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Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair Review (Switch)

Game: Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair
Genre: Adventure
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam and PS4)
Developers|Publishers: Independent Arts Software| Team 17
Price: US$ 29.99| AUS$ 45.00 | €29.99|£24.99
Age Rating: EU 3+ | AU G  |US E
Release Date: 8th October 2019

Review Code Used Many Thanks To Team 17

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is the prequel to Playtonic’s original release Yooka-Laylee. It’s a 2D platform adventure game where the player takes control of the duo Yooka a Chameleon and Laylee a purple Bat. Jump, roll and twirl your way through 20 bright, colourful and fun 2D side scrolling stages. They are accessed from a 3D top down view over-world that is packed with secrets.

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Pooka & Laylee to the rescue…with a buzzing help

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lairs’ story is introduced to the player at the start of the game. Queen Phoebee’s bees from the Beettalion have been captured and controlled by the villain Capital B. It’s Yooka-Laylee’s job to rescue the bees.

The levels are accessed via books placed on the over world-map. And each of them is littered with bees to rescue which in turn form a bee shield for Yooka-Laylee. They help defeat Capital B in the Impossible Lair. The Impossible Lair can be accessed from the very start of the game, much like the castle in Breath of the Wild. Players can take on the challenge of the Lair after the opening scenes if they are feeling up to it, however they won’t get too far without the shield that the bees provide for protection.

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Bees are not the only items you collect in the levels, you need to collect Quills which, once  you have enough of, are used to unlock new levels and upgrades.

T.W.I.T coins are also scattered across the levels and these are used to open Pay Wall’s that block the path on the over-world. These Pay Wall’s are guarded by Trowzer and you have to Trowzer with T.W.I.T coins  before he kindly opens the gate. Another section of the world opens to you!

Tonics are unlocked as you move through the game and these work as boosts for Yooka and Laylee. For instance, it can be used to ad checkpoints on a level.

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Catch Laylee when your energy is low

There are no extra lifes on the levels. If you die you lose Quill’s and you are sent back to the last checkpoint you passed by. A great feature for younger gamers is that when you die over and over, the game gives you the chance to move ahead to the next checkpoint. Wonderful if you find a particular section to be too difficult.

Laylee the bat serves as an extra hit point. So once Yooka takes too much damage, Laylee flies off in a very erratic pattern above Yooka and you have a set amount of time to catch her, it’s reminiscent of baby Mario from Yoshi Island only Laylee moves much quicker! If you don’t manage to catch Laylee in time, she can return to Yooka further on in the level by hitting a Laylee bell. A good thing too that she can return, because without Laylee on his head Yooka can not preform some moves. A ground pound and a double jump are off the table then and that makes reaching all those hidden collectables virtually impossible to manage.

The Books can be manipulated

Levels are well designed and full of obstacles to avoid and plenty of items to collect. There are multiple secrets to find along the way. Barrels to be shot out of, vines to swing across and keys to find to open doors.

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There is a wide variety of environmental scenes for Yooka-Layle to roll and jump through, such as the obligatory water level or one featuring an industrial theme. As I’ve mentioned the levels are accessed via Books on the over-world map. By finding secret places and switches on the map and by talking to NPC’s the level within a Book can be changed. The levels can be manipulated. You can add items to it.

For instance, on one of the early levels there are towers of water to jump across. When you add a Frost Berry to the Book this freezes everything in the level. The towers of water change to slippery ice towers instead. It adds brilliant variety to the game and also doubles the number of levels for the player from 20 to 40.

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Crisp graphics, good soundtrack and controls

Controlling the duo is done completely by the Joy-cons. The controls are tight and responsive and work very well. The game preformed well overall apart from quite a long loading time when you first turn the game on. Developers are hoping to improve this with further updates to the game.

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Yooka-Laylee is a beautiful game to look at with its bright, crisp graphics and an enjoyable soundtrack to accompany the gameplay. The whole package reminds me a lot of the Donkey Kong Country series or  Banjo-Kazooie. This bear and bird duo appeared on the Nintendo 64 years ago. Most of the people in the team of developers of Playtonic Games where the key creative talent behind both those games. Hardly surprising that the Yooka-Laylee series is reminiscent of those.

Conclusion

It’s a lot of fun discovering all the secrets on the levels. The fact that the over-world is so interactive with its own secrets and changing environment is a great idea. It certainly adds more areas to explore for the player. When you think you have collected enough Bees to form a shield and provide extra hit points for Yooka-Layee you are free to tackle Capital B’s Impossible Lair at any time. Though my record so far proves I still need to find more Bee’s.

Yooka-Laylee is a great addition to the Platform adventure genre on the Nintendo Switch and if you are a fan of platform games and want a challenge that is fun and enjoyable then Yooka-Laylee should have a home on your Nintendo Switch.

Verdict: I Like It A Lot.

I like it a lot!

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