The original appeal of Yooka-Laylee can be summed up in one word, nostalgia. Specifically, nostalgia for the Nintendo 64 and the Rare collect-a-thons that populated it. The indie title didn’t fare so well after release despite the initial hype. The latest update coming to the game will add a new tonic item that lets you play a 64-Bit version of Yooka-Laylee.

A Kickstarter reward for Yooka-Laylee was a fake Nintendo 64 cartridge, so 64-era nostalgia has always been a driving force for the game. It’s only a visual Easter egg, but it’s a big deal for fans of retro-Rare. Some of those who were left cold by Yooka-Laylee might have hoped 64-Bit graphics would be the final puzzle piece for the nostalgia-fest. However, if the trailer that’s been released is anything to go on, it’s not enough.

Yooka-Laylee 64-Bit

The tonic does a lot to change the look of the game. However, it doesn’t make it look like a Nintendo 64 game. It resembles a poorly made PS2 game. You might as well be watching a videotape of a Nintendo 64 game being played. A videotape that’s been cloned so many times that the picture has become fogged and blurry. It would have been a lot of work to remake the entire game as 64-bit. No one expected that. However, this looks like some messy filters have been laid over the game. With random bits downgraded and glossed over. That doesn’t add up to a 64-bit game.

Yooka-Laylee Takes A Hammer The 64-Bit Style

The textures have been seriously downgraded. They look a lot worse. They’re watered down and washed out facsimiles of a 64-Bit style. Making Yooka-Laylee look crappier isn’t the same as changing it to match an earlier graphical style. There’s a big difference been downgrading your game and making it 64-bit. This feels more like playing Ocarina of Time on a broken tv without your glasses on. Then calling it an NES game.

Yooka-Laylee 64-Bit

The top image is Banjo-Kazooie.
The bottom is whatever fever dream Playtonic spent the late 90s in.

The worst thing about this 64-bit tonic is the blur that seems to be everywhere. To smooth everything down to a low enough quality, it looks like your screen has a fog machine running around it. By the looks of it, it’s going to be hard to actually navigate this downgraded world. Things seem to be clipping all over the place in the trailer. I don’t remember Nintendo 64 games being unplayable and confusing because of their 64-bit graphics. They weren’t blurry unplayable messes. They were polished games with a unique art style, not modern graphics with a load of blur applied.

It’s a lazy way to finish the game. A title that brought with it so much nostalgic promise ended up feeling quite hollow. This tonic kind of reflects that. It promises to let you relive your Banjo-Kazooie memories, but when you actually sit down to play you remember all the bad things about that game. Then you realize it’s just an approximation of that nostalgia. Maybe it’s the 64-bit tonic that Yooka-Laylee deserves. An attempt at retro charm that misses the mark.

About the Author

Jordan Ashley

Jordan Ashley lives in the middle of the UK with two dogs who routinely beat him on Mario Kart. He's a big fan of playing Wind Waker over and over again while ignoring all other tasks. He also likes Craft Beer and screaming at Splatoon.

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