Yooka-Laylee revived the 3D platforming genre for modern audiences. The Kickstarter-funded throwback was powered by former Rare developers who worked on games like Banjo-Kazooie. Although it received somewhat lukewarm reviews, it went on to sell over a million copies. Playtonic still hopes to create a true sequel, but in the meantime they’re making a spin-off. Rather than sticking to 3D, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair pays homage to 2D platformers.
The Impossible Lair: A new style
The side-scrolling action should remind you of Donkey Kong Country, another classic Rare franchise. However, there’s still a bit of 3D fun. These levels are connected by a 3D overworld full of puzzles and secrets. As we recently learned, actions on this overworld can impact the levels. For example, making the Great Rampo cry triggers a storm in Gasping Glade.
Publisher Team17 recently showed off this feature (and others) during a livestream event. The community managers for Team17 and Playtonic invited character art director Steve Mayles and character artist Kevin Bayless onto the stream to discuss the game as they played.
Yooka-Laylee devs show their work
Yooka-Laylee had a lot of charm and potential, but it had some issues, especially at launch. Patches fixed bugs and improved the camera, but some of the 3D platforming still felt a bit off. Switching to a mostly-2D gameplay style is less ambitious, but it should simplify development. Hopefully it leads to a more consistently great game. It’s also fun to see former Rare staff returning to that Donkey Kong Country style. You can look forward to The Impossible Lair sometime later this year.