- Oct 25, 2017
Developer / Publisher: Playtonic / Team17
Genre: 2D Collectathon Platformer
Platforms: PC / Xbox One / PS4 / Nintendo Switch
Release Date: October 8th, 2019
Price: $29.99 / £24.99
Thread title courtesy of Spacejaws, special thanks to Nabbit for going above and bee-yond the call of duty
After testing their mettle with a crowdfunded Banjo-Kazooie revival, Yooka and Laylee have set their sights on one fewer dimension as they dip their toes into a 2D platformer. Set shortly after the ending of the first game, corporate creep Capital B has managed to take over the Grand Tome he was trapped in, the Royal Stingdom, and it’s up to the dynamic lizard-and-bat duo to save the day once more.
- YLIL forgoes the Banjo influence of its predecessor to instead serve as somewhat of a spiritual successor to the Donkey Kong Country series, mixing both Rare and Retro elements with Playtonic’s own new style. From copious amounts of floating collectibles to secrets hidden behind walls, from vine swinging to cannons that blast you every which way, DKC fans will certainly find something to love here - and it's all running at 60 FPS on every console!
- 20 levels are on offer, but this is no bite-sized spin-off. By completing tasks in the hub world, you can alter the level states to create a second version of each stage, effectively making 40 levels. These aren’t minor changes either - for example, a factory stage with tricky platforming can become a flooded water stage with plenty of swimming, and a bustling town will be invaded by a tornado to provide plenty of updrafts.
- The titular Impossible Lair is the final level of the game, but with a twist - you can enter it at any time. Unfortunately, it’s so difficult that only the most godlike of gaming wizards will be able to complete it without help. That’s where the Beetallion comes in! In each level you’ll find a helpful bee friend who, once collected, will act as an extra hit point in the Impossible Lair. Will you go for 100% before taking it on, or see if you can do it without the whole crew?
- The 3D hub in YLIL is no simple level select, as this overworld is packed with secrets to find and puzzles to solve. Fan-favorite characters from Yooka-Laylee like Dr. Puzz and Trowzer will show up here, and Pagies make an appearance to take you to short challenge levels that open up even more areas to explore.
- Play Tonics are new and improved! Collecting and purchasing tonics will allow you to apply a wide variety of game modifiers that can make the game easier, harder, or change up the graphics in cool ways. Using tonics that add more challenge will give you a multiplier that increases the amount of quills you earn in a level. You can even stack multiple tonics at one time. There are four tonics obtainable exclusively by pre-ordering the game (including one that lets you swap out Yooka and Laylee's models for low-poly N64 versions), but don't worry if you miss out as they'll be available as DLC at a later date.
- The soundtrack is a collaborative effort between four composers - DKC legend David Wise, beloved Banjo maestro Grant Kirkhope, and in-house Playtonic newcomers Dan Murdoch and Matt Griffin. If these tunes don’t have you jamming out, then what WILL!?
- Fun fact: yours truly made an animation that won a competition to get into the game as a member of the Beetallion, so keep your eyes peeled for some Era representation in the form of Camerhoney somewhere in the game!
Now available on Bandcamp!
Nintendo Life: 9/10Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is an excellent 2D platformer full of surprises and delights for fans nostalgic for the glory days of the genre. With some clever approaches to the final boss fight, the overworld map, and refreshing levels for repeat playthroughs, this one sits in the top tier of platformers just below the likes of modern classics like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
Destructoid: 7/10Donkey Kong Country fans rejoice: this is the spiritual successor you’ve been waiting for. The worst thing you could say about it is that the overworld exploration may prove to be too involved for those who are in it purely for the runny-jumpy stuff, but those who are happy to mix platforming with top-down adventuring and don’t mind adapting to the constantly changing pace will find the best of both worlds here. Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is a fantastic sophomore effort that pays tribute to Rare's past and establishes Playtonic as one of the UK's most exciting studios.
Polygon: no scoreYooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair neatly captures the essence of Yooka-Laylee and reimagines it as a new type of game. It's a distillation and a simplification, but it's effective. Then, as its grand finale -- a necessary conclusion that looms over the whole game -- it turns uncharacteristically punitive. It's rewarding, that much is undeniable. But it also leaves you feeling like all those hours spent beekeeping never really prepared you for the final challenge. Those bees just afford more leeway over the course of a very long struggle. It's kind of a buzzkill.
On the whole, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is a carefully designed platform game that rewards repeat play and trial-and-error. The difficulty curve occasional turns sharply north, but it’s a slick piece of platforming, with plenty to see and do. Ultimately though, it’s a tribute act, knocking out the big hits with all the exuberance of true believers. I found myself playing the game in short bursts, enjoying its simple pleasures before drifting into mild boredom. This is the central problem with nostalgia. It offers so little that’s new.