Review: Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (3.4 GB)
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Publisher: Team 17 Digital LTD
Developer: Playtonic Games Ltd
Original MSRP: $29.99 (US), £24.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 3
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

A good side-scrolling platformer needs tight controls, excellent hit-detection, and secret areas. Collectibles aren’t a necessity, but they definitely help with the longevity. Well, I find out if Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair has any or all of those things in my review, which you’re reading now.

I never got the chance to play the first game, simply titled Yooka-Laylee, but did hear a few complaints about it. The spiritual successor to the Banjo-Kazooie series apparently felt dated and unoriginal according to various reviews. I still want to give it a shot regardless, as it looked fine to me.

Gameplay:
The Impossible Lair is more akin to Donkey Kong Country, as it mostly sticks to a side-scrolling view, aside from the Overworld part of the game. Controls are easy enough to get used to, although some may forget that, without Laylee, some moves are impossible, so don’t get hit and let that bat fly away.

Laylee doesn’t instantly fly off when the Chameleon gets hit. Instead, the purple bat flies around in the general area for a short time, and if Yooka can get close enough, the little mammal will land back on its head.

T.W.I.T. Coins, Tonics, and a bucket load of Quills need to be collected during this platforming adventure to rescue the trapped bees at the end of each level. The coins are used to unlock the Paywalls separating parts of the Overworld. Yes, you read that correctly, actual Paywalls.

A maximum of three Tonics can be equipped at any one time. While most just do some cool or peculiar cosmetic effects, some actually alter the game in some way, either making the enemies harder, adding or removing checkpoints, and even messing with the controls. Anything that makes the game more difficult also increases the Quill multiplier.

Quills are used to buy hints and any unlocked Tonics. They are quite easy to obtain, and replaying a few levels should amass enough to buy a cool looking Tonic. Quills can also be used to buy hints from helpful signposts littered around the Overworld map. These give clues to hidden Tonics.

The bees are the Royal Beettalion Guard and allow for an extra hit in Capital B’s Impossible Lair, which is the final level. In a neat twist, this can be attempted at any time and as often as one wants. As the name suggests, it isn’t easy, and is designed to give Yooka-Laylee some pain.

There are five hidden T.W.I.T. Coins in each level and once collected are mine to keep, even if I die moments after. Some of these are easy to find, but most are hidden behind false walls or difficult to reach platforms. I have killed my little characters and replayed from the last checkpoint, just to get the sneaky coins.

I really like that each level has an alternate state, usually unlocked by doing something in the Overworld, like changing the path of a stream causing the level to flood. Both have their own challenges and Coins to find.

I have a few minor complaints. First off, there are no real boss fights throughout the game and the enemy variety could do with plumping up a bit. Because of this, there aren’t many tactics needed to progress apart from mostly landing on any enemy or avoiding it, depending on whether or not it can be killed.

Visuals:
The Impossible Lair runs at a silky 60fps and looks great. The environments and inventive Tonics are what make this game stand out. I love how the Overworld opens up with some great areas to explore. Some of the alternate levels put a clever twist on the standard platforming action and open up areas that seemed impossible to reach.

There are a few noticeable delights in this game, from the beautiful yet simple Start menu, to the pretty backgrounds of many levels. I must say, this is a nice looking game.

Audio:
The music and sound effects fit perfectly, with merry and playful tunes. It’s enough to make anyone smile. The Impossible Lair also has some really cute ‘bee’ music in the Overworld.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only with no online component.

Conclusion:
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is a fun and enjoyable platformer. The levels are diverse and entertaining, with some great alternate states that add an entirely new way to play. I became so hooked on unlocking all of the Tonics and secrets that I almost forgot I could attempt the final boss lair whenever I wanted.

While the game isn’t perfect, I still found it to be enjoyable throughout and I really hope Playtonic Games continues this genre and we get an even more polished sequel or even some DLC.

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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