Yooka-Laylee isn't out on the Nintendo Switch yet, but it launches on other platforms very soon - so soon, in fact, that reviews have just gone live.
As one of Kickstarter's most successful video game campaigns there was a lot of expectation surrounding this title, the debut of Playtonic Games - a studio made up almost exclusively of former Rare staffers.
With a lineage like Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country behind them, the team certainly has a fine pedigree - however, judging from the reviews it would seem that they've been fighting against their legacy with this particular release.
Our sister site Push Square awarded the PS4 version 6 out of a possible 10, concluding that the game was:
...a 90s platformer to a tee. Unfortunately, rather than a rose-tinted look at the titles of yore, this game falls into all of the same pitfalls as its predecessors: it's rough around the edges, often annoying, and at times even a chore. And yet for all of its flaws it's still packing the most important ingredient of all: the compulsion to collect everything is strong here – and it'll remain even when you're grinding your teeth.
GameSpot gave Playtonic's title 6 out of 10 as well, and said:
Ultimately, Yooka-Laylee's best and worst aspects come directly from its predecessor. Despite attempts at modernizing the formula, its style of gameplay is still outdated, and it doesn't stay challenging or interesting for long as a result. But if you're looking for a faithful return to the Banjo-Kazooie formula, Yooka-Laylee certainly delivers--from the font to the music to the wealth of collectibles, it's worthy of the title of spiritual successor.
VideoGamer was even more harsh, giving the title 4 out of 10 and stating:
Yooka-Laylee would fit right into the late 90s with its vague puzzles, wakka-wakka voices, and confusing levels. Time has moved on since the N64, and while there are a handful of bright spots, this sadly isn't the catalyst for a 3D platformer revival.
Polygon dished out a 5.5 score for the game on Steam, lamenting the rather old-fashioned mechanics but praising the visuals:
Yooka-Laylee looks the part of an updated platformer, but some of its mechanics should have stayed back in the era it came from. There was a reason we haven't seen more games like Banjo Kazooie on modern platforms, and it wasn't just because Rare as we knew it was gone; its ideas were very specific to a gameplay era that we've evolved past. Fourth-wall breaking dialog, shiny characters and lush graphics can't save Yooka-Laylee from the dated framework that it's built on.
Jim Sterling - well known for not holding back when he doesn't particularly like a game - chimed in with the most negative review of the lot, giving it 2 out of 10 and branding it "rubbish":
Yooka-Laylee is a game out of time, clinging so desperately to past glories it doesn't seem to understand the Earth kept spinning after the N64 was discontinued. It's everything wrong about the formative years of 3D platforming and it somehow retained none of what made the genre's highlights endure.
Yooka-Laylee is, in a word, rubbish.
IGN was a little kinder, awarding Yooka-Laylee 7 out of 10 and praising its funny characters and fun levels, but citing a lack of polish as an issue:
Yooka-Laylee contains all the pieces needed for a fun, enjoyable throwback to the 3D collectathons of the 64-bit era. The characters are charming and funny, your set of abilities is vast and entertaining, and four out of five of the worlds are fun playgrounds to explore. While it lacks the heart and polish of some of its incredible predecessors, it's a good reminder that this genre, once thought to be dead, still has some life left in it.
Our pals over at Eurogamer took issue with the game's reliance on past glories, but ultimately felt it was worth a play:
Criticising the game for being faithful to inspiration may seem churlish - Playtonic has never pretended to be doing anything other than reviving a beloved formula, warts and all. But it's hard not to look at some of the quirkier games the studio's founders were responsible for at Rare, including 2008's underrated Banjo & Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, and not feel like punches have been pulled. Still, as a whole Yooka-Laylee is more self-deprecating than it needs to be. This is a sumptuous, diverting homage to a bygone era in game design that should keep fans of the old school hooked, even if it doesn't set the world on fire.
The Guardian also had plenty of nice things to say, giving the title four out of five stars and finishing up with this positive conclusion:
Pleasingly, the game continues to add ideas and new, often-bonkers, tools over its course: lick a cannonball and you'll be able to temporarily absorb its power, allowing Yooka to walk steadfastly when faced with a brisk headwind. What the game loses by not having had a Rare/Nintendo-sized QA department to smooth its rough edges it compensates for with a princely pile of ideas, and a lovely control scheme that only improves with elaboration. Younger players may be less willing to forgive its anachronisms but for its target audience, those ageing mourners of a lost fashion in games, it's a promise that's proven worthy of backing.
So there you have it; after all the hype, crowdfunding success and months of development, Yooka-Laylee appears to have landed with a thud rather than splash, but there are some upbeat reviews out there which suggest that if you're a fan of Rare's old output, this title should hit the spot.
Will you still be getting it on Switch, when it eventually arrives? Or has this mixed critical reaction changed your view?