Yoku’s Island Express is a 2D open world Metroidvania pinball game, and yes, the game is as fun as it sounds. Learn more about it in our Yoku’s Island Express review!
Yoku, the main protagonist, is a dung beetle who recently became the Island’s newest postman. Yoku’s Island Express tales the gameplay mechanics of pinball and applies it to a 2D platforming/Metroidvania experience for a game that is a lot of fun. Once the game gets going you will find different colored paddles in the style of pinball flippers and pads that can push you to higher ledges to reach said flippers and platforms. As you can imagine, this is not your typical pinball game or the typical platformer… or the typical Metroidvania! Controls are very simple since you control Yoku with the left analog stick and the flippers are mapped to the R2 and L2 shoulder buttons. A simple tap of the shoulder buttons will send Yoku flying to areas you otherwise couldn’t reach!
While the setup for the game makes it feel like a pinball table, it certainly doesn’t look like a pinball table! This is a whole different thing, in a good way. Areas are interconnected with some very clever level design, which you’ll notice as you fling Yoku to other sections of the table. You’ll get a chance to collect a variety of fruits during your adventure, which serves as the game’s currency. The game world is pretty vast, but this is not fully revealed until you reach certain points. Reaching said points is part of the challenge, so if you’re a fan of the pinball genre then you have the skills to make the most of your time with Yoku.
You can take Yoku everywhere and complete objectives in any order, although some of the objectives may require you to have a special skills to complete them, and this is where the Metroidvania elements kick in. This means you won’t be able to access certain areas until you have acquired the necessary skill, so you’ll keep making progress at a steady rate as you unlock more and more skills. The game doesn’t tell you where to go or what to do, so you do have the freedom to explore to your heart’s content.
There are tons of hidden treasures to find and lots of bonuses as well. You will also get upgrades that will allow you to carry more fruit, so that when you backtrack to previously explored areas you can grab all the fruit. You will also unlock what can be described as a very interesting fast travel system, which is unlike anything I have seen before. It’s certainly something that will help you make the most of your time with the game as you travel from area to area.
Yoku’s Island Express is a very fun pinball/Metroidvania that you should check out on Nintendo Switch. The colorful art style and the great level design, mixed with the pinball mechanics and the Metroidvania side of things, make this a very entertaining release that everyone can enjoy, even those who are not a fan of full-on pinball games. Villa Gorilla HAS certainly found a creative way of presenting a new type of game, and one I’m sure you’re going to like.
This Yoku’s Island Express review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Team17.