With Yooka-Laylee, Playtonic’s team of Banjo and Kazooie originals faithfully recreates the first generation of N64-era 3D platformers. That is simultaneously a good thing and an awful thing. Like, I need to give it Schrödinger’s review score.
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It starts fairly strong, bringing back a flood of positive memories of my Super Mario 64 days, first dipping my toes into the new dimension. The game can’t hold onto that magic though. After the nostalgia wears off, a few levels in, you’re left with a game that is too true to its roots, frustrating, outdated design and all.
The key to a great nostalgic revival, in my opinion, is pinpointing exactly what made a game feel like it felt, but then building on top of that with some of the lessons developers have learned in the past couple of decades.
If you’ve played Mario 64, Banjo and Kazooie or the like recently, and enjoyed it… you will love Yooka-Laylee. But be careful buying it just for a trip down memory lane, because some things are better left forgotten.
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