|Started playing this today. I got through most of the first world and started the 2nd world.|
It's pretty much just like Mario Sunshine. It's the same sort of world/mission structure where you go into a mission with the objective of collecting a time piece (the shines of this game). Although the hub world is very small (more like the Mario Galaxy hubs), there's a lot of neat things going on in it though, and it feels much less empty and dull than the Yooka Laylee hub. The secret void levels from Sunshine are in this game too... it's like, not even trying to hide the Mario Sunshine influence.
The level designs definitely feel much more Mario-style than Banjo-style, as in, they're much more conducive to your faster, more acrobatic moveset, and traveling around through the world feels fun and not just like a chore... There's a little bit of story/cutscenes involved sometimes, but they're very simple and non-obtrusive.
All the NPCs have fully voiced dialog like in Psychonauts. The main character is a mute, and everyone just calls her "Hat Kid". The cutscenes are all really cute and funny... it's a different kind of humor than Yooka Laylee was going for, it's much less in your face and more of a charming, cute type of humor.
The movement is great, it's just like Mario Sunshine but without the fludd, and Hat Kid can run up walls and climb up them very quickly... There's more movement options that you unlock throughout the game by gaining more hats, which are unlocked by finding certain pieces of yarn in the levels. These yarn pieces are very easy to spot, so I don't think unlocking all the hats will be a problem. So far I've found a hat that lets you run, and a witch hat that lets you cook projectiles or something (I dunno I never used that one much, I'm all about the running hat). The default top hat is the most useful if you are stuck, it can point you in the direction of your current objective.
There's also a bunch of little jewels scattered around throughout the levels. At first I thought these were like the notes in BK, and I'm like "wtf this is ridiculous, there's way too many, I'll never finish collecting all of them", but then I quickly realized these things are more like coins in Mario games, and there's no level counter for them. They are used as currency to buy badges, which give you secondary abilities or effects. You can only have so many badges equipped at once. The one that lets you not get knocked back when you run into walls while air-dashing is a must-have imo.
Oh and there's another type of collectible called "Relics", and there's some sort of hub world thing that you do with them to unlock various non-important things like new skins for your hats or something... I'm not quite sure. These and the currency collectible seem very optional, and not meant to take your focus away from the main objective of collecting time pieces. It's just something to reward you for exploring.
The music is alright so far. Maybe not something I'd download listen to by itself, but it's very pleasant.