In 2015, a group of former Rare developers took to Kickstarter with a pitch for a spiritual successor to the classic Nintendo 64 platformer Banjo-Kazooie, and ended up raising over 2 million pounds (around $2.6 million). Now, backers are getting their first opportunity to try out the game for themselves.
Developer Playtonic Games has now released the Toybox to backers who donated 20 pounds or more to the crowdfunding campaign. Rather than a traditional demo, the Toybox offers up an environment where players can test out the varied platforming mechanics of the game, without spoiling anything ahead of its full release. However, the preview is only available on PC, Mac, and Linux, whereas the finished product will also be released on consoles.
Since the game’s two protagonists were first revealed, it’s been clear that Yooka-Laylee does a good job of mimicking the visual style of its precursor, Banjo-Kazooie. However, now it’s time for players to see whether the gameplay is as faithful.
The combined powers of the ursine Banjo and avian Kazooie made for all manner of different platforming abilities. It seems that the bat-and-chameleon pairing that stars in Yooka-Laylee will be similarly poised to run, jump, climb, and fly through the challenges offered up by the new game.
The Toybox also demonstrates that the team working on the game hasn’t lost its sense of humor. Between the character who guides players through the tutorial — a thinly veiled caricature of the Xbox Kinect peripheral, named Inept — and the brief snippets of dialog that are included, the comic element of Banjo-Kazooie seems to be intact.
This preview won’t have to appease players for much longer, as the full version of the game is nearing release. Playtonic Games expects to ship the finished Yooka-Laylee in early 2017, when it will launch across the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PC, Mac, and Linux.