A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Yooka-Laylee is a 3D platformer. It's full of quirky puns and subtle juvenile innuendo. Yooka and Laylee show a lot of teamwork, cooperation, and friendship throughout the game. Violence in the game is minimal, with no blood or gore, and thanks to the cartoon style of the game nothing seems violent or scary. Due to some camera issues, puzzles, and an overwhelming amount of moves to remember, the game is still easy to pick up and play but will require an extra level of patience and skill to keep users from getting frustrated.
What's it about?
YOOKA-LAYLEE, from some of the folks behind games like Banjo Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country, brings the same feel of those games with colorful worlds, fun puzzles, and mini arcade games. Players take on the role of two characters (Yooka the lizard and Laylee the bat) who use a wide variety of combo moves on their epic adventure to thwart the corporate creep Capital B, who's stolen magical books. His main target is the One Book, a book of great value with the power to rewrite the universe. Fortunately, the living pages (or "Pagie," as they're called in the game) of the One Book fled, sensing danger from Capital B, scattering across worlds filled with puzzles, enemies, and bosses to defeat, along with plenty of jokes about the '90s 64-bit gaming genre. It's up to the player to collect these pages, stop Capital B, and save the universe.
Is it any good?
This retro arcade-style adventure provides lots of nostalgic gaming thrills, with only some camera issues holding it back from being perfect. Yooka-Laylee immediately brings to mind those nostalgic days spending all weekend with friends and family, huddled over the Nintendo 64 with games just like this. What's nice is that there's plenty of puzzle challenges and an overwhelming number of collectibles (200 quills for each of the five worlds? Challenge accepted -- see you in a month!). The graphics are amazing, and even the music is catchy and reminiscent of '90s games.
One major complaint is that the controls and camera angles in the game take away from the fun at times, making seemingly simple challenges insanely frustrating. Fortunately, most of the puzzles are fun, and even the harder ones are enough fun that you won't mind spending 20 minutes trying to solve them. Thankfully, these days, a quick internet search can provide help from someone who's already figured out the puzzles if things feel too overwhelming. But there's a difference between figuring out solutions and being frustrated because you just can't get those camera angles right. Overall, while Yooka-Laylee can be breezed through in about 30 hours if you don't care about completing every single thing the game has to offer, old-school players who like to collect everything will find this a full and fun experience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about compassion. Yooka and Laylee help others a lot in this game, so how can you show compassion in your own local community?
Talk about the importance of looking at situations from different angles. Can you think of a situation where a problem had more than one possible solution?
- Platforms: Linux, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Team 17
- Release date: April 11, 2017
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Dinosaurs, Adventures, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Ocean Creatures
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Cartoon Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.