Xbox One Preview: Yooka-Laylee

How is Banjo’s spiritual successor looking?

I cannot wait till April to play Yooka-Laylee. Banjo-Kazooie was my one of my favourite N64 games, I’ve completed it more times than I can count to and I have every Jiggy, Musical Note, Cheeto Page, Honeycomb Pieces, Ice Key and Secret Eggs drilled into my memory. After the change of pace to Nuts and Bolts, I thought the days of Banjo’s type of platformer were dead and buried…until now.

If you pre-order Yooka-Laylee, you’ll get access to the Toybox demo. The demo itself is an open area that basically shows off the game’s mechanics, as well as showing off the visuals, sound effects and particles and texture effects. There’s also 100 quill feathers up for grabs, plus 1 hard to catch character that runs around circles around you as you try and catch him.

If you are good enough to collect all 100 feathers, the demo will show you a hidden area that you can now access. It took me a good while to find it, since all I got was a close-up view of the area for a few seconds…but doing so provided me with a switch, pointing an arrow to the opposite side and the end result is a specific clue to be used in the main game.

Playing Yooka-Laylee’s Toybox demo filled me with nostalgia from the Banjo era. The characters handle just like them, while dialogue is done in pretty much the same way…with the classic sense of humour you’d only get from either the series or it’s spiritual successor. Even the music sounds classic Banjo, no doubt thanks to the talents of Banjo-Kazooie musical veteran Grant Kirkhope who is working with Playtonic Studios, which itself is full of original staff members from Rare who have worked on classics like Banjo, Conker, Diddy Kong Racing and Donkey Kong Country.

With such an impressive roster of talent behind it, Team 17 publishing it and the great response from the community, it’s hard to see how Yooka-Laylee can do wrong. The demo is superb and makes the wait for April unbearable (if you’ll pardon the Banjo pun) but it’s great to know that it already ticks the boxes for what makes a Banjo-esque platformer. If you haven’t preordered yet, what is wrong with you? Get on it, then you can play the demo too!