I woke up this morning to an email that I had been waiting a long time for. The Yooka-Laylee Toybox demo had been released! Banjo-Kazooie is one of my absolute favorite games, so I’ve been more than a little eager to see what its spiritual successor has to offer. Well, I’m happy to report that although the demo is pretty simple, it feels like a new Banjo-Kazooie.I suppose I should point out that I did back Yooka-Laylee on Kickstarter. That should be pretty obvious since I received the demo, which is exclusive to people who paid at least $32 on Kickstarter. But, if you’re concerned that that may affect my opinion on the game in any way, there’s your full disclosure.
The Toybox is a very straightforward demo that gives you a general idea of what the full game will be like. There’s no real story to it, just little robot NPCs that give you tips on what you can do. There are 100 Quills to pick up throughout the level, and collecting all of them will earn you a Pagie. My guess is that in the full game, Quills will act like Banjo-Kazooie’s notes and the Pagies will function like Jiggies. There’s also this annoying little ghost that you can catch. He tells you that normally there’s five of them, but in the Toybox there’s only one. My guess is that these will function like the Jinjos.
Controlling the game feels great and is very reminiscent of Banjo-Kazooie. A lot of the moves have direct comparisons to the moves in Banjo. Jumping and then hitting and holding down the A button will cause Laylee the bat to flap her wings to get some extra distance, just like Kazooie. The Talon Trot has been replaced by the Reptile Roll, a move where Yooka rolls up in a ball and Laylee rolls him with her feet. It serves the same function as the Talon Trot but is considerably harder to control.
The demo has a very nice look to it, but isn’t representative of what the final game will look like. The robots say that this is all a simulation, and thus everything is made of boxes and grids. While there’s not a whole lot there, it’s fun to explore the environment and try to find all the Quills. There are no enemies in the game, so the only challenge comes from getting to different parts of the level. There’s only one part that I found really difficult. There’s a tower you need to climb, but the path up it requires a lot of the Reptile Roll. It’s really easy to over jump and fall back to the bottom.
And that’s kind of all I have to say. There’s not a lot going on here, so if you didn’t back the Kickstarter, don’t feel like you’re missing anything too important. But if you can check it out, it’s worth it just to see how the game is progressing. 2017 can’t come soon enough