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Collectathon Platformers Are Back in 2017, Didn't You Know?

The lack of 3D platformers in the past few years left gamers hungry for more of that 90's nostalgia, and 2017 is bringing it all back full-force.

After enduring a slumber last generation, collectathon platformers are undergoing a resurgence, and 2017 is looking to be the renaissance.

The announcement of Yooka-Laylee in April, 2015 struck the internet with a sea of nostalgia, surpassing its Kickstarter Goal of £175,000 within 30 minutes.
Two years later, Playtonic Games' new entry is joining titles like A Hat in Time, Poi, and the newly announced Super Mario Odyssey in making 90’s inspired platformers a hit trend once again.

Playtonic Games is a development team primarily consisting of veteran Rare developers. The creative minds that brought classics such as Donkey Kong Country, and the raunchy Conker’s Bad Fur Day, are releasing their spiritual-successor to Banjo Kazooie on April 11th, 2017.

Yooka-Laylee reached all of its Kickstarter stretch-goals, and was the fastest game to reach $1 million on Kickstarter. The game includes a myriad of features like local co-op, a multiplayer versus mode, mine cart sections, and an old-school N64 shader mode. Their page even promises a “GK Rap” by ex-Rare composer Grant Kirkhope.

At it’s core, though, Yooka-Laylee is all about its gameplay, and of course those sweet, sweet collectibles. Throughout the game players will collect Quills, Pagies, and Play Tonics, but these aren’t just a number count on the screen. Each collectible in Yooka-Laylee serves a purpose. Upgrading stats, gaining new abilities, and expanding and adding worlds are Playtonic Games’ way of showing this is an evolution from the days of Donkey Kong 64 -- minus the rap.

Playtonic Games’ campaign is only one example of the interest gamers have in collectathon platformers. Sony revisited the world of Ratchet and Clank last year, and although the movie could have been better, the remake of the original was the fastest selling game in the series. Recognizing that nostalgia prints money, Sony is also working on a Crash Bandicoot trilogy for the PS4. Although games like Knack and Puppeteer didn’t leave much of an impact, the remastered classics are bringing the genre back into players minds.

Yooka-Laylee is not the only title to find success with indie game fans. Poi is a popular early-access Steam game scheduled to release February 1st. The vibrant journey tells the story of a young boy on a quest to become a master explorer, and focuses on exploration and collection. The game already received a number of awards such as the Humble Bundle Monthly.

A Hat in Time launched a Kickstarter campaign in May 2013, doubling its funding goals within the first two days. The game is scheduled for release sometime this year, and a Beta release is available for backers. Players take the role of Hat Kid, a young traveler who collects fuel for her spaceship to travel through time and race against evil. A Hat in Time draws heavily from titles like Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, and Psychonauts. However, developer Gears for Breakfast plans to innovate the genre with a new combat system and adding in co-op.

What better way to wrap up the year of collectathon platformers by celebrating with a brand new 3D Mario title.

Super Mario Odyssey isn’t releasing until the end of the year, but Nintendo understands its fans’ desires for a true successor to Super Mario 64. Super Mario Sunshine and Galaxy are both amazing games, but each fall short in either execution or content to really emulate the definitive N64 title that changed gaming. Only a few minutes of Mario’s adventures in New York City have been revealed so far, showing a lush world with unique, explorable environments. These trailers show Nintendo is ready to one-up itself in the genre it popularized.

All of these games illustrate the same message -- it’s time for shooters to step aside and let 3D platformers take the crown back. The N64-era of open-world platforming is ready to take back the hearts of gamers from around the world, and hopefully use them to make more games in the wondrous genre of collectathon platformers.

Published Jan. 19th 2017

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