Bouncing around social media and youtube I've seen some people denounce Yuka Laylee as a half-baked pre-historic dull-witted relic of the past, which I think amounts mostly to muddy water, and little else. I'm one of those people who deliberately waited for the Switch version of Yuka Laylee, and I suppose I was fortunate being such a one of iron willpower. I've heard that people who played it on PS4 and PC found a score of problems with the game, some of which aren't really the fault of Playtonic, it just happened to be the most affordable engine to use for development; however ironically, that might be, in my opinion, the games biggest fault.
I have played up to the third level of Yuka Laylee thus far, and I don't find much wrong with it. It plays exceptionally smooth and I applaud Playtonic for not being a giddy kid and tossing the game out on Switch just because some people were impatient. I think quite a few people are being either driven by nostalgia or beaten down by nostalgia when it comes to measuring YL against Banjo Kazooie. The claims that Yuka Laylee has no charm are unfounded, I'm finding just as much charm in YL as I did during my romp through any N64 Rareware game. I even daresay that YL is better than those games everyone has such fond memories of by virtue of refined gameplay. Anybody who would honestly critique the N64 Rareware games would acknowledge that the controls were floaty, the movement was slippery, most of the collecting amounted to simple to do tasks and minigames. The only thing that has changed with YL is that the controls are tighter and the movement is more precise.
As far as visuals and sound goes, I think this is where I find the lack of that Rareware oomph. YL using Unity is glaringly obvious, as numbers of shortcuts are taken with the visuals to get close to a desired effect. While YL is easy to look at, every time I see a new environment, I can't help feeling that it would look much better if it were using an engine built in-house. I'm sure Playtonic ran quite a bit of custom code in Unity to get YL to look as it does. I can also appreciate how the visuals of YL resemble an awful lot of Donkey Kong Country's Silicon graphics renders used in instruction manuals and boxarts. It's a style that is clearly in the hearts of the artists and developers of Playtonic Games. The sound quality is lovely, and David Wises orchestrations are all quite nice.
Overall, I think Yuka Laylee is turning out to be a pretty good game, despite the engine that was used to build it. That fact that Playtonic held it until it played well is a testament to how much they cared about the players experience with the game. As for the negative press, I think there's a bit too much "Me too" infecting the world, and it's an unfortunate thing we all have to deal with. If you're reading this, I'm glad YL happened. Thank you Playtonic.