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Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair Review

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Fast Facts

Title: Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair
Developer: Playtonic Games
Publisher: Team17 Digital
Genre: Action, Adventure, Jump’n’Run, Platformer
Platform: Xbox One
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 07/10/2019
Price:​ £24.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.

Note: Due to not being able to transfer images from my Xbox One because of an unknown issue, I had to provide captures from the game in a very…retro way by taking photos with my phone. I apologize for the lower quality that might fit the nostalgic feeling Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair gives away a bit overall, but isn’t the normal standard of either Rapid Reviews UK or my reviews. Hope you have fun either way!

The genre Jump’n’Run is probably the genre in video game history. It all started with a plumber wearing red and blue. After a couple of years he never even thought of retirement and countless development teams were reaching to give gamers more material to play – or should I say jump towards?

Rare is a name that every gamer should have at least heard of. Not just only because that team created a timeless prime example of a Jump’n’Run-masterpiece, but they also returned as a studio called Playtonic, which was formed by former Rare employees and have more adventures in store for Yooka and his trusty sidekick Laylee, the bat.  

Find out in my review for RRUK if Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair will keep me busy like a bee – or make me jump and run from it as fast as I (im)possibly can.

Let’s see if we can help Queen Phoebee then!

Bee-t it!

Capital B is back and has trouble with a capital letter too in store for our adorable, but slightly odd duo. Still not resting after Yooka and Laylee got him good, he is now on his mission to strike back. How? That evil baddie is casually robbing members of the Royal Bee Guard. Such a meanie.

Starting off also in the title occurring Impossible Lair level, you are facing a ridiculously hard challenge. The only solution to that unfortunate situation is to get the bee soldiers back, fighting for her majesty and lending you a helping wing to defeat Capital B once again.

It’s quite refreshing that the last stage of the game is accessible from the beginning, but…reaching that goal requires you to get the bees back to help you acting as a guardian so you can endure more damage. Because, even as a dedicated Jump’n’Run player, that level is insane and a platforming nightmare! So, gathering bees is essential and believe me – I’ve got them all and it was still quite hard! Why do you think this review took its sweet (as honey) time?

48/48! You gotta catch all those bees to have the best chance against Capital B!

How to save the bees 101

On the overall map, you’ll discover other little levels where you must get to the goal to find a bee. Easier said than done sometimes, since the stages have a decent amount of difficulty, but are naturally increasing as you progress. Frequently there are puzzles you have to solve on the map, tolls to pay to continue further on or challenges to face, gathering access to books with often two variations of that level.

On your search for the Royal Beettalion, you will enter carefully planned levels and the skillset Yooka has made it fun to make progress through the different kinds of stages. Just like the player’s probably familiar with, jumping on an enemy’s head will cause damage. Yooka can also roll to damage the henchmen of Capital B.

On the world map, you will also have the power-ups you might know from the previous title: fire, water and ice berries. Even though Yooka cannot jump as high as in the different stages there, he will need to make good use of those fruits to explore the overall world.

Getting bored while playing Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is, you guessed it, impossible!

Capital J for joy!

The developers of platformers sure have a hidden and an exquisite talent to place traps into the right place, so the one up for the challenge will end up falling for it. Playtonic is no exception in Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair. The controls are fluid and highly responsive, though. Everything that went wrong cannot be blamed in lacking controls.

A big shoutout to the soundtrack, it was always just a joy to listen to. Grant Kirkhope, David Wise, Matt Griffin and Dan Murdoch pulled off a well balanced and outstanding work, with lots of track to remember and add to your video gaming playlist. Personal number one: Factory Fright.

Level design-wise, you will find carefully crafted levels with the right chemistry of colours that create the individual atmosphere, a stunning, fitting tune playing along as well as wonderful variety so you will experience a lot in your play-through.

Colours, colours, colours! Yooka and Laylee look stunning just as the level design in general.


Do you need to play the previous Yooka-Laylee? Absolutely not. A few references were made, but it is not necessary to have played the prequel to fully enjoy this successor. I haven’t and I am interested to check the previous title out now. I can highly recommend Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair. Keeping you busy for hours; this platformer will not let you down.

You can change the look of Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair with a tonic. Standard for me, though!

And if you consider yourself a completionist, you can always get all the hidden coins or quills in levels or search for the fun tonics, that add some effects to your game. May it be another art style in this 2D platformer or the possibility to catch Laylee better after she was scared away.

The only little bit missing from it and preventing Yooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair being a perfect 5/5, is that tonics might have been more useful and that the side characters are not as charming as our heroes.

So, when are you going to help Queen Phoebee and this poor fella?

This game is so much fun, so grab it if you are up for a great Jump’n’Run!

Rapid Reviews Rating

You can purchase Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair from the Microsoft Store on the following link: Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair – Microsoft Store

You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.

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