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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 2D platformer/adventure hybrid 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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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 will be impossible to beat. He kidnaps the members of Queen Phoebee's Beetallion and traps them inside of the Impossible Lair with the help of a mind-control device called the Hive Mind. Entering the Tome themselves, Yooka and Laylee are recruited by Queen Phoebee to go through the lair and rescue all the members of her Beetalion 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.

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Tropes relating to this game include:

  • Adventure Duo: Yooka and Laylee.
  • 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 a portion of one's quills. 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.
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Bad: Capital B.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: There are no checkpoints in the final level, necessitating your lengthy quest to assemble the Beetallion Shield. There's also a Tonic that lets you voluntarily invoke this trope.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Yooka's huge guy to Laylee's tiny girl.
  • 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 Trowser 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 no checkpoints whatsoever.
    • Checkpoints have been added via an update. 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.
  • 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.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: One of the game's Tonics changes Yooka's body type to look more human, along with removing his tail.
  • 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.
  • One Hitpoint 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 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.
  • Palette Swap: A cosmetic tonic allows Yooka and Laylee to instantly change their colors at the press of a button while in a chapter.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: While the original Yooka-Laylee had its share of difficult and aggravating moments, nothing in that game reached the level of gleefully cruel platforming hell contained within The Impossible Lair.
  • 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:
    • The description for the Tri-Twirl Tonic:
    • The description for the Spider-Cham Tonic:
    • The description for the Yooge Head Tonic:
    Yooka has a massive, massive head. Comedy gold, aye?
    • The description for the Comic Tonic:
    • The description for the Gritty Comic Tonic:
    • The description for the H2GO Tonic includes a nod to Enguarde the Swordfish.
    • Chapter 3 is titled "Wild Web Woods," a nod to the infamous DKC 2 level "Web Woods."
    • At one point during the tutorial, Capital B yells "Bah! Even a stubborn ape could roll-attack and then jump in mid-air!"
    • After you reconnect the pipes in the desert and allow air to blow, a big sentient pipe with googly eyes says "I hereby declare this spot "Breezeezy Peak"."
    • A poster in Scareship Scroll reads "There's always cake at Hivory Towers."
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Several levels, such as the fountain level and Cliffside Quest, have "frozen" alterations.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy, as well as Donkey Kong Country Returns.
  • 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 Trowser, 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!"
  • 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.
  • World of Pun: The tonic names, world names, character names and many of the lines are, if anything, even mothire 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.

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