Review: Yoku’s Island Express (Xbox One)

Meet Yoku, the pint-sized postman protagonist of Yoku’s Island Express! Use a unique blend of pinball mechanics, platforming, and open world exploration to unlock the secrets of Mokumana Island, help the locals, awaken ancient deities and much more in this amazing new tropical adventure!

Pros:

  • Cutesy hand-drawn graphics.
  • 1.3GB Download size.
  • Pinball meets platformer gameplay.
  • Open world.
  • Seamlessly transfers between genres.
  • Ongoing tutorial.
  • 1000 Gamerscore.
  • World map uncovers as you take on quests and explore.
  • Areas are bigger than you think with a lot of hidden rooms, Routes and verticality.
  • Collectibles.
  • Fruit used to unlock shortcut/additional bumpers.
  • Making me think about what other genres would work with pinball.
  • Constant save/checkpoints and they can be hit infinite times.
  • Telescopes used to scout the map.
  • Friends- You can make new friends which grant new abilities or aid you.
  • You get a brief look at mission locations.
  • Wallet- Determines how much fruit you can carry, Can also be upgraded.
  • Can have multiple quests on the go at once.
  • Subquests as well as your main story quests.
  • Play how you want.
  • Really easy to play.
  • Mailboxes- Deliver mail for bonuses.
  • Excellent pacing with the unlocks, New areas.
  • So much fun to play.
  • Abilities- You can unlock many like the noisemaker that wakes people up but also breaks vases and pots.
  • Has a Metroid feel to it all.
  • Many many routes to your goal.
  • Exploration is always rewarded.
  • Fast travel system.
  • Multiple save slots.
  • Controls are very easy with the triggers used for bumpers.
  • Solid pinball and platforming action that plays just as well when they are both put together.
  • Big boss battles.
  • Decent story.
  • Enchanting soundtrack.
  • Every session you feel like you find something new in an area you have spent hours in.
  • A happy game.

Cons:

  • Precision shots are really tough.
  • Can feel lost at times as you do get such a big space.
  • Some boss fights drag on.
  • A lot of backtracking.
  • One and done experience.

The Numbers:
  • 8/10
    Graphics - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Sound - 7/10
  • 8/10
    Accessability - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Length - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Fun Factor - 9/10
8/10

Summary

Never in my wildest dreams would I think Pinball could be integrated within a game outside of a straight up additional stand-alone area. The even crazier thing is just how well it works and how unbelievably fun it is! The depth of the world is insane as you can spend hours in an area and feel confident you have cleared it, Only to find an item that opens up another part. The pacing is spot on and combined with the bright colors and fluid controls, You have such a happy game that will make you smile. I did, however, find a few niggles like precise actions which are needed more and more, later on, It just feels like the Pinball part lets it down in the latter stages but that is easily remedied. Basically, this game is tremendous fun and full of joy and excitement that everyone needs to play it!

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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