world by gathering the stolen pages of a book. Otherwise, two enemies will profit from all the knowledge of all the books everywhere.

A Book? Why’s a Book So Important?

Well, books are always important, even to fairy tale videogame societies like this one. But Capital B, a bee with a crooked stinger, and his duck cohort Dr. Quack want to rid the world of books so they can control the world’s information. But Capital B, like many videogame antagonists, is more bluster than intelligence. Still, he’s got some tough trials in store for you. Yooka and Laylee have their work cut out for them.

How Does The Game Work?

You travel through the various worlds and collect book pages, solve puzzles, participate in quizzes and even race in mine carts. You meet Trowzer, a fast-talking, red and black striped snake who guides you through your adventures. He won’t do it for free, though. You have to earn quills, which are easy to get, before he’ll sell you upgrades.

Sounds Cool. Are There Any Issues?

Definitely. Yooka moves too fast. Even though real-life lizards scurry along quickly in real life, in this game that speedy movement can make you dizzy. You can try to push the left control stick just a little for slower movement. But that’s really not a great solution when you’re in the heat of fighting enemies and jumping from platform to platform.

Is There Another Issue?

It’s the camera. The angles you see when moving are confusing. You can get really disoriented, particularly in a corner. All this can make you dizzy, too. Failing to create a steady camera is one of the biggest mistakes a game developer can make.

Will The Gamemakers Fix The Issue?

Sadly, they haven’t made a sound on social media since the game was released almost two weeks ago. The thing is, this game was Kickstarted. While the developers got about $2.7 million in crowdfunding, they made a game that was too vast for the cash they collected. (Yes, games cost a lot of money to make.)

Is It Worth Playing?

If you like games like Skylanders, think about giving Yooka-Laylee a try. The characters are really charismatic. Your first special move is adorable and humorous. Yooka, the lizard, rolls up in a ball and Laylee, the bat, runs on top to move the pair up slippery platforms. The five worlds, although flawed by the rough gameplay, are vibrant, colorful, imaginative and vast. I won’t lie to you, though. The speed of Yooka and the confounding camera angles will cut into your love of the game. And that’s unfortunate. Without those issues, Yooka-Laylee could have been one of the year’s better offerings.

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