Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is the latest game from publishers Team 17, most famous for its irreverent Worms series. A sequel 2017's Kickstarter success Yooka-Laylee, which was itself billed as a spiritual successor to the classic Banjo-Kazooie series, the new game moves the action to a 2.5D plane, doubling down on its predecessor's platforming elements.
The original Yooka-Laylee launched to a lukewarm critical reception, with most reviewers agreeing that while it recaptured the charm of its spiritual successor, it was also replete with technical problems and outdated game design, giving the impression the title had hoped to sell on nostalgia alone. Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is perhaps a reaction to this, with its 2.5D game design and a difficulty curve that rises steeply during the titular Lair. This sudden difficulty spike is part of the reason that very few people will be able to 100% complete the game, as the only way to get the Secret Ending, and the achievement and Tonic that goes with it, is to complete the entire Lair without any extra hits.
Avoid the Bees
An instruction to avoid the bees would be fairly straightforward in any other platformer, but in Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, avoiding the bees actually makes defeating the returning villain Capital B even harder. After finishing the game's short intro, players can immediately enter the final level, the Impossible Lair itself, but only those who want to get the Secret Ending should attempt it straight away.
Instead, the game is designed to require players to go through the rest of its Donkey Kong-style levels first, collecting bees that act as damage-shields in the hard-as-nails Lair. But to get the Secret Ending, players will need to ignore the extra levels and complete the Lair without any bees for support.
Making it through the Lair
As it was designed to be attempted with a significant buffer of damage-preventing bees, the Impossible Lair is an extreme platforming challenge. Fortunately, the Yooka-Laylee series has a mechanic that means players won't immediately fail when taking damage. When damaged without bees, the team of chameleon Yooka and bat Laylee splits apart, and if the player can use Yooka to catch Laylee before too much time has passed, then the damage is negated. Without this mechanic it would be near-impossible to make it through the Lair without bees and unlock the Secret Ending; with it, it's merely extremely difficult. Unfortunately, it's too early to say whether the level has a skip glitch like the one in the 2017 title, which allowed players to circumvent a large portion of the game.
Without spoiling anything, Yooka-Laylee's Secret Ending itself recognizes the absurd difficulty of the challenge needed to unlock it, and naturally comes with an achievement, as well as a tonic usable in other levels and a special medal on the title screen. Doubtless, those skilled few who manage to make it will enjoy being able to sit back, put the Yooka-Laylee Rap on repeat, and bask in their own success.
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is out now for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.