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In 2017, Yooka Laylee was released by Playtonic
Games.
Seen as revival of the Banjo Kazooie series,
Yooka Laylee attracted many followers and
pledges on kickstarter.
Playtonic games featured veteran developers
and artists from classic rare games like Banjo
– Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country.
Now with a revival of Banjo Kazooie under
their belt, Playtonic Games seemingly looks
to revitalize another familiar game in a Donkey
Kong Countrysque way with Yooka Laylee and
the Impossible Lair.
With this in mind, it’s tough to look at
Yooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair in comparison,
or as a sequel, to the first Yooka Laylee
game.
They play fairly different with one exclusively
being a 3D platformer game and the other mainly
being a 2.5D experience.
Yooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair is a
2.5D platformer game with a 3D overworld being
released on Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4,
Xbox One, and PC.
I will mention here that Yooka Laylee and
the Impossible Lair was given to us by Team17,
the games publisher, and Playtonic Games through
Keymailer.
So keep that in mind.
Yooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair starts
off with characters Yooka and Laylee arriving
in the Royal Stingdom.
The Duo are instantly met by the previous
games antagonist Capital B who has a device
called the Hive Mind, which allows him to
control other bees.
Capital B plans to use this device to enslave
everyone, but Yooka and Laylee with the help
of queen pheobee attempt to thwart Capital
B’s plans.
This introduces the Impossible Lair itself,
which players are almost certainly intended
to fail on the first go.
I think while playing Yooka Laylee it said
somewhere that only one person had completed
the Impossible Lair on their first try.
I was certainly not that one person.
Once failing the Impossible Lair, Yooka and
Laylee are placed in the 3D overworld where
the gang agrees they can’t defeat Capital
B without the Beetallion, which are a shield
of bees that allows Yooka and Laylee to take
extra hits from enemies.
Queen Pheobee attempts to acquire the beetallion
for your but instead scatters them throughout
the 3D overworld.
The Duo then have to travel around jumping
into chapters to gather the 48 beetallion.
Though there are 48 beetallion to gather,
players can jump back in and try the impossible
lair at anypoint.
Even though the overworld is 3D, it’s a
pretty tight experience in terms of controls.
The camera is locked in one position and the
movement feels a bit limited, but that’s
not a bad thing.
For instance, the jumping ability feels pretty
weak in the overworld, but this allowed the
developers to create some fun puzzles while
navigating from chapter to chapter.
Other than traversing the world from chapter
to chapter players can also talk to NPCs.
Some will offer help, provide funny conversation,
among other things.
The first NPC available to talk to introduces
the player to something called Tonics.
They can provide Yooka and Laylee a boost
or do other wacky things like change the way
the game looks which is a pretty neat feature
to play around with.
These tonics only work in the chapters.
Chapters are where the 2.5D experience comes
into play and while the controls feel weak
in the 3D portion of the game, they loosen
up and feel just right in the 2.5D portions.
The chapters are fairly long and offer quite
a bit to do and interact with.
The level structure in the chapters is linear,
though there are slightly alternate routes
players can take by going through doors or
pursuing other small shortcuts.
I did run into a few instances running through
levels where I’d ask myself, “why is this
here?”.
In addition to those questionable portions,
there were also time when the game seemed
to slow down due to an obstacle I had to get
around.
Going from rolling around and using the fluid
controls to dodge enemies to just standing
there waiting for a gear to turn or a platform
to float by was kind of a bummer.
Apart from rare tiny bits of uninteresting
level design and slow paces sections, the
level structure was a nice experience.
Enemies and collectible, which I will dive
further into later, were spaced out nicely.
Each of the 20 levels seemed to have their
own unique artistic design and even in the
later levels I was getting introduced to new
mechanic that felt natural to use.
I enjoyed how there were sometimes multiple
ways to tackle obstacles.
For instance, some gaps could be overcome
by jumping over or using your roll ability
to go over them.
Mechanics like this made working through levels
a delightful experience.
One of my favorite features of the game was
the ability to alter the chapters in the Overworld
to create a new experience when replaying
the levels.
All chapters could be altered so that, say
if the player directed a stream of water onto
the chapter In the overworld, it would then
be a water base level upon play it again.
Since the levels can be a bit long there are
multiple checkpoints within each chapter,
which was nice.
However, while usually a welcomed sight the
checkpoints could sometimes be placed in poor
positions.
Sometimes I would be put through a gauntlet
of obstacles that may or may not have been
timed and there was no checkpoint, but I could
dodge a couple simple obstacles walk through
a door and a checkpoint would be waiting for
me.
While maneuvering through chapters I got to
experience the abilities Yooka and Layla have
to offer.
There was the roll, which gave the player
some speed as well as inflicted damage to
objects and enemies.
Then the spin move which gave some extra flight
time.
My biggest gripe with this is the spin move
couldn’t break objects, which was frustrating
at times when I would want to break a box
open.
Also available was the tail whip and the ability
to grab objects with your mouth and spit them
back at enemies and breakable objects.
If the duo got hit by and enemy or obstacle
Laylee would frantically fly around and eventually
fly away.
Then if Yooka got hit without Laylee, he would
die and respawn at the nearest checkpoint.
The player, playing as Yooka, had a small
window to grab Layleeback, and if unsuccessfully
could bring him back by ringing a bell which
are scattered thought out chapters.
I thought this was a neat feature.
One thing this game got right that a handful
of other games tend to suffer from is underwater
segments.
While the experience with these segments in
other games is usually accompanied by slow
moving hard to control characters, Yooka Laylee
and the Impossible Lair had a fast and easy
to control underwater experience.
Sometimes it even felt faster than the out
of water segments.
I might even go as far to say that there should
have been more underwater segments in this
game.
The enemies in this game rarely caused me
trouble.
They ranged from flying enemies, enemies that
would follow your movements, underwater enemies,
but worst of all were these snails with spiked
shells that would ball up and follow you around.
I had a ton of trouble when coming across
these foes, but it never felt like it hurt
the game.
More so just an added challenge.
Otherwise the enemies all seemed like standard
experiences when playing a 2D platformer,
which wasn’t a bad thing in this case.
The collectibles in Yooka Laylee and the Impossible
Lair came in the form of Feathers, TWIT coins,
and of course Beetallions.
The feathers could be collected by doing small
gathering challenges in the chapters, which
were always fun to do.
TWIT coins, used to pay Trowser to unlock
segments of the overworld, were hidden in
spots that could often be tough to get to.
I wasn’t a huge fan that I had to collect
these to acquire access to necessary areas
of the world, but I only had to go back and
collect extra coins a few times.
The Beetallion were always at the end of chapters
where you would break the glass finish the
level.
Collecting the beetallion helped with the
ultimate goal, which was to beat the impossible
lair.
During my play through I never went back to
attempt the impossible lair, but after collecting
a good portion of the Beetallion I decided
to jump back in and give it a try.
After multiple attempts that seemed to take
5 -10 minutes each I was informed that the
furthest I had made it was 30% of the way
through the impossible lair.
This is where I am struggling to form and
opinion of Yooka Laylee and the Impossible
Lair, because while the whole game is based
around this mechanic of the final level being
near impossible, it doesn’t really work
for me.
Maybe that’s because of my limited attempts,
but I felt a bit cheated.
Everything leading up to the impossible lair
was very enjoyable, apart from some minor
things, but when I finally get to the last
level the difficulty spike was so high it
was unenjoyable for me.
I almost wish they took an approach where
the impossible lair’s difficulty level became
easier by collecting more beetallion rather
than just allowing the player to take more
hits.
Players who would want a impossible experience
could try right away and casual players like
myself could collect the necessary beetallion,
reach the end and beat the final boss to feel
some sense of completion.
Even though the impossible lair was unenjoyable
for me, I still took great joy in playing
the other segments of the game leading up
to it.
Where the game dipped for me was
Some uninteresting portions of chapters
Collecting random coins to unlock areas
The impossible lair being an insane difficulty
spike (even after playing a large portion
of the main game
Times when the game would slow down
3.75/5.
What do you guys think?
What genre do you think playtonic will tackle
next?
Let us know in the comments below.
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9 thoughts on “Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair (PC) | Review

  1. Great review Chris! As a huge DKC fan I’m for trying this out. But I also hate hard games so the last level probably ain’t for me

  2. Great video. I love that when something really stands out to you, you go the extra mile with an explanation or representation as to why. Notably the water segments part, but it's a consistent trait of yours. It personalizes the video which is good. Keep it up.

  3. A overall Score of 3.75 is a terrible score my friend. The game has way too much good and very little bad to get that score. This is at least and no lower than a 4.35/5 and higher score. Oh well we will agree and disagree.

  4. suggestive wants it to be "YL and the patronizingly beatable lair (for casuals who get a game with impossible in the title but feel cheated when it's impossible)" pfft

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