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Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair review: Nothing wrong with a bit of Kong

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

(PS4/XO/Sw/PC) ★★★★ Age: 7+

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Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

Yooka-Laylee and The Impossible Lair

Yooka-Laylee and The Impossible Lair

Contra Rogue Corps

Contra Rogue Corps

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Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

It's quite the audacious gambit to give away the end from the start. But that's exactly what happens in this delightful kid-friendly 2.5D platformer - sequel to 2017's homage to Nintendo veteran Rare's golden years.

The Impossible Lair apes Rare's colourful 1994 classic Donkey Kong Country in almost everything but name. It resuscitates the awful puns from the original Yooka-Laylee too, which will be a plus or minus depending on your taste. Brace yourself anyway for endless bee jokes and some sneaky one-liners for the mums and dads.

But the greatest surprise (albeit one filched wholesale from another Nintendo epic Breath of The Wild) is to invite you to tackle the final boss first. You'll fail, of course, because of the lengthy, vertiginous challenge. Instead, you're better off first tackling the preceding 20 levels, the completion of which each gives you an extra chunk of health and enabling you to try the boss again at any time with a higher chance of success.

Those levels make for a thorny challenge, all finely timed jumps, dodge rolls and coordinated monster-clobbering - so very Donkey Kong Country, yet a fraction off the exquisite controls of Nintendo's platformer masterpieces. Every level also comes in a remixed version - perhaps reversed or with water hazards frozen into new platforms - which seems clever but often serves to act as padding.

That is Impossible Lair's shortcoming - that maybe it's too in awe of its inspiration to truly cut free with its imagination.



Contra: Rogue Corps

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Contra Rogue Corps

Contra Rogue Corps

Contra Rogue Corps

(XO/PS4/Sw/PC) ★★ Age: 18+

You can't even file this under 'So Bad It's Good', tempting as it is to want to see past the eye-rollingly cheesy storyline, the wonky shooting and the murky visuals. Reviving the long-dead side-scrolling run-and-gun Contra franchise as a top-down twin-stick shooter wasn't the worst idea, just one of a series of half-arsed notions that sinks Rogue Corps.

Woeful level design, unappealing weapons that constantly overheat and a restless camera all conspire to make you wonder what the suits at Konami were smoking when they green-lit this release.

Save your pennies instead for indie Contra knock-off Blazing Chrome, an honest clone that relives the glory days.

Indo Review