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Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Team 17
Developer: Playtonic Games
Release Date: Oct. 8, 2019

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


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Switch/PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on June 21, 2019 @ 12:45 a.m. PDT

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is a platform adventure where the colorful buddy duo must tackle a series of stunning, 2.5D levels and explore a puzzling 3D Overworld rich with secrets and surprises.

Pre-order Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

At E3 2019, I was able to check out Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair. It's a sequel to the previous game, but curiously, it's a 2D platformer rather than a fully 3D game, like its predecessor. Once again, you play as the team of Yooka and Laylee, this time within the Bee Kingdom, which has been taken over. The Impossible Lair has sprung up within it.

Completing the Impossible Lair is the goal of the game, but it is fully unlocked and available at the outset. However, the level is four times as long as any normal level and has no checkpoints. It would be technically possible to complete it right away, but it's effectively impossible to do so.

To make it easier, the player should first set off to complete various levels throughout the Bee Kingdom. Each level contains an imprisoned bee at the end of it, and when rescued, they help you in the lair by taking one hit for you or saving you from a fatal fall into a pit. There are 48 bees in total, and while you don't need all of them to complete the lair, it allows for players of a wider range of skill to still be able to complete it.

As Yooka-Laylee, you can spin and stomp your way through enemies while leaping around onto platforms and bashing your way through boxes. There is some conservation of momentum to how Yooka-Laylee moves, so as you chain together moves or perform boosted rolls, you begin to speed through the level. If you take a hit, Laylee panics and flies from Yooka's shoulders. For a brief period, you can touch Laylee to get her back, but until then, you cannot do a lot of special moves. If you wait too long, Laylee really flies off and only returns if you reach one of the bells in the level.

Each level contains five coins within them, so completionists should be on the lookout for the coins, which can be well hidden. You can also collect quills, which are the game's only currency, but their usage wasn't covered in the presentation. After completing a level, you can also unlock transformed versions of the same level for additional fun.

The overworld is a top-down 2D area where you can't be harmed, so it's a great place to chill out between levels. It also has its own share of puzzles and secrets. For example, pushing a box into an innocuous pit may unlock a new area of the overworld, or throwing a bomb might uncover a new secret. It makes it more than a mere map screen and continues to have secrets to find as the map changes while you play the game.

The developers felt that while the previous game was good, they perhaps went a bit too far with some aspects of it. Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is meant to be streamlined and meticulously polished, and it'll be a better game for it. From what I've played, it seems that they've done a great job of achieving those goals, and I look forward to playing the sequel when it releases later this year.

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