Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair
Team17 Digital Ltd
Yooka-Laylee is back with this 2.5D sequel, this time paying tribute to the fantastic Donkey Kong! There's plenty to keep platforming fans happy, but it's a real challenge with some tough levels. You can access the last level and final boss from the very start of the game, and therein lies the challenge! It's impossible at the start and the rest of the game is there to help you beat it.
If you've already played Yooka-Laylee, you'll be familiar with the unlikely duo formed by Yooka the chameleon and Laylee the bat. Now, in this sequel, the evil Captain B. is back and more cunning than ever. He has just finished building a terrifying machine: the Hivemind, capable of controlling the minds of bees...
So, welcome to Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, but be aware that the gameplay here is very different to the first game.
This is a game with 2D platforming levels set within a 3D world to explore, strongly reminiscent of Donkey Kong Country. And that's no coincidence, because this game is a tribute developed by the brains behind the cult Donkey Kong classics.
We loved the soundtrack! The music, still composed by David Wise and Grant Kirkhope, no longer draws inspiration fromBanjo-Kazooie, but channels the tunes of Donkey Kong. Often with a better result!
Our favourite part? The main world is a kind of giant 3D hub from where you can set off to the traditional level of your choice. This hub also serves as a vast playground, with exploration, puzzles, challenges, and more... But better yet, the things you do in the hub alter what you'll find in the 2D levels.
If, for example, you solve a little puzzle that breaks a dam, it will flood the 2D levels, drastically changing how you play them. This is a fantastic mechanic and a great way to extend the game's playtime.
Our tip: The real novelty in Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is the ability to enter the final level right at the start of the game. But we wouldn't recommend it! In the developer's own words, it's made up of a compilation of sequences that they removed from the game's different levels because they thought they were just too hard at first.
To make it through, you'll need to save each of the soldiers in the bee army that have been kidnapped by the evil Captain B. Each of them will give you an extra life point in the final level (that's 48 extra lives in total), which will come in handy as there are no checkpoints! You'd do well to beat all of the 2D levels before you even attempt it.
All the more so because you only have two lives to begin with! When Yooka takes a hit, Laylee takes off from his head and flies around in a panic. You've then got a few seconds to get back to your bee. If you are too slow, Laylee disappears and the only way you can be reunited is if you find a bell hidden in the level, but these are pretty rare.
It's certainly possible to survive without Laylee, but the slightest bit damage will get you the game over screen.
We loved the way the game helps you: if some sequences are too tough and cause you to die again and again, you'll be given the chance to skip straight to the next checkpoint and collect a soldier bee. Perfect for the youngest gamers and anyone without much patience.
If you enjoyed the Donkey Kong Country series, you'll be delighted with this game that gives nothing away to Nintendo's AAA titles.
Publisher: Team17 Digital Ltd
Developer: Playtonic Games
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