When Yooka-Laylee first appeared on Kickstarter, I leapt at the occasion to give this new project some of my hard-earned money in order for these Rare veterans and composers a chance to make a game I have been pining for since the 2000 release of Banjo-Tooie on the Nintendo 64.
One of the Kickstarter awards allowed me to access something Playtonic games has called “The Toybox” which was described “a self-contained, spoiler-free sandbox designed to give Yooka-Laylee backers a taste of the platforming mechanics set to appear in the final game”. Well, I paid for that and nearly one year later; I finally managed to sink my teeth into the Yooka-Laylee Toybox.
The first thing I noticed when I started up this specialised demo was just how much it oozed nostalgia towards past Rare projects, especially the Banjo-Kazooie series. Everything about the demo felt like the platformer titles of old. The title was adorable, the controls were precise and platforming sections didn’t feel sloppily done. Pinning any failure felt like it was the fault of the player rather than that of the game.
The Toybox isn’t exactly filled with content. It allows you to run around a world made of basic geometric shapes and collect a variety of items and take in the world that Playtonic are trying to introduce to us. This is a great way of trying out the base mechanics but without giving anything away from the final product, and that works perfectly fine for me.
Most of the content comes from exploring the gameplay mechanics of Yooka-Laylee as playable characters. The basics are similar to Banjo-Kazooie. Yooka can run, jump and attack whilst Laylee the bat sits on his back, her main purpose at this point is to pick up Yooka to help him glide across lengthy gaps.