Unique Collectible Mechanics on Display in Yooka-Laylee

One of the most interesting parts of the EDGE Magazine spread is the detail on the collectible systems that are operating inside Yooka-Laylee. Fair to say that even Rare themselves had mocked collectathons in Nuts and Bolts, so it was interesting to me to see how Playtonic avoided making the game a sludge of increasingly pointless items to collect. Here's what they revealed, from RWP mod Derek's summation of the article.
  • There is no move related collectibles I.E. Eggs, Feathers.
  • In each world there are three 'Ghosts' that are reminiscent of Jinjos. One hides from you, one attacks you, and one runs away from you.
  • There are exactly 200 quills in each level. These are currency to be paid to Trowzer to unlock moves.
  • 'Tokens' scattered around that are used to unlock the eight multiplayer arcade games by Rextro, who is a 'low-poly' dinosaur. These games will be up to four players and accessible from the main menu.
  • In each world there is a pick up that triggers a transformation exclusive to that particular world.
  • Pagies will unlock new levels and expand current levels by unlocking new areas or spawning new structures. They can be done in any order.
  • 'Tonics' are an obtainable item that are more difficult to acquire. They act as an RPG-modifier and double as an in-game achievement system. For example, by killing 100 enemies you might be able to reduce the power used by Yooka's roll ability.

There's actually a ton of really interesting ideas at play here. I like the idea of the Pagies being able to unlock areas and structures in levels in any order. I'm more of a fan of the Banjo-Tooie style of a wider world, but this is a really cool way to do that without hopefully having the backtracking that BT had.

The tonics allowing you to modify your character is also something that I think is a pretty cool thing to have in a 3D platformer. I value mobility and character movement very much, and if I had the option to increase my speed higher, it would make the game more enjoyable. People can alter how Yooka and Laylee interact with the world to fit their playstyle, and that should allow more player choice.

I also like the evolution of the Jinjo concept here. Instead of just being stuck in place (or eventually having an evil alter-ego in Banjo-Tooie,) the Ghosts will be unpredictable in their behavior and placement. I assume they'll have some sort of audio or visual cue that tips you off, but you probably won't know what type of Ghost you have to grapple with.

Lacking move collectibles as well seems like the right choice. There's nothing more annoying about a Banjo game when you have to hunt down feathers to keep flying. Why would you have a restriction on a fun way to get around a level? (Although I think most can agree that flying in Banjo-Kazooie wasn't the most pleasant experience.) This is the perfect kind of example of a pointless collectible that should be eliminated. Its only purpose is to allow you to do a thing that you should already be able to do.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Yooka-Laylee and it's developers is how they will respond to the charge that the 90s collectathon is an outdated concept that doesn't have a market anymore. Even in the last entry in the series that Playtonic draws their roots from contains a rather scathing critique towards a game where the only enjoyment comes from collecting shiny things.

Even if that notion is a strawman created to justify releasing Nuts and Bolts as a completely different genre, there is some truth that 3D platformers relied on just adding nonsense in order to justify themselves. Playtonic has shown so far that they understand what makes games like this fun, and have shown that some real thought was put into how these systems interact with one another. All they have to do next is stick the landing.

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