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Mike Alonso Left a Major League Legacy at Upland

Video Game Review: Yooka-Laylee

June 7, 2017 | by Brian Gunn | Comments Comments Off
Yooka LayleeDawwww…

Yooka-Laylee is the much-hyped spiritual successor to games like Banjo-Kazooie. Kickstarted in 2015 by several ex-Rare employees under the new studio Playtonic Games, it’s here to reclaim the glory days and prove that the genre still has relevance.

CONTROLS (3.5/5)

The collect-a-thon platformer has often featured deceptively complex controls, with advanced mechanics requiring some tricky combinations of mechanics. Yooka-Laylee has largely maintained that balance of being very approachable to newcomers and younger players while also giving veterans of the genre some interesting tools to get to hard to reach places or speed up their game.

Some camera issues bring down the experience at times, particularly indoors or when it needs to be moved frequently, though those moments aren’t too prevalent.

GRAPHICS/SOUND (4/5)

Despite hearkening back to older times, Yooka-Laylee is a pretty fantastic looking game. In particular it shines at high resolutions on PC, but even most of the console versions should suffice, and being able to play in higher frame rates than those of the Nintendo 64 days is a nice change of pace for the genre. Still, some areas are a bit lifeless, especially in some of the later areas.

Grant Kirkhope scored this title, and he’s a real boon to the game’s soundtrack. It bounces among the various level themes, providing catchy tunes that fit a tropical or snowy area with ease.

Sound effects are solid and punchy, and their cartoonish flair offers a satisfying crunch to attacks. Each character doesn’t really speak as much as repeat a bunch of gibberish, which can get a little grating in some of the longer interactions between them.

GAMEPLAY (3.5/5)

Yooka-Laylee starts with the titular duo having their prized book stolen by the villains in a greedy attempt to horde the world’s books, for whatever reason. Look, the plot isn’t important, all players really need to know is the enemy is greedy and took your stuff, and naturally you will spend many hours collecting it back.

The various pages from the duo’s book have been scattered though a variety of levels you’ll access through the villainous corporation’s headquarters. Most of these worlds will offer an initial challenge of four or five pages to collect, and the game largely allows you to move at your own pace.

You’ll need a few to unlock the next world, but you’re also offered additional ways to spend the items you collect. Instead of opening the third level, for instance, you can opt to expand a current level, which will have new areas and challenges to explore.

In addition to this player-controlled pacing, there’s a currency and unlock shop. While it can be fun to choose how you power up your characters, players can easily also find themselves working to unlock missions that will then send you back out to go buy some upgrade you’ll need. This can be pretty deflating as you either work to grind the currency out or move on to some other goal in the meantime.

Gameplay itself varies in quality. The first level or two are the highlights of the game, with the latter stages often indulging in some of the more annoying traits of the games it is emulating. Most of the bosses are pretty well designed, though a few, such as one involving a vehicle, can get pretty annoying. Still, there’s a lot of charm to be found among the rough edges.

OVERALL (3.5/5)

Yooka-Laylee is a solid entry into the collect-a-thon platformer genre, though it is one that often struggles with balancing between appealing to nostalgia and appealing to modern sensibilities. It’s a noble first attempt, and hopefully Playtonic Games is around long enough to iron out the issues with a sequel.

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Video Game Review: Tokyo 42

June 5, 2017 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
Tokyo 42 tells its story, such as it is, through a series of primary and side missions. Successfully complete one and you’ll earn money and/or reputation points, which serve as a gatekeeper to progression by keeping areas and missions off limits until you acquire enough of a rep. This ensures that you’ll take on at least some of the secondary activities rather than blitz through the game.
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Video Game Review: The Walking Dead — A New Frontier, Episode 5

June 2, 2017 | by Mike Chen | Comments (0)
The Walking Dead’s latest season ended its previous episode on a bit of a cliffhanger — one that concluded a very uneven episode. With the finale, From the Gallows, arriving, the story of Javi and his family — both blood-related and extended — draws to a close with mixed results.
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Video Game Review: Little Nightmares

May 30, 2017 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
Even without traditional narrative beats the game proves compelling as it tosses various environmental puzzles at you, challenging you to overcome a mix of problem solving and evading capture from a series of grotesque creatures (humans?). While rather short, the game is fresh from beginning to end and some of the freakier moments are sure to linger with you after you’ve finished.
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Video Game Review: Kingdom Hearts HD I.5 + II.5 Remix

May 26, 2017 | by Matthew Striplen | Comments Comments Off
Love it or hate it, the Kingdom Hearts franchise is here to stay. The Disney/Square-Enix crossover has become wildly successful with thousands of dedicated fans, though the series only has two full installments. Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 ReMix is a compilation of compilations, comprising all the games from the PS3 1.5 and 2.5 games.
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