Yoku's Island Express

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Yoku's Island Express
Cover of Yoku's Island Express
Cover art, depicting the protagonist, Yoku
Developer(s)Villa Gorilla
Programmer(s)Jens Andersson
Artist(s)Mattias Snygg
Composer(s)Jesse Harlin
Release29 May 2018
Genre(s)Platforming, pinball, adventure

Yoku's Island Express is a platforming pinball adventure video game developed by Swedish studio Villa Gorilla and published by Team17. The studio's debut project, the game was released in 2018 for Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

In Yoku's Island Express, players control Yoku, a dung beetle, who becomes a postmaster as he arrives at a fictional island of Mokumana.[1] The player is tasked with saving the island from a looming calamity, as the island's deity figure is attacked.[2]


The gameplay of Yoku's Island Express consists mainly of side-scrolling platforming. Players can move Yoku left and right; however, unlike most platform games, in Yoku's Island Express the character controlled by the player cannot jump. Instead, players manipulate pinball paddles (flippers) to push the ball attached to Yoku, who is dragged behind it.[3] Yoku's Island Express takes place on a Metroidvania-style open-world[3] island with many bumpers, tracks and ramps to utilise the pinball mechanics.[4]


Villa Gorilla was founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 2013 by Jens Andersson and Mattias Snygg. They wanted to make a game in one year, choosing to "make a game about a ball" as they did not have an animator.[5] Eventually, they started calling their project an "open-world pinball game".[5]

Developers created a proprietary game engine suited for the needs of their project.[5]

Yoku's Island Express was announced on 20 February 2017.[6] On 16 May 2017, it was announced that Team17 would be the game's publisher.[7] Yoku's Island Express was released worldwide on 29 May 2018.


Aggregate score
Metacritic(NS) 82/100[8]
(PC) 84/100[9]
(PS4) 83/100[10]
(XONE) 82/100[11]
Review scores
Nintendo Life9/10[2]

Yoku's Island Express received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[8][9][10][11]

Critics called Yoku's Island Express "unique".[3][12] and "ingenious"[1][4] They praised how the developers managed to combine several genres, with GameSpot's Alexander Pan stating "Yoku's Island Express takes two unlikely genres and combines them into one playful, natural experience".[12]

Reviewers criticised the occasional retreading or backtracking in the game's world as sometimes being tedious or even causing frustration.[2][12][3] Jon Mundy of Nintendo Life stated that "figuring out exactly how to get from A to B in the early to mid-game stretch can feel like groping around in the dark".[2] Critics, who reviewed the Nintendo Switch version, complained about the in-game map being hard to read in handheld mode.[4][2]


  1. ^ a b c Donlan, Christian (29 May 2018). "Yoku's Island Express review - a pinball/platforming hybrid that works brilliantly well". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Mundy, Jon (29 May 2018). "Review: Yoku's Island Express (Switch eShop)". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e Marks, Tom (29 May 2018). "Yoku's Island Express Review". IGN. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d McClusky, Kevin (31 May 2018). "Review: Yoku's Island Express". Destructoid. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Handrahan, Matthew (29 May 2018). "Villa Gorilla's five-year journey to make a one-year game". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  6. ^ Whitehead, Thomas (20 February 2018). "Yoku's Island Express, an 'Open World Pinball Adventure', is Coming to Nintendo Switch". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  7. ^ Whitehead, Thomas (16 May 2017). "Yoku's Island Express Developer Partners With Team17, Set for Switch in 2018". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Yoku's Island Express for Nintendo Switch Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Yoku's Island Express for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Yoku's Island Express for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Yoku's Island Express for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d Pan, Alexander (5 June 2018). "Yoku's Island Express Review: A Breath of Fresh Air". GameSpot. Retrieved 6 June 2018.

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