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First Impressions: Yoku’s Island Express

by on June 19, 2017

When I first heard about Yoku’s Island Express, I was taken back a little bit.  This is a game with pinball mechanics, but I wasn’t sure how it would fit or how a game can be developed around that mechanic.  I was fortunate to have the chance to play Yoku at E3 this year, and I was actually impressed with what I saw.

In Yoku’s Island Express you play…..a dung beetle.  Yes, that’s right.  We have a dung beetle protagonist.  You arrive on Mokumana Island and become a postmaster.  As you work through your role as postmaster, you meet many characters who are in need, and you task is to help them out.  This id done with a mix of platforming and pinball that is truly unique.

Yoku is attached to a ball.  You can move Yoku around flat areas, but there are other areas that you will need to use the pinball mechanics to go from point A to point B.  By using the triggers, you control blue and yellow paddles that will launch Yoku to different areas.  By doing this, you collect fruit that is placed in an alter, which is used to open new areas.

The level I played was at the beginning of the game and set in a jungle setting.  The pinball/platforming worked extremely well.  Part of the challenge was to make sure Yoku was placed precisely on the paddle to launch him to a specific point.  Of course, there were ramps and pathways that would bring you back to the paddles, much like you would expect from a pinball game.  As you go through the level, you collect fruit and other items to help in your journey.  The demo didn’t show exactly what to do with one of my items, but I’m sure it will be clear as the game progresses.

The art design was very nice.  It looked great, even though I was playing a very early build of the game.  The island was very colorful and Yoku is the cutest dung beetle that I have ever seen.  There will be multiple types of environments (like a snow level that you can check out below).

Overall, I left impressed with what I saw.  Mixing pinball with platforming is unique and brilliant.  Even at this early of a stage, it played very well and I’m curious about how many levels there will be and what kind of characters you will meet and interact with.  We will bring you more as it becomes available, but in the meantime, check out some great looking screenshots from Yoku’s Island Express!

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