Yoku's Island Express
|Yoku's Island Express|
Cover art, depicting the protagonist, Yoku
|Release||29 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. The player is tasked with saving the island from a looming calamity, as the island's deity figure is attacked.
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. Yoku's Island Express takes place on a Metroidvania-style open-world island with many bumpers, tracks and ramps to utilise the pinball mechanics.
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. Eventually, they started calling their project an "open-world pinball game".
Critics called Yoku's Island Express "unique". and "ingenious" 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".
Reviewers criticised the occasional retreading or backtracking in the game's world as sometimes being tedious or even causing frustration. 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". Critics, who reviewed the Nintendo Switch version, complained about the in-game map being hard to read in handheld mode.
- Donlan, Christian (29 May 2018). "Yoku's Island Express review - a pinball/platforming hybrid that works brilliantly well". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
- Mundy, Jon (29 May 2018). "Review: Yoku's Island Express (Switch eShop)". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
- Marks, Tom (29 May 2018). "Yoku's Island Express Review". IGN. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
- McClusky, Kevin (31 May 2018). "Review: Yoku's Island Express". Destructoid. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
- Handrahan, Matthew (29 May 2018). "Villa Gorilla's five-year journey to make a one-year game". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
- 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.
- Whitehead, Thomas (16 May 2017). "Yoku's Island Express Developer Partners With Team17, Set for Switch in 2018". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
- "Yoku's Island Express for Nintendo Switch Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
- "Yoku's Island Express for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
- "Yoku's Island Express for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
- "Yoku's Island Express for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
- Pan, Alexander (5 June 2018). "Yoku's Island Express Review: A Breath of Fresh Air". GameSpot. Retrieved 6 June 2018.