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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair Demo Impressions


After I complimented Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair as “not a mess”, KoopaTV kind of left it at that and moved on. However, today Playtonic and Team17 released a Nintendo Switch demo, so in the interest of backing up my statement from the months-ago released, I decided to play it. For all I know, I'm wrong, and I owe it to the readers (you) to correct that, or at least elaborate.

For whatever reason, Yooka (chameleon) and Laylee (bat) are summoned to the Royal Stingdom (in a book) to take down Capital B, a cool-looking big bee. Queen Phoebee is concerned that Capital B has a “bee mind control device”, the “hive mind!” This will enslave all of the bees in the Royal Stingdom.

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair title screen demo
I don't really know why Yooka is involved in this, and if they really wanted to be, why are they swimming against the book's suction-vortex?
I shouldn't need to press L and R to get them to stop unless it's against their will.

The demo takes us through a tutorial for the controls (press B to jump, Y while moving to roll and Y while stationary to do a basic attack... and you can do a roll-jump and a jump-attack) as well as the Beettalion mechanic. (You can take a hit for each bee you got.)

After the tutorial, there was what I assume is a tutorial boss fight against Capital B, but he used his Hivemind to take our Beettalion. I... lost the fight, and quite early, and instead of getting a game over, I triggered the next part of the story in the new overworld mechanic, where Queen Phoebee says each member of the Beettalion is in a chapter accessible in this overworld. Chapter 1 is Capital Causeway, and I must rescue the bee here!

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair Capital Causeway Stage Clear celebration demo
Since Capital Causeway is the only chapter I got every T.W.I.T COIN for, it's the only one I'm including in this article as a screenshot.

After completing that, we have access to more chapters, including Chapter 2: Factory Fright. Truthfully, I didn't even get all of the T.W.I.T. COINs on my first try. The platforming/puzzles here are certainly a step-up from the world 1 difficulty in the Donkey Kong Country games, though a lot of it is... kind of fake difficulty, of the “you get one chance to succeed here [because nothing respawns] and it's not even obvious that you're in the midst of a puzzle or what this thing even is.”

There's also Pagie Challenge Levels accessible in the overworld. Completing them alters the overworld, such as lowering a ledge that's otherwise way too high to jump to, so you can make your way to Chapter 3: Wild Web Woods. There's a lot of spiders here that are kind of invincible to things. The demo also provides access to Chapter 4: Frantic Fountains, which is based around water geysers going up and down. After completing this level, we're apparently stuck at an impasse, and Queen Phoebee flies over and helps create a frost berry tree which we use on the chapter book, unlocking Frantic Fountains - Frozen. Obviously this invalidates all of that water and turns it into an ice level, with a new Beettalion member to rescue and more T.W.I.T. COINs.

After this, I went to explore the Impossible Lair for the first time, which forcibly ended my demo. I... gotta admit that I don't have any desire to buy the full game. The only thing I kind of want to see is what playing through the Impossible Lair is like, which I didn't get to do in the demo but was the thing that I said in my original article was what tied the game together as the central theme. The gameplay is sort of... generic, a more rough Donkey Kong Country that feels a bit unfair. Like, it's not genuinely difficult to get through these world 1 levels, but it is non-intuitive to 100% them. To the point that I don't find it worth it to bother going back.

At least the music is nice. 

You are free to download the Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair demo on your own Nintendo Switch and share your thoughts on it in the comments section. ...You're free because the demo is free and so is commenting. You're not free to buy the game, but it is currently on sale as of writing. ($20.09 instead of $29.99.)


  1. I got the Steam version. Might review that here after Little Town Hero. (I'm waiting for the next Rewards round to review Little Town Hero)

  2. I'm still going to play the original Yooka-Laylee someday, but I have very little interest in Impossible Lair despite it getting more praise in general.


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