Yoku's Island Express Image
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84

Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critic Reviews What's this?

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7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 38 Ratings

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  • Summary: Yoku’s Island Express is an open world/metroidvania-style pinball adventure, Seamlessly blending platform navigation with pinball mechanics across a large open world.

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Yoku's Island Express - 10 Minutes Of Gameplay
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Jun 5, 2018
    90
    Yoku’s Island Express takes two unlikely genres and combines them into one playful, natural experience. The game’s audio and visual design is simply joyous and the large game world seamlessly combines its pinball puzzles with some brilliant level designs.
  2. May 30, 2018
    90
    Yoku’s Island Express brought something to the table few games, even among those I enjoyed, have managed to recently - a true sense of freshness. It really is unlike most games on the market, and it manages to grow beyond this defining gimmick, nailing almost every other aspect. Between the fantastic gameplay, lovely presentation and endearing characters, minor faults like excessive backtracking and a somewhat flat main storyline are negligible.
  3. Jun 4, 2018
    87
    Yoku's Island Express is a game that's full of surprises and charm. It kept me on my toes with its unique mechanics and visuals, and I'm very happy that the pinball aspects never became taxing. If pinball isn't quite your thing but you love casual adventure or metroidvania games, I think you'll enjoy Yoku's Island Express immensely.
  4. May 29, 2018
    80
    While the campaign smartly doesn’t overstay its welcome — it took me about six hours to complete, including some distractions — collecting all 80 of Yoku’s hidden Wickerlings, finding all of its chests, and completing some other simple missions like delivering letters made me want to keep playing even after the credits rolled.
  5. Jun 12, 2018
    80
    Who said Metroidvania and pinball can’t exist in the same game? Yoku’s Island Express shows the opposite by being a great game, thanks to very uncommon and never frustrating gameplay.
  6. Jun 5, 2018
    80
    Yoku's Island Express perfectly blends Metroidvania platformer with pinball game, and it's incredibly smooth and fun.
  7. Jun 4, 2018
    75
    Pinballs are coming back within this title, whose narrative background is not so deep and intense, while its gameplay and tactics features are really well conceived. Colourful, frenetic and catchy, Yoku's Island Express is a good alternative in a AAA-dominated market. Boredom not included.

See all 9 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. May 13, 2020
    10
    Yoku is a great game for Metroidvania lovers and old school pinball players.
  2. Jun 6, 2018
    9
    What a delightful little game. The seemingly nutty idea of mixing pinball and metroidvania works surprisingly well. And the overall design ofWhat a delightful little game. The seemingly nutty idea of mixing pinball and metroidvania works surprisingly well. And the overall design of the game matches in terms of nuttiness. It's all so charming. Characters in the game will e.g. dive by lettings themselves get partly swallowed by fish and then the fish pulls them under water. Or climb by having animals bite plants and then swing around them - it's best to watch a video if you can't imagine this. And I still remember the very first couple of minutes gameplay when the logo of the game appears - I for one had to chuckle at the way that was presented.

    But not only does it ooze charm but it also handles very well. Pinball mechanics may not be particularly realistic but hey... you're playing with a beetle strapped to a ball. The important point is that it feels alright. And traversing the (huge!) map works a lot faster than one would initially expect because of all sorts of shortcuts and additional methods of transportation one eventually unlocks. Somewhere I read a comment that it can be annoying to go upwards since obviously the ball only falls down. But there are all sorts of flippers and lanes that fling/move you upwards, so I've never found this to be an issue.

    Oh and the map might just be one of the best I've ever seen - it simply zooms out the game so that you can see the whole world (although some things don't seem to update properly at times - a bit buggy). but you can also zoom in and pan around.

    The only flaw I've found is that it does feel very much like a children's game in that it's very easy. I've played quite a bit of Pinball FX and Pro Pinball and there hasn't really been any challenge. So I'm really just exploring and having fun discovering all those different biomes and new characters and quests. Of which there are many. It's like every couple of minutes that you come across some NPC to chat with. Still - most of the time, I run around with maxed out fruits and I wonder whether they couldn't have included some aspect where if you play well (which reminds me - there is no combo system, no time limits and all shots are easy to pull off), you get something - once fruit is maxed out, symbols change to something else and do... whatever. Or something.

    And since I know that length matters to people with limited finances - it took me about 7 hours to finish regularly (although I did many side quests and whatnot) and after about 10 hours, I'm at 97% and saw the "true ending". Now to find the remaining 3...
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  3. Jan 13, 2019
    9
    Yoku’s Island Express is an open-world 2D Metroidvania Pinball game.

    Yes, really. I have played a couple of creative pinball games in
    Yoku’s Island Express is an open-world 2D Metroidvania Pinball game.

    Yes, really.

    I have played a couple of creative pinball games in recent years, but this is by far the best of them. Yoku’s Island Express makes use of pinball mechanics to navigate a large 2D island environment, collecting various upgrades that allow you to progress to new areas without fundamentally upsetting the core pinball nature of the game.

    The main character of the game is Yoku, a dung beetle who has been appointed as the postmaster of Mokumana Island. Rather than rolling around a ball of dung, however, Yoku rolls around a large, smooth round stone which doubles as a pinball. Yoku can roll the ball around on relatively flat ground, allowing them to move around the island between puzzles and engage in other navigation. Yoku has no ability to jump and cannot go up steep inclines, requiring you to find other means – the numerous paddles distributed around the world – to make your way around.

    This allows the game to be more than a bunch of pinball tables, instead interspersing with other forms of environmental navigation. While paddles appear quite heavily in the game, many springboards also appear, launching the player through the air. Acquired abilities like swinging off of flowers, diving underwater, and sucking up explosive slugs serve to allow the player to access new areas, as well as mixing up the core pinball game with some other pinball-esque environmental navigation.

    All of this allows the game to include the secrets and exploration that is key to Metroidvania games, while simultaneously mixing up the gameplay and keeping it fresh and allowing the player to navigate the island and access what amounts to a bunch of environmental pinball tables. The variety here is reasonable – the game not only has a bunch of traditional pinball, but also has sections where the player must play with what amounts to multiple pinballs at the same time. The game even features (fairly simple) boss fights in the form of pinball tables!

    The game is also quite aesthetically pleasing. The whole island is very vibrantly colored, and the 2D hand-drawn art here is quite excellent. While the characters are mostly fairly limited in their animation, they still are fun to look at, and there’s a nice variety of environments, from a dark and dreary underground to vibrant tropical beaches to overcast rainforest to snowy mountain peaks.

    Yoku’s Island Express is unapologetically a family game, suitable for people of all ages, so long as they don’t find pinball too frustrating. The animal characters in the game are mostly very cutesy, but they aren’t excessively so – they’re basically the sorts of things you’d expect in a family game, generally being fairly one-dimensional, but doing their job in populating the world and giving the player hints in where to go and a small number of quests to do. There’s only a relatively small amount of cartoonish violence, and on the whole, this is a broadly acceptable game. The humor in it is fairly light, and while it never made me laugh out loud, I found myself enjoying the game for what it was.

    Following on the idea of broad accessibility, there’s no way to die in this game. Where there is a drain for your ball to fall into in a number of puzzles, the penalty is at worst only a few fruit, the game’s currency that you end up with far too much of anyway, and which can easily be made up for; the player will then quickly be put back into play to continue trying to solve the physics puzzle. Thus, the challenge is not in running out of lives or anything so mundane, but in simply completing the pinball puzzles, which are of a reasonable level of difficulty – not excessive, but not so easy that it feels facile. These are definitely not the hardest pinball tables of all time, but for someone like me who only periodically plays pinball, it was fairly easy but difficult enough that I felt like I was modestly challenged by a number of the puzzles.

    Yoku’s Island Express knows what it wants to be, and also knows that it only has so many tricks to show the player. Thus, the game only clocks in around 6-8 hours to beat, and perhaps 10-12 if the player wants to get everything. I felt like the game was the appropriate length; while I enjoyed my time with it, I’m not sure how much more of it I would have actually enjoyed.

    This is a game I’d recommend, especially to people who enjoy pinball mechanically but who feel like playing the same tables over and over again gets repetitive.
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  4. May 29, 2018
    8
    Yoku’s Island Express
    A Metroidpinballvania
    Yoku’s Island express is a 7 hour long Metroidvania game where you play as a postmaster beetle
    Yoku’s Island Express
    A Metroidpinballvania
    Yoku’s Island express is a 7 hour long Metroidvania game where you play as a postmaster beetle named yoku you’re here to deliver some mail, but this sets you on a quest of gathering the three chiefs of the island to perform a ritual to save makuma, the life blood of this island…
    and in Metroid vania fashion this means going as far as you can on this one giant connected map completing quests to get new items to reach new areas rinse and repeat until credits role…
    this isn’t an ordinary metroidvania game though,,
    The entire map is one giant pinball machine..
    you have full control of yokuyoure rolling along this ball, but often you’ll find yourself in a mini pinball area where you lose full control and are just focused on the flippers.. hitting targets, collecting fruit so you can unlock other targets and fast travel bee line posts.. even working towards larger fruit carrying capacity
    for probably the first half of the game, the fruit feels worth collecting and looking out for..
    it feels scarce despite seemingly being all over the place due to how pricey unlocking bumpers and new items is..
    this encourages exploration, and youll soon find collectables insinuating there are a few secrets to uncover on this island, adding more intrigue….
    Everything about this game is so charming and well designed..
    As a metroidvania, I naturally felt overwhelmed at times…
    this game is very unlinear, you have a map you can keep referring to to the area you need to get to.. but until you’ve explored an area its clouded.. so finding the route to get there is completely up to you..
    youll constantly run into for the time being dead ends as you might not yet have the ability to get past a certain point..
    though if you stop and talk to the characters of this world, the game does a great job of giving you hints on where to go to next, or which area to investigate a little..
    As a giant pinball game, traversing upwards can feel a bit frustrating at times… as you are relying on timing od the ball and the triggers and you can feel a little out of control, but yokus island express is also super forgiving..
    you cant really die in this game.. you can only lose fruit and traversal progress…
    but none of it is ever too painful..
    Its just enough to keep you engaged and putting in a decent amount of effort…
    there are also side quests here on top of the collectables..
    tons to do to keep you exploring and hooked in this polished pinball world..
    This is a really unique experience worth checking out..
    theres nothing out there like it.
    I give Yokus Island Express
    a 7.5/10
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  5. Mar 29, 2019
    7
    You’re a huge fan of Pinball, and played “3D Pinball Space Cadet” for hours and hours, but since Windows Vista you feel empty?
    Oh, and you
    You’re a huge fan of Pinball, and played “3D Pinball Space Cadet” for hours and hours, but since Windows Vista you feel empty?
    Oh, and you also love this kind of beetles that push dung balls around all day?
    Wow, then, I just got THE game for you!

    Yoku’s Island Express is about a bug pushing a ball around trying to save the island from a mischievous God. Although it can push the ball around, there are pinball paddles everywhere on the island, and a small tap on LT or RT will send the ball flying, dragging our small helpless Yoku through mazes. I really liked the idea of adding pinball mechanics inside a platformer game, it’s novative and creates interesting levels.

    But it quickly can become boring, when some parts are too difficult and you just rage about why your ball is not going where you want to (but maybe that’s what pinball is all about?).
    Nevertheless, the game can get especially boring when you have to go through an area again to find collectibles or just move to the next destination. Like in a Metroidvania, you gain different powers as you explore, but those are most of the time used to reach new zones, and don’t help much traversing old zones, so you often have to redo some parts over and over again while more shortcuts would have been appreciated.

    There is a fast travel though. You can go to a beehive and be thrown from beehive to beehive until your destination, making some kind of zipline. It’s totally integrated inside the lore, and the bee music is amazing! But you can only get into these beehives from certain locations, and I feel there are too few of those spots. I spent a lot of time planning routes to the closest beehive, and ending pushing my ball longer than was really needed.

    Nevertheless, this game’s really cute, the graphics are amazing, especially given the small size of the game studio. The music also adds a lot to the beautiful scenery the game offers.
    (Oh, and the devs attached me to a huge boulder and put me on a big paddle, so I shouldn’t say too many bad things... Oh dung, I think they heard meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee *)
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