Have you ever thought to yourself, “wow I’m tired of the traditional exploration elements found in most adventure games?” All you do is jump onto enemies or move about a location to rinse and repeat over and over again. Well, Yoku’s Island Express might have the answers. Created by Villa Gorilla and published by Team17, Yoku’s Island Express delivers a rather…different experience than most other games before it. This isn’t a game about jumping to reach new heights but about being hit to new heights via the wonderful world of pinball gameplay.
What to Expect
Yoku’s Island Express takes the joys of adventuring in what looks to be a simple 2D platformer and changes the game in a very peculiar but interesting way. Rather than jump or slam your way through, Yoku’s Island Express makes you unleash your pinball skills to help our little beetle throughout his quest. Hit various bumpers and areas to unlock new paths and rack up fruits to open up even more areas for your pinball beetle to go. Solve quests from troubled creatures and help save this strange island from its numerous problems. Yoku’s Island Express takes the best elements of an adventure game and fuses it with a pinball game to create the ultimate hybrid of pinball adventure!
Yoku, a little beetle who is traveling to find a new home, finds himself in a bit of an interesting situation. While in transit, Yoku is taken by a quick surging wave and brought to an island where the various beings are finding their lives in threat from numerous problems. It’s now down to Yoku to save this new place and its denizens by exploring the island and solving each beings problems the best he can. What awaits our small little hero? Find out in Yoku’s Island Express!
When we here at Honey’s Anime go into a game, we tend to always try to go into it blind. Usually, this task isn’t that easy as most games are constantly shown to us beforehand via ads online or trailers that we know what to expect going in, at least in terms of genre or gameplay. Yoku’s Island Express by developer Villa Gorilla wasn’t a game we heard much about though, so rather than look it up we booted it up on our Xbox One—the system we reviewed it on—and went into it completely unaware of what to expect. That’s why when we saw Yoku’s Island Express for what it truly was as a genre, we found ourselves intrigued and went into it full throttle. Here is our review of Yoku’s Island Express.
At first glance, you’ll probably think what we thought when we saw Yoku’s Island Express. You’ll see your little beetle character and think, oh this is a platforming game. However, within the first few minutes, this deception is gone as you realize Yoku’s Island Express is both an adventure platformer but also a pinball game! What do we mean when we say it’s both? Let us explain by talking about how Yoku’s Island Express plays.
Yoku’s Island Express immediately shows you that your little beetle—Yoku—is able to be bounced around via bumpers like a pinball. You’ll have to hit these bumpers correctly to earn fruits—which unlock other bumpers and pathways—as well as hit specific areas to advance further into an area. When you’re not slamming Yoku around, you’ll find yourself exploring a rich island to talk with various NPC and learn of the island’s numerous troubles that only you can solve. Yoku’s Island Express pulls a Sonic Spinball—kind of—where you’re not just exploring in a 2D experience but you’ll be playing pinball at the same time.
This might seem like a strange fusion of genres but honestly folks, it works well in Yoku’s Island Express. The pinball controls are extremely tight allowing for pinball masters to manipulate Yoku down to the shot and there’s a lot of ways to move around the island via hitting Yoku through secret paths and special areas. If you don’t like pinball, you will find Yoku’s Island Express still approachable as this isn’t a hard game—seriously we had to force ourselves to die to see what would happen—and often mistakes just lead to minor frustrations. With a big world filled with different landscapes as well, the pinball areas of Yoku’s Island Express feel ever changing leading to that feeling you get if you switched to a different pinball arcade cabinet. No area feels the same and that makes each pinball experience just a tad bit stronger.
What helps further in enriching the experience of Yoku’s Island Express are the wonderful graphics and music. We loved the vibrancy of Yoku’s world—known as Mokumana Island—and loved how each area felt full of color and quality. Likewise, the music constantly changes in Yoku’s Island Express to fit the mood where pinball areas ramp up in music and exploration goes for a more chilled tone. These two elements make Yoku’s Island Express so much fun to play that we took our time in some areas just to see if we could find every little path and or area to explore. It’s strange in a game about a beetle being pinballed around that you want to sometimes take it nice and slow to absorb the fullest experience but we didn’t hate that strangeness one bit here at Honey’s Anime.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Yoku’s Island Express might deceive you at first as it seems tote itself as a platformer, but the deception you find yourself taken aback by isn’t a bad thing at all. We found Yoku’s Island Express to be charming and fun even for those who don’t play pinball or never have before. If you do hate pinball games, then you’re most likely going to dislike Yoku’s Island Express and won’t even give it a shot. Filled with vibrant colors, a cute story and fun pinball action, Yoku’s Island Express is a solid title that changes the platformer genre in a way we haven’t seen since Sonic Spinball. Even if you’re not a pinball wizard, we highly recommend picking up Yoku’s Island Express for its fun gameplay and aesthetics.
Simple pinball gameplay
Nice twist on your typical adventure game
Pinball gameplay might not be for everyone
Can be a bit annoying sometimes to hit just the right spot in a pinball area
Honey's Final Verdict:
Back in the early 80s, Pinball was a gaming genre that ruled the landscape. Though time hasn’t been kind to pinball and its slowly begun to fall into obscurity. That’s why we liked Yoku’s Island Express for showing the world pinball isn’t dead, it’s just changing to something that fits the times. Are you going to pick up and try Yoku’s Island Express or pass it up? Tell us your thoughts via the comments down below. Remember to also keep stuck to our hive for more gaming reviews and news curtsey of us here at Honey’s Anime.
Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!