Yooka-Laylee are back, and even though you might not exactly know who they are then be prepared to get to know them. Two years ago ex-rare and Nintendo developers combined forces to bring a spiritual successor to Banjo Kazooie. And although that dream didn’t completely come true, Yooka-Laylee was a decent 3D platformer in the end. Now they are back, and this time they take note of another popular character while they head off in the 2D dimension.
In Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, Yooka and Laylee take on the notorious Capital B again, but this time for a different purpose. The idea is to save the Royal Beettalion Guard from Queen Phoebee in every level. Are you going to save the queen’s bees, or are you planning to face the biggest challenge in one go?
When you start playing, you immediately notice that the game is quite different from the original. Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is primarily a 2.5D platformer instead of 3D. The gameplay actually reminds you of that of Donkey Kong Country Returns. This is not surprising, because part of the team at Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair used to work on that very game back in the Wii-era.
However, this game also has its own powers, beyond comparisons. Instead of making many different levels, the creators have chosen to make a second variant of each level. For example, one level changes because the water completely freezes in the level, or they are made more difficult by allowing a whole swarm of bees to fly around. Yes, this means that in theory there are fewer levels, but the levels are completely different and they can become even more challenging. A nice addition to the game is that the actions you perform in a 3D overworld can affect the 2.5D levels. For example, you can help a character with a machine so that the aforementioned bees go into the level.
Outside of the 2.5D levels there is also that aforementioned 3D overworld. Here you walk from level to level like you might see in some Mario games, but in the meantime you also solve small puzzles and assignments. In the 3D overworld you cannot control the camera yourself. This may be a shame, but it makes it clearer where you have to go.
The Tonics are also back. Of these items, 64 can be found in the overworld and they all have their own functionality. Like how it is possible to change the appearance of Yooka and Laylee by using a Tonic, throw a color filter over the level or even adjust the way of how you play. In that regard the Tonics help in making the game more interesting and giving you new ways to experience the game.
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair looks very good on the Nintendo Switch. The game is super colorful and is full of details, both in the foreground and background. The lightning on both characters and objects is also superb as is to be expected by ex-developers of Donky Kong. In addition, just like in Nintendo’s biggest ape game the music is also top notch. It’s not on the same heights as what David Wise made but it sure is memorable. This all makes Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair a must play if you enjoy a good platformer once in a while.
Yooka-Laylee is a great platformer and a good pick up for any fan of the genre.