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Video Game / Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

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Yooka & Laylee are back in a brand-new platform hybrid adventure!
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair (formerly code-named Project Bounce) is a 2½D platformer/adventure video game developed by Playtonic Games and published by Team17. It was released on October 8th, 2019 for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The game is not a direct sequel to the first Yooka-Laylee, but rather a spin-off which features 2D side-scrolling levels that are accessed from a 3D overworld.

Sometime after the events of Yooka-Laylee, Capital B. comes upon the Royal Stingdom and announces that he has created a new dungeon called the Impossible Lair, so named because it is allegedly impossible to beat. He kidnaps the members of Queen Phoebee's Beetallion and traps them in various Grand Tomes scattered throughout the Stingdom with the help of a mind-control device called the Hive Mind. Queen Phoebee recruits Yooka and Laylee to enter each Tome, rescue all the members of her Beetallion and brave the perils of the Lair to help save the Royal Stingdom from Capital B.

Unlike the first game and its 3D collect-a-thon platforming, Impossible Lair is a more traditional 2D platformer in the same style as the Donkey Kong Country series. However, 2D levels are accessed by navigating a 3D overworld with puzzle solving and item collection in an isometric perspective.

Uniquely, each of the levels has an alternative state that you can trigger by affecting its corresponding Grand Tome in the hub. For example, you can turn a Tome on its side to change a horizontal level into a vertical one, or spill some honey on the Tome to add said sticky substance throughout the level. Each of the states has five coins and at least one Beetallion bee to find.

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair contains examples of the following tropes:

  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: About half the tonics in the game are purely cosmetic. Some are new skins for Yooka and Laylee (such as a set of different color skins or big heads], while others are filters that change the look of the game world (such as making it cel-shaded or making it sepia tone).
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Unlike its spiritual predecessors, The Impossible Lair gives the player infinite lives, and the only cost for failure (aside from reverting to a checkpoint) is losing all the quills and T.W.I.T. coins you've earned up to that point. And even then, after you fail enough times you're given an option to skip to the next checkpoint.
    • Various tonics can further ease the burden, including letting you keep quills or T.W.I.T. Coins that you've collected upon dying, or increasing the number of checkpoints in the stage. You can't use Tonics in The Impossible Lair, however.
    • If you've solved a signpost's clue, they will bounce in place instead of swaying and let you know that you've figured out the hint they gave you if you speak to them. This makes it easier to know which clues you've already solved so you don't go through the game thinking you haven't done something right.
  • Armless Biped: The Meanyions, the basic enemies, are cute little gremlin creatures with big ears, big eyes, big mouths, big feet, and not much else.
  • Ascended Glitch: A number of Beetallion members in the overworld, meant to be found through secret exits in levels, can instead be collected using exploits and trickery on the overworld. Some T.W.I.T. coins can be collected in "incorrect" ways as well. Playtonic approves of the fans' ingenuity in finding these ways and has chosen to leave these tricks in.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Super Sonar Tonic. Equipping it gives Laylee the ability to emit a massive sonar blast that kills all the enemies onscreen, but you can only use it once per level and you receive a penalty to your collected quills after you finish the level.
  • Balloon Belly: Laylee's stomach expands while perfomring the Super Buddy Slam.
  • Bee Afraid: While most of the bees in the game are friendly, Capital B. is once again the Big Bad.
  • Big Good: Queen Phoebee is a heroic Distaff Counterpart to Capital B., serving as the leader of the Beetalion and aiding Yooka and Laylee whenever she can.
  • Black Comedy: The crates in a Block Puzzle are sapient and friends. Unfortunately, one is also significantly more fragile than the other.
    "Frank!! Who did this to you, old buddy?!"
  • Book Ends: The last altered level you are likely to unlock aside from the "bonus" fifth section of the overworld is the altered version of the first level, Capital Causeway.
  • Boss Bonanza: The only area with proper boss battles is the Impossible Lair itself, with multiple battles with Capital B strewn throughout the Lair.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • Your reward for getting all 200 T.W.I.T. coins is a real fourth tonic slot. It may sound cool, but by the time you've already collected every T.W.I.T. coin in the game, there's nothing left to do but unlock other Tonics (if you've found them on the map). And not to mention that the Impossible Lair doesn't allow the player to use any equipped Tonics.
    • Your reward for beating the Impossible Lair without the Beetallion Shield, other than the Golden Ending? The Golden Tonic. What does it do? It turns Yooka and Laylee gold. That's it.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: Originally, there were no checkpoints in the final level, necessitating your lengthy quest to assemble the Beetallion Shield. An update, released on 15th April 2020, added checkpoints for each of the four sections, each saving the amount of bees you have to this point. This means that earlier stages need to be replayed to keep more bees for later stages, but it is not necessary anymore to start all the way from the beginning. There's also a Tonic that lets you voluntarily invoke this trope by removing all but the midway checkpoint from each level.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Most major characters from the first game at least have a cameo appearance, with the exception of Rextro Sixtyfourus and Dr. Quack, the former of which is only namedropped in a couple of the Retraux tonics and the latter only has his Quack Corp logo appear on various objects throughout the game. Dr. Quack's absence is especially noteworthy because the ending of the first game had him and Capital B be blasted into the same book, yet despite Capital B making a reappearance, Quack is never mentioned by anyone.
  • Clothing Switch: The Chameleon Colors tonic lets you switch between several alternate palettes for Yooka and Laylee. One palette swaps Yooka and Laylee's color schemes, making Laylee green with red and yellow highlights, while Yooka is purple with pink and red highlights.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option:
    • At one point, you encounter The Great Rampo (a boss from the previous game) who has been reduced to a giant stationary eye and has decided to block your path. The only way to progress is to throw a bomb into his eye to make him cry tears that fill up a river (and alter one of the levels).
    • In order to enter Chapter 15, Turbine Trouble, you have to blow up someone's house.
  • Door to Before: In Cliffside Quest, each one of the colored gems you need to find to finish the level has a one-way door near it that returns you to the center of the stage where you use the gems.
  • Downloadable Content: Pre-orders for the game include a handful of extra Tonic mutators (after the game launched, these were made available for purchase separately).
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Most Tonics that aren't cosmetic alterations make the game slightly easier, with each one equipped adding a penalty to the number of Quills the player receives at the end of a level.
  • Escape Sequence: One marks the very end of the game ala Super Metroid. Word of God says this wasn't really meant to be difficult, just pretty intense since you've pretty much exhausted your Beetalion Shield by now.
  • Eternal Engine: A large number of stages are set inside factories in the Royal Stingdom, with a few late-game levels taking place inside airships instead. Nonetheless, they're filled with giant sawblades, stamping machinery, and conveyor belts.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Even Laylee admits she doesn't feel like making jokes when Trowzer's house burns down. Out of universe, it's still played for Black Comedy, though.
  • Face Ship: In a hidden room in Scareship Scroll, there's a giant blimp with Dr. Quack's face on it making flybys in the background.
  • Final Dungeon Preview: The game begins with an attempt by Yooka and Laylee at the eponymous Impossible Lair. Players actually can clear the level on their first attempt- it's just not likely without the Beetalion Shield. The demo even allows the players to play the Impossible Lair to the very end.
  • Game-Over Man: Every time you fail the Impossible Lair, the player is treated to Capital B laughing at your "Epic Fail". Notably this is the only place in the game this can happen, due to the lack of Video-Game Lives.
  • Genre Throwback: The Impossible Lair wears its Donkey Kong Country influences on its sleeve (a 2D platformer featuring two characters working together through levels that can either be rushed through quickly or combed through in search of secrets). It even throws in an overworld with Zelda-esque puzzles for good measure.
  • Gimmick Level: Cliffside Quest and its variation (Cliffside Quest - Cold) are nonlinear, open-ended stages the player can progress through in any order, unlike the other levels, which are more traditional platforming affairs.
  • Golden Ending: If one is able to clear the titular Impossible Lair without rescuing a single Beetalion soldier, the game cuts to a Call-Back to the beginning of the original game (with Yooka and Laylee sitting on their towels in Shipwreck Creek) where Laylee is writing the story of their highly unlikely feat down in the One Book. The player will also unlock a tonic that turns Yooka and Laylee to gold.
  • Green Boy Color: The "GB" tonic makes everything four shades of green, "just like it was on the Game Bee." There's also a tonic that makes the entire game display in the Game Boy resolution as well, so you can make the whole game look like a lost Game Boy game if you want.
  • Green Hill Zone: The first stage, Capital Causeway, is set in the idyllic suburbs of a town in the Royal Stingdom, crossing over peaceful hills with First Town.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Invoked. Throughout the overworld, there are signposts that will describe the location of a Tonic that would otherwise be completely undetectable. However, in the last section of the overworld to be unlocked, there's a signpost that will only say that there’s one tonic somewhere on the overworld that has no hints pointing to it. The signpost even straight-up suggests searching on the internet.
    • Less intentionally, there's the secret exit in Gasping Glade. You're supposed to simply wait by a puddle of toxic goo until a platform appears to carry you to the secret area. However, this is so unintuitive, many players have resorted to using crazy combinations of Tonics to reach the platform before it comes close.
  • Gusty Glade: The "Windy" variant of Windmill Way is full of gusts that push you back and forth. Meanwhile, the "Updraft" version of Urban Uprise features tornados that you can ride up and down.
  • Hard Mode Perks: While there are Tonics that make levels easier, some will instead increase the difficulty. Completing a level with one of these kinds of Tonics increases the payout of Quills.
  • The High Queen: Queen Phoebee is the beloved ruler of the Royal Stingdom, though she admits she's only had the job for about a week.
  • Hit Points: The Beetallion members that the duo rescues allow them to take an extra hit per member rescued when attempting the Impossible Lair. Averted in the normal stages, however, as Yooka can't take a hit without either losing Laylee or dying if Laylee is not with him.
  • Hornet Hole: Despite being set in a kingdom inhabited by bees, downplayed. "Sawblade Evade - Stuck" takes the regular level and covers it in sticky honey. And the "Capital Causeway - Chaos" shows that the homes in the Royal Stingdom are indeed made of honeycomb, but this usually can't be seen when the houses are intact.
  • Interface Spoiler: You can take a glance at your Medals, the game's in-game achievement system in the pause menu that mirrors the trophies/achievements in the PS/XBO/Steam releases, as soon as you start the game. One of the medals' conditions is "Get a real fourth Tonic slot", spoilering the nature of the fourth Tonic slot you receive from Trowzer in the middle of the game.
  • Joke Item: You start the game with three tonic slots, but Trowzer presents an opportunity to get a fourth. The first Fourth Tonic Slot he gives you comes in the form of a tonic, which means it takes up a tonic slot when equipped, making it completely useless besides enabling the achievement for having four tonics equipped at once.
  • Large and in Charge: Queen Phoebee is about as large as Yooka, while the members of the Beetallion are closer in size to ordinary bees. Capital B is also much larger than most of his minions.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Trowzer, after frequently blockading the player's progress with Paywalls, later allows the player to buy a barbecue for him to make Yooka and Laylee lunch. This accidentally burns down Trowzer's home, and reveals the last hidden section of the overworld.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Trowzer has set up a series of blockades and requires Yooka and Laylee hand over a certain number of T.W.I.T. coins in order to progress past them. What are these blockades called? Paywalls.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: "Pagie Power", heard whenever the Pagies from the first game alter the overworld, which only lasts a few seconds.
  • Marathon Level: The titular "Impossible Lair" is far, FAR longer than any other stage in the game, including multiple boss fights and, in its original version, no checkpoints whatsoever. Checkpoints were added via an update, but it still requires revisiting earlier stages to keep more bees on later stages, so it still takes a fairly long time to complete it. There is also an option to play through everything without any bees in one go.
  • Mercy Mode: If you fail at a certain section of level enough times, the Checkmate just before it will turn gold and offer to let you skip to the next Checkmate. One of his possible dialogues when he does so even has him say he told the developers the level was too hard.
  • Mind-Control Device: Capital B's "Hive Mind", which he uses to take control of the Royal Stingdom's Beetallion.
  • Monster Brother, Cutie Sister: Capital B and Queen Phoebee. Capital B is a giant, obese bee monster, while Phoebee is more anthropomorphic and conventionally cute.
  • Mook Maker: Some levels contain little vortexes that spawn enemies, and the state change for Chapter 3, Wild Web Woods, involves switching on a device that Dr. Puzz made so that it spews an endless tide of enemies into the book containing the level.
  • Mythology Gag: The giant googly eyes found on practically everything in the last game make an appearance through a tonic, giving all the enemies an extra set of giant googly eyes and with them an additional Hit Point.
  • Nintendo Hard: Invoked with the Impossible Lair, a sadistic gauntlet whose difficulty far exceeds anything else in the game. The whole point in playing through the other levels is to gradually power up the Beetallion Shield, allowing you to take up to 50 extra hits before dying.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The Impossible Lair is actually possible to get through without any of the Beetalion, just incredibly hard.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: One of the game's Tonics changes Yooka's body type to look more human, along with one that removes his tail.
  • Not Completely Useless: The Googly Eyes tonic is supposed to be a raw detriment that makes the game harder in exchange for increasing the quills you receive: It gives all enemies an extra hit point. However, this can actually be a bonus in certain situations: Since a number of quills and TWIT Coins require you to bounce off an enemy's head to reach them, they can become unreachable if you jump off an enemy, defeating it, but then miss the rest of your jump. The Googly Eyes give you another shot at it, giving these puzzles in the game a bit more wiggle room.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Yooka becomes this after the duo take damage and Laylee flies off-screen. He also loses some abilities like the Buddy Slam and the midair twirl, so you're better off keeping Yooka and Laylee together.
  • Out of Focus: Dr. Quack, one of the main villains of the first game, does not appear in person at all in this game, nor is he even mentioned However, the Quack Corp logo is still seen all throughout the game on obstacles, crates, and bombs, and the bombs even have the ability to morph into mechanical ducks when thrown. A hidden room in the level Scareship Scroll also has a blimp Face Ship with his face plastered on it.
  • Palette Swap: A cosmetic tonic allows Yooka and Laylee to instantly change their colors at the press of a button while in a chapter.
  • Patchwork Map: The overworld has a deep forest, a desert, a beach, and a spooky cavern all mashed closely together.
  • Product Placement: The Broken Controller tonic is instead called "Broken Joy-Con™" on the Switch version (although it still uses the generic controller icon)
  • Production Throwback: The game's menu theme is a remix of David Wise's "Jungle Challenge", a song made for promoting the original Yooka-Laylee kickstarter that was not added to the actual game.
  • Purposely Overpowered: The Quill Magnet tonic is the most expensive in the game (outside of Trowzer's fake fourth tonic slot), has no quill detriment to its use (unlike other beneficial tonics), and makes the Ghost Quills a cinch to collect all the quills from—a fact the tonic's description points out.
  • Remixed Level: Every level has an alternate form, which you access by manipulating the location or surroundings of the level on the overworld. Variations can range from freezing over a level filled with water spouts to rushing backwards through the level while being chased by a laser.
  • Self-Deprecation: At one point Phoebee asks the duo how their adventure is going, prompting Laylee to comment that it's going better than their last one. Yooka is not amused.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The "desert" portion of the overworld is sandy and dry. However, none of the levels within are desert-themed; it's just the overworld.
  • Shout-Out: While not quite as fourth-wall breaking as its predecessor, The Impossible Lair still managed to sneak in a few winks to the camera, including:
  • Silliness Switch: Several of the tonics are purely for silliness purposes, such as the ones that give Yooka and Laylee big heads, or one that makes the whole world have flashing disco colors.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Several levels, such as the fountain level and Cliffside Quest, have "frozen" alterations.
  • Suddenly Voiced: The One Book, the super important MacGuffin from the first game, returns and now is a sentient character with full lines of dialogue.
  • Take That!:
    • One of the game's overworld mechanics involves paying off Trowzer, who has locked away most of the gameworld (and thus the game's content) behind giant literal Paywalls. If questioned about the Paywall mechanic he states it's a quick way for him to make money off of the protagonists wanting access to what's behind them.
    • There's a swimming level in The Impossible Lair. Capital B introduces it by saying "Right, a water section will frustrate you. No-one likes those!" Could also be partial Self-Deprecation, since Rare themselves made a few of those water sections back in the day.
  • A Taste of Power: Yooka and Laylee are given access to the Beetalion Shield by Queen Phoebee for a brief segment of the opening levelnote . Then Capitol B uses the Hive Mind to steal it from the duo, right before the first attempt at the Impossible Lair. This helps set up the game's dynamic between the Impossible Lair and the Beetalion Shield.
  • Tide Level: The altered version of Turbine Trouble, appropriately titled "Turbine Trouble - Tidal," features a rising and falling water level.
  • Unique Enemy:
    • The alternate version of Queasy Quay features two instances of a tadpole-like enemy that swims back and forth. It's the only place this enemy appears, with most water enemies being the various Ineptopus enemies. There are other tadpole enemies as well, but they jump out of the water, not swim in it.
    • The "Powered" version of Production Path features Meanyions on flying scooters that pop out of one enemy spawner near the end of the stage.
  • Wham Line: Queen Phoebee casually drops the revelation at the ending that not only is she a member of V.I.L.E., but Capital B. is her brother.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: If you trigger the game's Mercy Mode by dying enough times in one spot, one possible comment the Checkmate can make in response is that he told them this part of the level was too hard, but nobody asked him.
  • World of Pun: The tonic names, world names, character names and many of the lines are, if anything, even more pun-ishing than the last game's.
  • You All Look Familiar: Planker is now a member of an entire species of sentient talking signposts that give out hints to the locations of overworld Tonics after you pay them quills. At one point Laylee even refers to one of them as "a Planker" in dialogue, meaning that Planker is the name of a species rather than the name of a specific character.


Video Example(s):


Yooka-Laylee and the Impossibl

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair (formerly code-named Project Bounce) is a 2D platformer/adventure video game developed by Playtonic Games. The game was released on October 8th, 2019 for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, and was published by Team17. The game is not a direct sequel to the first Yooka-Laylee, but rather a spin-off which features 2D side-scrolling levels that are accessed from a 3D overworld.

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