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Hands-On: Yooka-Laylee at PAX East 2017

We were able to get some hands-on time with Yooka-Laylee on the show floor at PAX East 2017. Team 17 had a demo of the Glitterglaze Glacier level, which is one of the five worlds that will be featured in the final game. The level showcased the different types of combat techniques that will be needed to dispatch enemies, a variety of traversal and movement mechanics, as well Yooka’s ability to absorb elemental powers from the environment. For instance, eating a fire plant will allow Yooka the ability to blow fire at enemies which made defeating the evil snowmen much easier.

Playtonic Games is wearing their Banjo-Kazooie lineage on their sleeve with Yooka-Layee, and fans will be happy to know that it looks and feels the part. The colorful, vibrant worlds, wacky humor and characters, quirky sound effects, and bouncy soundtrack all make for an experience fans of the genre are sure to enjoy. In fact, the team was able to get the original Banjo-Kazooie composer, Grant Kirkhope, to work on the soundtrack along with legendary composers David Wise and Steve Burke. While all this is good news for returning fans, there are a number of things that have been added to give the game a more modern appeal.

“The team was able to get the original Banjo-Kazooie composer, Grant Kirkhope, to work on the soundtrack along with legendary composers David Wise and Steve Burke.”

Yooka and Laylee will be able to upgrade their abilities throughout their journey. You’ll be able to buy perks that will allow you to access previously inaccessible areas and new ways to defeat enemies. There’ll also be permanent abilities that you can choose to unlock as you progress. For instance, maybe you want an ability to access a secret passage you couldn’t get to before, it will be your choice whether you invest in the ability or not.

Yooka-Laylee is certainly shaping up to be the game fans of Banjo-Kazooie have been waiting for, but it should also prove to be a great experience for those unfamiliar with the lineage. With slick production values, tight controls, and a real sense of adventure and exploration, Yooka-Laylee is definitely a game to keep your eye on. You won’t have to wait long, either, as it’s scheduled to be released on April 11th for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 with a Nintendo Switch version also planned.

Check out our interview with Bethany Aston of Team 17 below and to see Yooka-Laylee in action.

I remember playing Super Mario Bros. and Metroid on the NES with my older brother, and never being able to land on the aircraft carrier in Top Gun. I faked being sick so I could stay home from school and play Quake II once, but now I request days off from work instead of lying. Age of Empires II is still the best RTS, Half-Life is still the best FPS, and I still think the end of Mass Effect 3 was great!

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