Playing In Yooka-Laylee’s Toybox

I think all gamers have a soft spot for the first games we ever played. Those first moments when we wrapped our  hands around a controller, and gasped in amazement as the characters on the screen moved when we pressed buttons. Video Games will always give us something other forms of media never can, the ability to almost physically interact with other worlds, and to feel like we’re living out the stories of the characters we control. Once that final boss has been crushed, we walk away feeling like the brave hero who just saved their world.

banjoOne game I will always hold close to my heart is Banjo-Kazooie. It’s the most memorable game from my childhood. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that wondrous feeling I got when I first made the bear in yellow shorts punch an aggressively bouncing carrot, with the cute googly eyes. I was amused by the silly sounds the characters made as their witty dialog emerged on the bottom of the screen. I was captivated by beautiful environments I was given to explore, and I enjoyed helping the colourful cast of misfit NPCs I ran into during the journey. I couldn’t wait to get to the evil witch at the top of her lair, and help the bear and sarcastic bird save Banjo’s beloved little sister from her horrible fate.

When I heard Playtonic, the company composed of the brilliant people responsible for Banjo-Kazooie, had put up a Kickstarter for a new project based on my childhood obsession, I was ecstatic. Suddenly, I fully understood the phrase “Shut up and take my money!”, and promptly funded my first ever Kickstarter project. I kicked in enough money to get some cool swag, and to be granted access to the pre-alpha demo, called the “Toybox”. My name will also be in the credits in the final product. I know my name will just be flashing by with a blur of others, but it’s something that this gamer can happily check off her bucket list.

Playtonic released the Toybox demo this week, and I was finally able to download and play it today. As soon as I took my first steps in the demo, I was hit with a pleasant tidal wave of nostalgia. I was greeted by a sarcastic security drone, who made silly sounds as his dialogue flowed by. A whimsical xylophone melody echoed through the area while I started exploring the bright landscape. As I played, I couldn’t stop a wide wondrous grin from emerging on my mouth, and that’s something that rarely happens to the cranky adult I have become. Here are some highlights of my time playing with Yooka-Laylee, in their glorious little toybox.

I could almost see a pair of yellow shorts and a blue backpack on this cute lizard guy. I also don’t trust that security drone… He mentioned he exterminated all the other NPCs so I could roam freely.
I noticed very familiar platforming mechanics, though they did seem a bit clunky with a keyboard. Playtonic recommends the use of a gamepad for the demo, which I don’t have. This poor little bat must know exactly how Kazooie feels…
The feisty little bat likes to keep moving, otherwise she’ll start chewing on the unfortunate lizard’s head.
I was promised a “moderately exciting” reward for collecting 100 of these feather things. I also collected a “ghost writer” who was floating around. The phantom warned me I’d be seeming more of them in the main game.
These menacing little guys were easy to take down with the trusty spinning attack move. Their AI was clearly in its infant stages, but this is just a pre-alpha demo after all.

Obviously, my nostalgia is heavily influencing my opinion of this game. I was immensely entertained by the demo, and there was actually a lot to explore in the relatively small area. I did find the controls difficult to get use to, but that’s my fault for not owning a PC gamepad. I’m highly impressed with what Playtonic has shown me, and the countdown to Q1 2017 is on!

14 thoughts on “Playing In Yooka-Laylee’s Toybox

  1. Thanks for sharing this! I don’t have the Yooka-Laylee toybox, so I love hearing impressions on it. So far, it does look to be capturing the magic that old Rare games used to back in the day. If you still enjoyed it using a keyboard and not a gamepad, I’d have to imagine the real thing is even better! I’m also so glad that it made you grin. We need games like this. I’m looking forward to Yooka-Laylee!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed reading my ramblings about the demo. 🙂 I might breakdown and buy a gamepad so I can fully enjoy the game. Those good old Rare games are responsible for turning me into a gamer, and I’ll always remember them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A gamepad’s definitely a good investment for PC games, haha. Rare made some of my favorite games for N64. Shame to see where it is now, but I’m glad Playtonic Games is taking the torch with Yooka-Laylee!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t have access to the demo (thanks for the impressions), but can’t wait to play Yooka Laylee early next year, I love this kind of games but unfortunately, we don’t have many new releases like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahhh! I’m super jealous! Yooka-Laylee looks like it’s bringing back the charm we all loved about the classic platformers on N64. I can’t wait to get my hands on this. Thanks for sharing- great post!

    I’m actually the Community Content Manager for, and I would be thrilled if you considered cross posting your stuff to our platform. If you don’t know much about us- we’re the sister site to, and push to give awesome writers (like yourself) the exposure they deserve. Feel free to email me!

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    1. This is the first time I’ve played a game in its infant “pre-alpha demo” stage. I’m really glad I funded the Kickstarter to get the opportunity to do so.

      Thank you so much for taking an interest in my ramblings! Writing is just something I enjoy doing in my spare time, whenever I feel like it, but I’ll take a look at that site for sure. 🙂

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  4. I loved Banjo Kazooie even though I used to get terrible migraines playing it. It was the very first time (and very first game) I ever had motion sickness from the camera angles! I persevered and continued playing, not enough to beat it, but certainly enough to garner great enjoyment.

    Yooka-Laylee looks utterly adorable! How wonderful you were able to play it AND get your name in the credits. Worth the money indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear you weren’t fully able to fully enjoy Banjo Kazooie. I remember that camera had some pretty crazy action angles.

      I completely agree with their cuteness! I’m glad I heard about the Kickstarter campaign and was able to contribute.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I only got to play Banjo Kazooie via the 360 version but even now it still gets a look in from time to time from my son who is fascinated by it… Like you’ve said they don’t really make games like it any momore. Thanks for sharing a little of what will be in store for everyone with Yooka Laylee! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for sharing your impressions. Sounds like fun. I am really excited for this game. I grew up playing these sorts of cartoony platformers almost exclusively. They have become sort of rare now, so each one’s arrival is even more exciting.

    Liked by 1 person

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