Just over a year after the Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter ended, backers have received their first piece of playable content. The Toybox is a completely new area, separate from the main game to show off some of the mechanics, so there’s no need to worry about spoilers.
The main thing I took away from this Toybox was how fantastic Yooka-Laylee looks in action. The areas in the Toybox are made up of colored polygons, but even in this basic state the game’s a visual treat. The characters bounce and stretch animatedly with each movement. Yooka and Laylee look great running, rolling and jumping around the world, and the platforming feels really tight and responsive. The game feels like a fair challenge, and not like I’m wrestling with the controls.
I put about an hour into the Toybox to find all 100 Quills and collect the Pagie – this game’s Musical Notes and Jiggies, for Banjo fans. There are plenty of areas to explore in this hour, with a few secrets to find along the way.
My favorite mechanic is probably the roll. I rushed through a second playthrough in a fraction of the time, using the momentum from the rolling jump to blaze over platforms I was initially careful with. I’m looking forward to seeing speedrunners pick up Yooka-Laylee, with speedrunning videos already cropping up on YouTube.
There are a couple of criticisms I have with the game, though they’re mostly minor things. The camera got stuck on some platforms a few times, making certain sections more frustrating than they should have been. There’s plenty of time to fix this (and it did only happen once or twice), so here’s hoping these issues get ironed out. The swimming controls also felt too slow. I’m hoping the main game includes some kind of unlockable upgrade for faster swimming. Right now it just doesn’t feel fast enough, at least compared to the rest of the game.
Otherwise though, I’m loving Yooka-Laylee, and I’m hoping it’s successful enough to inspire a resurgence of 3D platformers.