If the original Yooka-Laylee was a mostly solid homage to 3D action-platformers such as Banjo-Kazooie, then Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is a finely crafted love letter to side-scrolling 2D platformers like Donkey Kong Country. The colorful worlds, challenging platforming segments, and creative level designs are engaging from start to finish as you jump, roll, and spin your way towards defeating the evil Capital B and rescuing the pun-riddled world of bee-kind.
Experimenting with full 3D was fun, but The Impossible Lair shifts the perspective back to a more focused 2.5D-style, just like Nintendo’s own Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. The result is a spectacular and well-paced 12-hour adventure starring Yooka the chameleon and Laylee the bat. Each level requires quick reflexes using its snappy and responsive controls, along with a willingness to face a hefty dose of old-fashioned retro challenge. It’s certainly a tough, but fair, game. The story, meanwhile, is entirely forgettable outside of its function as an excuse to keep feeding you bee puns.