There’s a new world record speedrun for Yooka-Laylee. Held by runner Kainalo and coming in at a lightning-fast 13:57, the run is a great example of all the tricks in a runner’s bag.
I’ll admit that my interest in Yooka-Laylee is pretty thin, and that Heather Alexandra’s criticisms that “it pads playtime with demanding an arbitrarily high amount of plot trinkets to proceed, it retains floaty and unsatisfying combat, and it generally fails to build up the foundation of the original game” was enough to let me know that the game was not for me.
However, all those things she listed are almost universally skipped in Kainalo's highly technical run of the game, and so maybe this is how I should try to play the game.
Manipulating what parts of the game you actually have to deal with is a huge part of the speedrun, and so Kainalo never does much combat, and more often than not is somewhere between the walls of the levels. Sometimes the run accomplishes this by jumping or clipping out of the bounds where the player is meant to go, like by jumping on a barrel at the beginning of the game.
Other times, it is through a more direct manipulation of how the game is rendering the world, such as the midpoint of the run where a runner needs to butt-stomp into a wall and reset V-sync at the same time. Apparently that just pops you right out into the void between levels, allowing for some real free-wheeling movement.
Kainalo's excellent control of the game's characters is pretty impressive, too, since I know that any platformer game is one slightly bad jump or incorrect movement input away from inducing extreme rage and disappointment.
I also did not realise how much of Yooka-Laylee involves fleeing from bees. There's just bees everywhere. Too many bees, one might say.
It's hard to see how much shorter this speedrun can get, but I'm willing to peek in on this bat and lizard from time to time to see if they can become even speedier.