Friday, May 1, 2015

Early Impressions: Yooka-Laylee

Written: May 1st, 2015
Hello everyone, StarBoy91 here; passionate about video games, big retrophile, and fan of all things 16-bit.  =)  So, as many gaming enthusiasts may know (and chances are you might already know too), there is a 3D platformer currently in development that's getting a lot of coverage and has a lot of people excited for more reasons than one.  A few months back it was called Project Ukelele, but recently it has been rechristened Yooka-Laylee; which reportedly is going to be like a spiritual follow-up to the cult 1998 Nintendo 64 classic Banjo-Kazooie by Rare.  It's a rather fitting description, really, as it's being worked on by ex-Rare employees forming up the first-time dev team Playtonic Games.
 
And since Yooka-Laylee's announcement days ago, there has been a huge amount of praise from gamers left and right (particularly those who have a fondness for the Nintendo 64) and it's found itself quite a following.  I mean, it's incredible!  The screenshots that were revealed online wowed, the design of the titular duo were well-received, it has reached its targeted Kickstarter fund in less than an hour's time, and there has been a barrage of fan art of Yooka and Laylee within hours of the game's first official announcement.  This has gotten a lot of people excited, and there's so much positive hype it's amazing.
 
With that said, what are my thoughts about this?  Me, I'm really looking forward to this throwback to the 3D platforming genre, and I'm looking forward to playing it.  =)  And it's not just because I, like many, have a fondness for Banjo-Kazooie, though that greatly helps--never played its sequel and spin-offs, but I'm drifting off now.  Part of my excitement comes from its initial presentation, and from what I saw in the screenshots and videos it looks really good; I like the warm color schemes and the effective usage of shading and lighting.  The environments themselves look pretty too.
 
I also like that there's a duo dynamic gameplay like Banjo-Kazooie, and I like the designs of the main characters.  I like the anthropomorphic chameleon design of Yooka, who looks like a mixture of Croc and any of the four protagonists from Chameleon Twist, and he looks adorably charming.  Same goes for his bat friend Laylee, who's got a lighthearted mischievousness yet playful personality about him (at least that's what it seems like to me).  And that's the key word about these characters and game environment we saw so far: "charm", which has won many over.
 
When I first heard of and read more about this game, my one initial qualm was that it would have occasional audio dialogue here and there with characters talking and commentating on things; like a lot of 3D platformers in the past decade--The Simpsons Game, Pac-Man World 3, The Legend of Spyro series, and the more recent Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric.  Audio dialogue would've been the one thing I would not have accepted if it was applied to Playtonic Games' platformer; thankfully that's not going to be the case here (as was evidenced in a behind the scenes video).  And since Yooka-Laylee serves a spiritual follow-up to Banjo-Kazooie, you know exactly what the dialogue sequences will be like.  =)  I also welcome any platformer that's a throwback to the golden age of video gaming; I enjoyed WayForward's DuckTales Remastered, I loved Yacht Club Games' Shovel Knight, and I'm one of the few gamers that actually liked DreamRift's Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion.  And hopefully, I'll find myself enjoying this love letter to Nintendo 64 gamers.
 
And I think that everyone's been itching to play another genuine 3D platformer for some time.  Yes, there have been occasional 3D outings for Mario and Sonic (among others), but in a gaming generation that largely focuses on strategy games and first-person shooters, I will gladly give this game a try when it comes out on the Nintendo Wii U eShop, and I pray to God that Yooka-Laylee delivers and is going to be fun in the long run, for Playtonic Games has got a lot to live up to given the massive amounts of hype it's been receiving.  I'm more of a 16-bit fan myself, and even I can't wait to play this game.  =)
 
That's all I have to say about it for now, thank you for reading my thoughts on this early impressions post, please leave a comment and let me know whether you agree or disagree with my personal thoughts.  For the next few days (before I begin my April Mini-Reviews and start getting more video game reviews done) I will be sharing my belated thoughts on theatrical movies Unfriended and Furious 7, and eventually Avengers: Age of Ultron (after I watch it).  And let me tell you: those two were a more enriching and satisfying experience than it was to watch The Divergent Series: Insurgent combined.  Stay tuned.
 
<(^o^ )^TO EACH THEIR OWN^( ^o^)>

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