Reason one is this reason: Been busy. Reasons two through one-hundo are this: I didn't much love the otherwise much-loved classic 3D platformer Banjo-Kazooie, which Yooka-Laylee is - in all but name and official license - a sequel to.
Consequently, I just couldn't work up the enthusiasm to play it. Yes: what a hairy plum of a man I am.
By all accounts, I should've loved Banjo-Kazooie. It was a game by Rare - a developer not unknown for doing well good games - arriving at a time when decent 3D platformers were still a relative novelty.
And yet... to me it compared unfavourably to Super Mario 64, in the same way that I felt that Rare's Donkey Kong Country games paled next to Nintendo's own 2D platformers. Solid... but somehow... I dunno. I still can't put my finger on it, even after all these years.
It was as if... you know when you eat something that mostly tastes fine, but there's something a bit funny about it - like, a flavour you can't quite identify? Sort of as if there was a tiny splash of soy sauce in an otherwise really lovely "Brown Derby sundae", and that somehow taints the overall experience. For me, that's what Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country were like.
But what a difference those years make. I'm not the cynical, scattershot edgy, youth that I once was. Being old-ish, things that I pretended to be irritated by in my prime are now coloured with the wistful glaze of nostalgia.
Whereas once I might've scoffed, now I'll happily watch hours of vintage footage of Richard Stilgoe barking rhythmically in an allotment, or eat my way gladly through a packet of Findus Crispy Pancakes that expired in 1991,
Similarly, the games industry is a very different place now. It is a place where there are mainly two types of video games: games with sexy robots pointing at holographic touch-screens, and games where men in khaki bellow profanity at explosions.
Also... the world is crying out for a bit of optimism and joy right now, and it seems to me as if Yooka-Laylee is rather well-timed.
You're not an idiot, probably. You know what Yooka-Laylee is.
That's right; it's one of those games they used to have where a cartoon animal - in this case, a pair of sods (a chameleon and a bat) - has to run around collecting stuff. Collecting stuff in Yooka-Laylee - here, the pages of a magic book - will allow you to purchase new abilities for your characters, thus unlocking previously inaccessible areas. And thus, getting closer to dealing with the evil Capital B, a big, bad sod (bee).
The game has just five worlds, spinning off a central hub, but they're huge worlds. In fact, that hugeness is probably my biggest issue with Yooka-Laylee.
See, there's so much here that the game gets right - in as far as it sets out to be an old-school-style 3D platformer - from its colourful (albeit not-exactly-next-gen) visuals, it's cast of characters and their cheesy, meta, one-lines... to the sheer variety of gameplay on offer - that it's a shame that it gets let down by a lack of focus.
Yooka-Laylee is at its best in its earliest hours, where you're exploring and getting used to its idiosyncrasies. It's when you realise that navigating around the levels is more trial-and-error that it starts to feel like a chore. To keep moving forward you have to keep unlocking new abilities, and that means collecting all the magical pages in a level... and finding them all becomes profoundly frustrating.
Additionally, there's a lot of backtracking, due to the hub structure, other side-quests where you're expecting to find things... and... well... the amount of wandering back-and-fro starts to get a bit annoying.
It's a shame that something so fundamental took away some of my enjoyment of Yooka-Laylee, because I really wanted to love it.
As mentioned, it seems to hit the zeitgeist head on; I think a lot of us are looking for more optimistic, more colourful, brighter, less cynical, ways to be entertained and Yooka-Laylee has no agenda other than to be entertaining.
It is crying out to be loved, but not in a desperate way - like somebody on Twitter, or a famous comedian - but in the way that a puppy looks at you with its big eyes, and wags its tail when it sees you walking up the driveway.
However... despite that, puppies can be challenging and test your patience when they chew the TV remote, or do a poo on your throat while you're asleep. And that's what Yooka-Laylee is like.
<PRETENDS TO CLEAR THROAT>
Unfortunately, that's the best simile I can come up with right now. Okay, anyway... bye then. BYE!
<RUNS OUT OF LECTURE THEATRE, WHOOP-WHOOP-WHOOPING>
SUMMARY: Old-school and charming, but not without its irritations.
SCORE: 1,995AD out of 2,500AD