Finally had a little time to start this up today running the Steam version. Since backing the project I've felt very self aware of what the project aims were and what I wanted and I've kept that firmly in mind during my first play which it definitely feels like some reviews failed to do.
It's Banjo. Well, Banjo 3 had Rare made it on N64 and remastered it today. I say that as someone who felt Tooie was a step down from the first game and this would probably have been another step down but not a big one. The first level is quite big and most of my playtime was spent on it working my way picking up pagies. Once you get enough you can open the next level or expand the one you're on. I expanded but haven't gone back in yet so it feels decently sized. The level is fine though it feels like a sandbox rather than a location in the same way Banjo managed. You're a little too aware you're playing an imitation.
They've gone to great lengths to recreate the tone and style though and I'd say it's successful in that. The main complaint would be the controls and camera which post patch still lack refinement and weight. It's a solid enough recreation though considering it's an intentionally N64 era game from an indie dev which doesn't have Nintendo on speed dial.
Interested to see how the game develops but if it does well enough it'd be interesting go see how they'd build on this for a Tooka-Laylee