Yooka-Kazooie, Banjo-Laylee

In 1998, Banjo-Kazooie began with a wicked witch, a kidnapping and a blind mole; in 2017 Yooka-Laylee starts with a wicked multinational that wants to take control of the world by taking possession of all the books, including one with incredible powers that will force us to pass the game to recover the one hundred and twenty pages that make it scattered throughout the levels.

Several guest stars appear in Yooka-Laylee

Twenty years ago the videogame world was still naive and a sister to be saved was more than a pretext to leave for the adventure. Today it is more cynical and old, like us, and can only refer to its economic mechanisms to motivate the player. For the rest, the game is more or less the same, even if


the bear Banjo and the bird Kazooie are gone, replaced by the chameleon Yooka and the female bat Laylee.In 1998 3D platformers were dominant, inevitable evolution of the more commercial kind for 8 and 16 bit platforms on which economic and technological efforts were concentrated; while today it is a kind for nostalgics that needs the popular push, incidentally a fundraiser on

Kickstarter, in order to exist. Irony has never lacked in history. In short, while Rare is no longer Rare for years, some of the developers who composed it at the height of his glory, have returned to the origins, giving himself the name of Playtonic and trying to redo what he could damn well.


So here we are again playing in a colorful world full of grotesque characters and cute, scattered for wide and full of things to do.

We reviewed Yooka-Laylee: the return in style of 3D platformers? Or a game out of time?


The adventure of Yooka and Laylee starts in a soft way. The first hour of play is used to become familiar with the gameplay: between tutorials and demonstration levels the various functions are explained to us on screen by the other characters.


Nothing too complicated, in truth. Initially there are not many moves available: Yooka and Laylee can jump and turn around to hit the enemies; they swim, they eat butterflies to recharge their energy and little else.

Yooka-Kazooie, Banjo-Laylee
The levels are real labyrinths

Speaking with a nice snake you get new moves, such as the roll that allows you to climb the otherwise unapproachable slopes, the stun waves, the glide, the most effective fighting techniques and so on. Although some are apparently optional, it is best to buy them all; only in this way can we fully explore the vast levels of the game, levels we will talk about in a while.


The control system is incredibly reminiscent of the time. In fact if you have played Banjoo-Kazooie, but also partly Conker: Bad Fur Day, you immediately find yourself at homeand one understands why there has been talk of “spiritual follow-up”


throughout the development. Paradoxically Yooka-Laylee has more points of contact with the first Banjoo than with Nuts & Bolts, the Banjoo-Kazooie of 2008, a clear sign that the road taken by Rare in recent years was not what many would have really wanted to follow. The feeling is that of jumps, slips, long swimming sections, objects to find, monsters more and more insidious, secrets everywhere and an incredible flexibility that binds exceptionally with the variety of situations offered.

Yooka-Kazooie, Banjo-Laylee
There are also coin-ops … playable. They work like minigames

This eye to the past also means that there is much less attention, compared to the more lacquered productions, for the idiosyncrasies of the players.


Let’s say that at the beginning we were also displaced by the need to have to re-learn to jump. In recent years we have been accustomed to lock on platforms to keep us from falling down; on a structured level so as not to make us repeat too much of what has already been done and to increasingly accessible challenges,


made such with a thousand design tricks. Yes, what we call “good design” is often just a form of prevention of the inability of the player.


From this point of view Yooka-Laylee is disinterested in modernity.Playtonic knows that his potential audience is not made up of kids looking for a pastime, but mature gamers who want to get back stimuli that they can not find any more ,


so away at the festival of bastard jumps that make us crash into space case of error, based on timing and ability to assess distances; away also the difficult clashes with the bosses, who make sweat the proverbial seven shirts: already the first one seemed to us enormously more difficult to beat than many final bosses of more “modern” titles.