Yooka-Laylee is an action-adventure 3D platforming video game developed by Playtonic Games and published by Team17 studios for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Linux, MacOS and Nintendo Switch platforms, and was initially released for these platforms in April 2017 worldwide. The Nintendo Switch version of the game will be released sometime in 2017. Yooka-Layla is developed using the Unity engine and is the spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie.
In Yooka-Layla, players take control two of the titular protagonists, Yooka and Layla. Yooka is a male chameleon (described as being “sensible”) while Layla is a female bat (described as being “a bit crazy”). Players must use both of these characters’ special abilities native to both (for example, camouflaging and flying respectively) in order to tackle obstacles, like puzzles and enemies. An exceptional amount of emphasis has also been put on world exploration, through which players can find and unlock collectible items. A whole lot of upgradeable abilities have also been added, which can be bought by collecting “quills”, a form of in-game currency. Some of these abilities include Layla’s “sonar rays”, which shows invisible objects, and berries, which provide both characters with temporary abilities like breathing fire.
Yooka-Layla has a single-player campaign in which Yooka and Layla set out to discover the world outside of their safe home in Shipwreck Creek. They venture out into the baneful halls of an evil business company called Hivory Towers. To explore each section of the building, Yooka and Layla need to collect Pagies, which will grant them access to the Grand Tomes, where they must stop Capital B and Dr. Quack from turning all of the world’s literature into profit.
Yooka-Layla places its pride and focus on developing a generally fun gameplay style, and for this reason, the game contains several new design elements that add spice to the gameplay aside from the single-player campaign. Atoms called Mollycools can be delivered to an octopus-y scientist called Dr. Puzz who will develop physical transformations for Yooka and Layla, granting them exclusive abilities. Play Tonics are bought from a living vending machine called Vendi and can be used to enhance character stats. Then there are Ghost Writers spread throughout different sections of the platform, which provide the players with even more activities, generally by making them solve a puzzle or directly fight them. And there are arcade games hidden throughout levels (one game per level) that are hosted by a lowly-rendered T-Rex called Rextro Sixtyfourus, and is a direct homage to the Nintendo 64, along with the retro games and graphic designs of that era. An optional “N64 shader” mode is also available, and this feature turns the graphics of the game into retro-styled counterparts, much like the original games available in N64 itself. Players can be sure to find tons of content strewn everywhere across the world, and finding them while leveling up your own characters with body transformations and quirky abilities provides them with a feeling of satisfaction and bang-for-the-buck like never before.
A Wii U version of the game was in development but was canceled in favor of the Nintendo Switch platform.