Earlier this week, Playtonic games released a new trailer for their upcoming 3D platformer Yooka-Laylee. The team of ex-Rare staffers have been hard at work crafting a revival of collection-based platform games of the past, and this new trailer is jam-packed with reveals making good on that promise. With so much going on, we offer you this Yooka-Laylee Gamescom trailer analysis to help unpack everything shown within.

Yooka-Laylee Gamescom Trailer: Moves, Movement, and Snow Plows

We begin our Yooka-Laylee Gamescom trailer analysis by looking at the new gameplay elements presented.

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As one would expect, this new trailer opens with various clips focusing on the game’s two protagonists, Yooka the chameleon and Laylee the bat. Their expressive faces beam with excitement, as they smile onward to the quest ahead. Our two heroes leap from the top of a large statue, and provide us with a look at the game’s jumping mechanics, a crucial gameplay element for platformers.

Tongue ShotThe trailer then quickly reveals a few movement techniques and combat moves that Yooka and Laylee will use throughout their adventure. When confronted with a particularly high platform — one too high for a standard jump — Yooka quickly extends his long, reptilian tongue to the ledge of the platform. The tongue attaches to a small, face-shaped hole fixated on the ledge, allowing Yooka to pull himself and his companion to the platform above. This movement technique looks as if it will be very useful throughout the game, so we expect to see these face-shaped holes scattered around the various game worlds.

Obviously, before this tongue technique is learned, players will be taunted by these face-holes looking down on them from above, as our heroes are left staring upward at platforms they can’t reach yet. But once the move comes into their repertoire, the game will open up even more with higher platforms. There will always be that promise of upward mobility. Also, it should be noted that the face-shaped hole resembles some kind of tribal statue, so this tongue ability may be taught to the player in the game’s first level, Tribalstack Tropics (more on that later). If that’s the case, we won’t have to wait long to use Yooka’s tongue like a Zelda hookshot.

A bit later in the trailer, we’re treated to a few clips of Yooka and Laylee’s roll ability, which lets the lizard roll around like a ball with the bat running atop him. Based on what we’ve seen from the trailer and the Toybox, this roll ability will help our heroes scale steep slopes, much like the Talon Trot ability from the game’s predecessor Banjo-Kazooie. This new roll technique does look more difficult to control than Kazooie’s trademark waddle — as the characters are constantly moving forward — perhaps as an effort to limit players’ over-reliance on such a move while exploring the environment. I know I was tempted overuse the Talon Trot when I played BK years ago.

RollThe trailer does show some creative challenges that incorporate Yooka’s roll ability, such as an area that asks players to zigzag through jets of fire while rolling up a slope. Given the potential difficulty in controlling the characters while rolling, this sort of challenge will really test players’ mastery of this new technique. And it’s a good thing this sequence appears to take place in the game’s first world, because mastering the move will probably help them all throughout the game.

The Yooka-Laylee Gamescom trailer also offers some early glimpses at Yooka-Laylee‘s underwater stages. I must admit that I grew a bit anxious seeing these areas, as underwater navigation in 3D platformers has never been particularly intuitive. Luckily, the trailer quickly demonstrates another new move that allows our heroes to walk around underwater without the need for air. The ability is presented with Playtonic’s lowbrow brand of humor as well.

If players wish to navigate an underwater floor, they can use a certain move that lets out a gassy bubble air, complete with a fart sound effect. From there, Yooka and Laylee can walk the ground as normal (albeit with possibly a bit more slippery physics), able to perform ground-pounds and other ground-based movements. This fart bubble move also does away with the need for air bubbles, which are normally needed when navigating underwater. However, it does also deplete Yooka and Laylee’s Energy Meter, which can only be restored with Butterfly Energy collected elsewhere. We’re not sure how long the fart bubble will last; perhaps it remains around our heroes until they decide to rise back up toward the surface.

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As for combat, the Yooka-Laylee Gamescom trailer does show two brief clips of Yooka attacking an enemy with a tail spin. The attack does seem effective against the small minion enemies, but as the first clip shows, more than one tail spin may be needed to take some enemies down. The tail spin is surely not the strongest attack in the game; more powerful ones may be needed to take down bigger baddies later in the game.

Yooka-Laylee Gamescom TrailerThe last major gameplay feature shown off in the trailer is transformations, as Yooka and Laylee can take the form of various “unexpected things” during their adventure. We saw the first of these transformations in Yooka-Laylee‘s E3 trailer, as our heroes took the form of a plant in the first stage, but it has since been confirmed that each new world will contain its own unique transformation. This new trailer reveals the ice world’s snow plow transformation, allowing players to move large piles of snow with ease.

The plow is capable of bursts of speed, but we’re unsure if this transformation will offer any other advantages. Based on its design, we can see a truck bed in the back and we can see that the plow in the front could potentially lift up. If this is the case, the Snow Plow transformation could be used to pick up and haul large objects. And the large, treaded wheels could be helpful in crossing perilous terrain or navigating icy floors without sliding.

Yooka-Laylee Gamescom Trailer: Friends, Foes, and Googly-Eyes

The Yooka-Laylee Gamescom trailer analysis continues with a look at several characters and enemies that we’ll see in the game.

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Perhaps the most striking thing is the game’s antagonist Capital B, the greedy business mogul that threatens to destroy the world’s collection of literature for monetary gain. His name is even a clever pun on the alphabet and capitalist pursuits. Like Banjo-Kazooie‘s antagonist Grunitilda, Capital B appears vain and narcissistic, erecting a humongous gold statue of himself and covering his headquarters with his likeness. He may be comically full of himself, but he’s also dangerous. It seems that this evil boss will lead an army of minions, robots, and other baddies against Yooka and Laylee throughout the game.

Capital BBut Capital B is not the only big bad present in the game. While we don’t see a lot of him in the Yooka-Laylee Gamescom  trailer, we do get a few hints at B’s partner Dr. Quack. This mechanized duck character can be spotted in the trailer’s final clip, walking beside Capital B before the Yooka-Laylee logo fades in. According to Playtonic’s website, B took over Quack Corp, and the two now operate their conglomerate in “Hivory Towers.” This is most likely why the two can be seen strolling through a series of hive-shaped halls.

The tip of Dr. Quack’s head can also be spotted in the full body shot of Capital B’s gold statue, as the doctor seemingly converses with a group of minions. This leads us to believe that Dr. Quack will make frequent appearances confronting Yooka and Laylee, ordering enemies around and fortifying defenses. We may even see him more than Capital B.

MinionSpeaking of enemies, the Yooka-Laylee Gamescom trailer presents quite a few in action. The aforementioned minions show up again. We’ve seen a lot of these little guys in previous trailers and in the Toybox, but we might have been given a bit more information on them in this new trailer. For one, we can see that some minions don metal hats which heighten their defenses. So, Yooka will need to land more attacks in order to take them down.

As well, when the trailer shows Yooka evading the lasers of a robot enemy, a minion can be spotted below a metal grating amongst moving gears. We’re not sure how he got down there, but his position hasn’t stopped him from trying to attack. The tenacity of this enemy leads us to think that there will be puzzles in Yooka-Laylee that ask players to lead angry minions through mazes and the like.

We can also see the game’s ice world has its own minor enemies that greatly resemble the minions seen elsewhere, although with icy white fur. While these may be completely new enemies, these snow minions may hint at how each enemy class will have a different appearance depending on the world they are found in.

We mentioned the robots above, so let’s talk about them next. Robot sentries, most likely built by the devious Dr. Quack, guard various areas of Capital B’s headquarters. With conical fields of vision, these robots will blast our heroes with lasers if they stumble into the sentries’ sights. We’re not sure yet how we’re to take these mechanical baddies down, but it may involve jumping on their heads or shooting the green lights on their bases.

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It should also be noted that the trailer displays the same area of B’s headquarters from different perspectives, perhaps from different points in the game (see above). In the first view, we see two minions running atop a circular metal grating. The second time, we see a robot on that very same grating. Perhaps, as the game progresses, more powerful enemies will replace lesser ones in common areas. This will surely add to the difficulty.

googlyeyesOne of the standout enemies making their debut in the Yooka-Laylee Gamescom trailer are simply a pair of angry googly-eyes. Obviously joking on cutesy 3D platformers’ tendency to put big, cartoon eyes on everything, from sentient characters to inanimate objects, these eye enemies will attach themselves to objects in the environment and attack the player. We can see them take on the form of a metal barrel in the trailer, but we all see pairs of eyes in the ice world where metal barrels probably aren’t frequent. This would most likely mean that these eye enemies will attack specific objects within each new world.

Other enemies shown in the trailer include flying bugs during a mine cart section, jellyfish creatures underwater, and a one-eyed stone creature with a mouth and teeth. There are definitely baddies for every situation. Some may even turn out to be friends at some point.

PuzzAs for friends to Yooka and Laylee, the Yooka-Laylee Gamescom trailer doesn’t offer much. We do get a short glimpse of Dr. Puzz, a tentacled scientist that is responsible for the various transformations in the game. We see her stationed in the ice world next to her giant transformation gun. Surely, our heroes will need to collect a certain number of resources in order to use the gun and transform. We do know she’ll be present somewhere in each world, so players should get used to seeing her around.

Lastly, we see a bit more of Yooka-Laylee‘s mine cart ally Kartos, who will assist our heroes in some on-rails action throughout their adventure. We see from this trailer that Kartos can shoot cannon balls from his mouth to destroy approaching enemies. We haven’t seen this ability in any earlier stages, so maybe Kartos can learn new moves as the game goes on just like Yooka and Laylee.

Yooka-Laylee Gamescom Trailer: Tropics, Ice Worlds, and Giant Books

We conclude our Yooka-Laylee Gamescom trailer analysis by examining a few of the worlds that our heroes will visit over the course of their quest.

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The first, which is confirmed to be the game’s first world, is called Tribalstack Tropics. A tropical jungle setting, Tribalstack Tropics is rife with trees, stone ruins, and very high platforms. We have seen quite a bit of this stage in previous trailers and in hands-on videos from various outlets at Gamescom, so this trailer primarily offers some gorgeous shots of the world. Tribalstack Tropics appears massive, and it seems to focus on verticality as Yooka and Laylee must scale cliffs to its various summits in order to collect the treasures above.

TrousersThe second world shown off is an ice world, a chilly landscape that appears perched on a snowcapped mountain. There appears to be both internal and external areas present in this world. The internal areas take the form of ice-filled caverns with slippery surfaces, slides, and icicles. The external areas are much more open, scattered with stone walls and castle structures that look as if inspired by Disney’s Frozen. As stated above, this world does sport its own mine cart segment and offers a transformation into a snow plow. After spotting a pair of collectible trousers under a pile of snow, we can only guess as to other secrets hidden in this winter wonderland.

The last area highlighted in the Yooka-Laylee Gamescom trailer is what we assume to be the hub world, the headquarters of Capital B’s publishing company in Hivory Towers and Dr. Quack’s Quack Corporation. This would explain the clash of aesthetics, as shelves of books appear right beside industrial equipment and factory structures. Letters pump haphazardly through pipes and odiously steam from toxic goop, perhaps representing B’s disregard for the magic of literature. The trailer’s musical theme even calls to mind the theme of Grunty’s Lair, Banjo-Kazooie‘s hub location.

Screen-Shot-2016-08-17-at-11.49.53-AM-850x560This world does take an interesting art direction, as platforms are made up of giant books stacked in any which way. We can see that a few books even have titles printed on their spines, hinting that these large tomes will either incorporate puzzles or offer the developers an opportunity to squeeze in a jokey pun.

One can notice that in the sky of this world, book pages are continually streaming through the air, being led to a large machine in the distance. Unfortunately we don’t know purposes of this machine, but it does offer a foreboding inclination as to Capital B’s devious plans. The pages in the sky and this machine on the horizon will hopefully motivate players to journey onward and preserve the pages of the Grand Tomes.

The underwater sections showcased in the trailer look to all appear in this industrial hub world, as evidenced by hive-shaped designs on the wall and the various brick walls. When looking up to the surface, one can see how polluted the waters of this factory are, further emphasizing the vileness of the game’s antagonist. As well, the appearance of a Pagie (Yooka-Laylee‘s primary collectible) in an underwater cage confirms that players should explore just as much of this hub world for goodies as any other. There are no doubt various puzzles and challenges are waiting for them here.

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We hope that our Yooka-Laylee Gamescom trailer analysis helped you spot a few hidden pieces of information you hadn’t noticed initially. With so much of the game yet to be announced, we can only speculate on the few secrets displayed in the previews so far.

Yooka-Laylee is due out for release Q1 2017, for Playstation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, and PC.

About The Author

Associate Editor

Rodney is an experienced video game journalist, having attended E3 the past four years and written for outlets such as Zelda Informer, Laser Time, and Nerd Hero. He is both a writer and editor, and strives to become a full-time video game journalist.

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  • master grynm

    yooka laylee is…. AWESOME <3