The Yooka-Laylee Toybox Demo is a fun and familiar experience
Yooka-Laylee is nearing its April 2017 release date, and we’ve already heard quite a bit about it. An homage to the 3D platformers that were wildly popular back in the late 1990s – early 2000s, Yooka-Laylee is an upcoming open-world 3D platformer spearheaded by none other than the minds behind the Banjo-Kazooie series (the double-barrelled name probably gave that away, though). While the folks over at Playtonic games have been doing a pretty good job at feeding their nostalgia-hungry fans a steady stream of information about their upcoming game, we have yet to see any sort of playable demo – until now! Those who backed a certain amount during the Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter campaign were granted access to a special demo recently, and we here at Hey Poor Player happened to get a code for the demo ourselves. Known as the Yooka-Laylee Toybox Demo, this unique hands-on experience finally granted players the chance to test out the upcoming platformer for themselves. Let’s take a look at how things are so far, shall we?
For those who may be unfamiliar with the term as related to video games, a “toybox” is essentially a chance to test out a bunch of features all at once without having to actually progress through the game. While some games include toybox modes as part of the actual game (often as some sort of unlockable), it can also be used to feature gameplay mechanics before the actual release of a game – and that’s precisely what the Yooka-Laylee Toybox Demo did!
The goal of the Yooka-Laylee Toybox Demo was simple; to collect all 100 Feathers (the one of the game’s staple collectibles) scattered across the toybox, which would then cause a Pagie (yet another staple collectible, based on Banjo-Kazooie‘s “Jiggies”). The toybox itself was essentially one giant level divided into several different specialized segments. Each segment showcased different elements of the game – platforming, swimming, combat, etc. – which the player was required to master in order to collect every last Feather. It sounds pretty basic, I know, but that’s because it was. Like I said before, the Yooka-Laylee Toybox Demo is essentially a tech demo. It doesn’t come with a bunch of crazy trials to overcome, it’s there so players can get a grasp on how the full game will play when it comes out. And, if this demo is anything to go off of, there’s plenty to look forward to in Yooka-Laylee when it comes out.
I know that Yooka-Laylee is made by some of the people who worked on Banjo-Kazooie and, because of that, it’s essentially going to be Banjo-Kazooie but, like, this is really going to be like Banjo-Kazooie – and I mean that in the best possible way. Considering some of the less-than-stellar spiritual successors that we’ve had in the recent past, I was a little nervous when I first booted up the demo. It looked fun, and I wanted it to be fun, but there was always that chance that Yooka-Laylee would do a terrible job as a spiritual successor and ultimately leave me disappointed – but it didn’t! In fact, the demo passed with flying colors. Playing through the Yooka-Laylee Toybox Demo felt exactly like stepping back in time and playing a classic N64 platformer. It has all of the style, substance, and whimsical wackiness originally inherent within Banjo-Kazooie (even down to the characters making weird noises when they talk!). The only real difference between then and now was the additional polish that Yooka-Laylee presented itself with. While I love me some oldschool 3D platformers, I’ll admit that they certainly all came with their fair share of troubles. From goofy camera angles, to semi-frequent glitches, to levels that could have perhaps been designed a bit better, there was almost always something questionable to point out. None of that seems present within Yooka-Laylee thus far though. It’s like a much more technically-sound N64 game – and I love that so much.
Things are really looking good for Yooka-Laylee as of now, and I’m going to assume that things will just keep looking better. If the Yooka-Laylee Toybox Demo only contains a few of the toys that we’ll get to see within the full game, I’m more than ready to own the entire set.