Yoku’s Island Express Review
Finding a truly unique indie game can be kind of hard, especially given just how many games release on Steam. However, Yoku's Island Express seems to be that one in a million game. This bright and joyous indie game masterfully blends metroidvania mechanics with surprisingly fun pinball gameplay. The resulting experience is absurdly fun, and exactly the kind of lighthearted fun I needed.
The most striking aspect of Yoku's Island Express is definitely the gameplay though. Yoku can't do much except for roll his ball left and right. He has no jump or attack to speak of, so you'll have to navigate the map using pinball flippers embedded into the game's world. These flippers are either color coded blue or yellow, and correspond to the left or right flipper button on your keyboard. Your job as postmaster of the island and your quest to save it lead you to several different destinations. Besides doing some light pinball platforming, you'll mostly progress through the game by completing different self-contained pinball boards.
If you like pinball, then you’ll enjoy this game.
By traditional pinball standards, these small boards have pretty simple objectives. You'll often have to hit specific ramps or orbits several times in a row, which will open up a new path. Yoku's Island Express does a good job clarifying what needs to be done to progress the game without giving too much away. As you play, you're constantly collecting fruit pickups, which are spent unlocking flippers that open up new paths. There's a great mixture between skill and puzzle-solving that makes this a pinball adventure that is welcoming to both new and veteran players.
Like any good metroidvania game, progression often means you'll encounter new equipment and items that allow you to perform different actions. You'll eventually get the equivalent of a grappling hook, find a sort of fast travel system, and more. This expands the gameplay bit by bit, and although there aren't any items that drastically change your abilities, new items keep things refreshing. It's always fun to collect a new piece of gear, figure out its ability, and then backtrack to previous locations to collect goodies.
Overall, Yoku's Island Express is a perfect gaming package when you consider everything. It'll take you roughly a dozen hours if you want to 100% complete the game, and purchasing it will only cost you about $20. You can lower this price by picking up one of our discounted Steam cards on U4Gold's trusted platform. Regardless of your pinball skill or the number of hours you play, Yoku's Island Express never grows boring or frustrating. It's incredibly entertaining the whole way through and possibly one of the best games of the year.