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Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:55 pm
by NPChilla
DISCLAIMER: This thread is intended solely for constructive criticism, NOT trolling or provocation.

Having played on Yooka-Laylee a while - I haven't beaten it yet but am certainly progressing through it at a good lick - there's certainly a lot RIGHT with it.
However, like many on this forum I can't help but feel in many ways let down but the end product.

Hoping that Playtonic will go on from strength to strength and make more 3D platformers (though not necessarily immediately), I have some feedback, intended in the best possible manner:

1) More QA/testing. Before the patches sorted it all out, this game had a number of issues.

2) Tone down the 4th wall humour. Yes, it's a Rare trademark and can be witty; but like any joke, too much is too much. You went a little OTT in this area.

3) Never work with Team 17 again. The horrendous way it botched various PR disasters (mentioning no names, we all know the ones) damaged a lot of goodwill towards the end product.

4) Find a company like Nintendo who will guide and back the game in a positive manner. I think this is what Playtonic (as well as Microsoft-era Rare) is missing the most: a backer who engages with development and helps make it a better final product. In many ways, Y-L felt unfocussed compared with Rare's N64 oeuvre.

Any ideas or feedback you hope Playtonic will take on board? Please leave it below!

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:01 pm
by ShanPen
Covered in your point 1 about more testing, but more specifically I think in future they should set up some focus groups made up of gamers (in Yooka-Laylee's case I'm sure there would have been backers who would have gladly participated for free) to test game aspects like the Rextro mini games to see if the majority of people find them fun before those parts make their way into the final game, and if not the focus group participants could give feedback as to how the games could be improved. Judging from what I've read others say, and from what I've now experienced finally getting to play the mini games on Switch version, most people didn't find them fun (especially Hurdle Hijinx - that one goes on way too long to be remotely fun). It seemed most people liked the idea of the retro arcade games and the mine cart parts during the Kickstarter, but that the finished versions of those weren't received well and I think they could have been if Playtonic had run some test groups to get feedback (like how they got some good feedback and made some changes by getting backers to play the Toybox and give feedback here).

Also their communication could be improved a lot in future (though I guess it won't matter so much if their next game isn't funded through Kickstarter).

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:20 am
by ShanPen
Could I add one that's more specific to the game?

Please tone down the "Press button, start time limit, go through hoops" challenges.

They are fun occasionally, but I thought everyone learned from Superman 64 that there is such a thing as too many hoops.

World 4, and especially 5, were great because they had so much more variety of challenges to do such as characters who had problems you had to solve (loved the pig taxi service in World 4, fixing the plumbing for the chap in the toilet in World 5, and the intro to the World 5 boss), whereas the first 3 levels felt a bit like Playtonic went "We still need to add more Pagie challenges to this world, any ideas people? Errr, ummm, hmmmm.......I know! We could add more buttons with time limits and hoops!". World 3 in particular seemed to have so many "buttons with time limit" challenges.

One of the things I loved about the Banjo-Kazooie/Tooie games was the variety of challenges you had to solve to get a Jiggy. I loved the challenges that took a lot of thinking to solve, such as having to get the batteries to the power terminals in Grunty Industries. There were fun mini-game styled challenges like helping the Twinklies safely across to the Christmas tree. And I particularly loved the challenges where there was an amusing character who needed your help to find something (worms for Eyrie, acorns for Nabnut, gold for Captain Blubber, presents for Boggy's kids, finding the kids for Mrs Boggy, food for the cavemen, bringing the dinosaur kids home) and wished there was more of that in Yooka-Laylee (I can only remember there being one of these challenges in Yooka-Laylee, the snowmen needing their hats), or characters who needed your help to do something (freeing Snorkel, getting water to Dippy the dinosaur) - I think that might be part of what people mean when they say they found the Yooka-Laylee worlds to be "too empty" - there weren't enough characters unique to each world who had interesting problems they needed Yooka and Laylee to solve for them, so the worlds didn't feel "lived in". And the Playtonic team has some amazing character designers on board, so in future games I'd love to see lots of amazing characters with interesting problems for the protagonist to solve.

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:24 am
by NPChilla

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:35 am
by rocho

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:18 pm
by NPChilla

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:26 pm
by Rueckkoppler
Yep ShanPen pretty much nailed what went wrong with Yooka. Playtonic didn't explore the level themes enough (or I wouldn't say even barely), they didn't attach the pagies to little stories that would happen within the world. (Sounds like a missed opportunity when you consider that almost everything happens within books. A Hat in Time is much stronger in this department.)

And reskinning the main enemy didn't help at all. I really don't like the supposed AI they developed for the game. The way they're animated because of this feels a bit glitchy and off. Why not have the enemies walk around with some goofy animations until they see you & just run straight at you? Combat never was a thing in Banjo games either and it was still fun to whack these guys, no reason to make it more complicated. Just look at how the in Rusty Bucket Bay walk around, it feels much more like they're minding their own business while feeling perfectly animated to the rhythm of the music. On the other hand Yooka's enemies feel like they're not really living in their worlds, but stressed already by a potential encounter with the player. It's just not as fun to encounter them. Don't get me started with the cop-hatted-guys.

And (aside from cutting the enemy numbers by half compared to Banjo), I don't like how most enemies are either a variation of the corplets (if they had different voices and more different animations that wouldn't be a thing though), blocks or some weird combination of two familiar things. Why not take more inspiration of animals like in B-K? Maybe I can't put it so good into words, but if you compare both games in regards to the enemies designs, you might understand what I'm feeling about them: VS ... jo-Kazooie

(Shoutout to the regular corplets, the tribal & the big ones. But everything else is just not pleasant to look at.

Sorry if I come up as negative, but this really and honestly was a big downside of this game, aside from what ShanPen said.

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:01 pm
by bigfanofoldrare

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:57 pm
by ShanPen
So as I was playing Yooka-Laylee, I made a mental list of things I wished were different to improve the (already great!) game. And as that list grew, I decided to type it down in a text file, which I added to as I thought of more (and which I'll probably continue adding to when I replay the game). So here's my list:

Small Improvements:

In Kartos sections, your final gem count stays on screen until you retry or exit, instead of disappearing as soon as you’ve passed into the finish hoop. Because it’s hard to concentrate on your score while you’ve got your eyes on the track avoiding obstacles, so if you forget to look at your score just as you pass the finish hoop, you don’t get to see how many you’ve collected to help you determine how much better you need to do next time.

The Yooka-Laylee faces on the power/health bar changing depending on how much health you have left (like in Banjo-Kazooie - extremely happy faces when you have full health, and the faces get progressively sadder as you lose health).

Add the Yooka-Laylee rap into the game (eg. have it autoplay if the player leaves the title page sitting idle for too long).

Stop the camera fighting to take control while trying to steer the characters in Flappy Flight mode. I chose “manual” camera mode, so I’d still like proper control of it while flying.

In Rextro's mini games for World 4 and World 5, add some indication of how far along the track you are. Because those games are frustratingly hard especially at first, and this frustration is exacerbated by the fact that you have no idea when (if?!? :shock:) the level will ever end.

Make Yooka's standard tongue disappear whenever he uses a move where he sticks his tongue out, so he doesn't have a double tongue.

This is a tiny one, but in the golf game in World 5, the character at the counter insulted Laylee’s nose and I was expecting Laylee to reply with a savage come-back, but she said nothing which seemed really out of character for her.

In a menu (such as when selecting Vendi tonics, or browsing Trowser's list of moves for sale), make the currently selected text/line more obvious (such as a much different colour or greater contrast, or make the text jiggle, or put an arrow next to it or something to make it clearer which item you have selected) because it was often very hard to see which menu item you were currently on.

Large Improvements:

More “meeting interesting characters with interesting problems for you to solve” challenges put into the game, and less “press button, start time limit, go through hoops” challenges. [As already discussed more in-depth earlier in this thread].

Game over sequence showing the consequences of failing if you save and exit the game before beating Capital B (eg. Tooty getting transformed in Banjo-Kazooie). [As discussed more in-depth here: ].

Make Dr. Quack’s quizzes more fun - more of the “Where is this picture from?” or “Whose voice is this?” questions and less of the “How many Quills/Pagies did you collect in World…?” sort of questions (because it’s tedious having to “study” and memorise the Totals screens for each level before going into one of these quizzes).

Either up the limit of Pagies and Quills you need to unlock things, or give some extra reward (yes I know there were achievements unlocked for collecting them all, but I mean a useful in-game reward) for people who collect a high number to spend their remaining Quills and Pagies on (such as using your extremely high Note Score unlocking the final note door in Banjo-Kazooie just before facing Gruntilda, where you used your final 4 Jiggies to unlock double health bar). Unless you have plans for the extra Quills and Pagies in the upcoming DLC? ;)

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:12 am
by Rueckkoppler
Good observation, Shan! I hope the DLC is heavily influenced by this kind of feedback.

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:16 am
by LDK777
YL is a pretty good game, it had potential to be great and subsequent games can be.

Here are the lessons I would hope they would learn:

1. More worlds, smaller size per world.

More worlds and variety is always a good thing. YL had the absolute minimum # of worlds you could get away with and have it feel like a full game. Some of the worlds were slightly too big. Too much empty, uninteresting space. Not as bad as Banjo Tooie was but still, it was noticeable at times.

2. Eliminate forced backtracking

Being presented with challenges you can't complete because you don't have the move yet is frustrating, not fun. I knew about it beforehand, and I still found it frustrating. It's hard to remember what all you missed in past levels when you eventually acquire a new move. Worlds should be structured so that all the moves necessary to fully complete the world are theoretically available up to that point. This sort of backtracking mechanic works in Metroid-Vania style games or RPGs, because you are always traversing a single big cohesive world, back and forth, but 3D platformers aren't those genres and IMO it doesn't work for them.

3. More variety in the challenges

Despite all the complaints, I loved the Kartos races, I loved the fly through hoops minigames, I loved the arcade games. The issue was simply a lack of variety. Obviously you can't have a unique challenge for EVERY collectable but the more the better.

4. More actual platforming

Platforming has been lost in these 3D platformers. Look at the grandaddy Super Mario 64, lots of good platforming in that game. Banjo Kazooie had a little. Banjo Tooie has basically none. Every level should have areas where you need to do some interesting platforming.

5. Some collectibles being difficult is a good thing

Building the game such that someone can complete it without a lot trouble is fine. However for those want to 100% it, there SHOULD be difficult collectibles and challenges. I hated to see the patch that nerfed some of the very few difficult areas in the game completely needlessly. These are old school games for old school players. We WANT challenge.

6. Quality characters over quantity

In YL it felt like some characters were in the game purely for the sake of having more characters in the game. Characters should fit the world, fulfill an actual purpose, and ideally be interesting/memorable.

I could nitpick and add more, but those are essentially the ways I felt YL could have been better.

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:50 am
by ShanPen

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:44 pm
by Tek

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:09 pm
by Piet
'Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...'

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:26 am
by Yavga
I think they’ve learned their lesson and frankly, from the time they’ve had developing this title and building an office from the ground up is kind of remarkable!

I am at this point, really, really interested in how the DLC will turn out, they have already come forward stating that user feedback has been of tremendous help to shape their next experiences.

Somehow while Yooka Laylee as a whole experience was ‘decent enough’ I believe they are now able to work better together and shape themselves better for what’s to come.

I had some time now to look back at the game and this is what I experienced:

Coherent world/lore building is an area that seems to be lacking. The hub kinda had this more than the other stages.

Another piece of feedback I have is that certain platforms and props feel very “off” to the current world theme (metal face platforms in a jungle?)

Challenges should not feel like they are fillers, too many challenges felt rushed and misplased. Casino had the best challenges I think.

Make the world smaller but more packed, at times it doesn’t feel as if I’m playing a platformer but an open-world adventure game. This is were Hat in Time really excelled imo. The landscape in Yooka Laylee was too stretched out and there wasn’t really enough eyecandy.

Add some mystery to the worldbuilding, to keep me thinking and looking around for things that may not be apparent at first sight, something in the landscape itself perhaps? A prop that is different? A character that can be interacted with in a special way?

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 1:48 am
by ShanPen

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 2:20 am
by ShanPen

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:24 pm
by Tek

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Sun May 20, 2018 4:02 pm
by Yitsul

Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Posted: Sun May 20, 2018 4:28 pm
by TwinsUltra64
I would love seeing Playtonic working with Nintendo, since their golden age era was when they worked with Nintendo.
It would be cool If Nintendo and Playtonic worked on a new 3D Platformer Donkey Kong.