In Yoku’s Island Express, you take control of the cute little dung beetle, Yoku, who has signed up to become a postmaster on the island of Mokumana. However, during his journey to the island, his raft is destroyed by a tidal wave and when he washes ashore, he finds out that the island is falling apart as the island’s deity is under attack by the mysterious God Eater.
All of a sudden, Yoku gets more than he bargained as not only does he have to deliver mail to various island denizens but also find the three island tribe leaders and bring them together for the ceremony of healing that would save the island from destruction.
On the first impression, Yoku’s Island Express looks like your bog-standard platformer game. However, developer Villa Gorilla has put an interesting spin on the formula by combining open-world Metroidvania-style exploration with pinball mechanics. While Yoku is free to move around the map, he isn’t able to jump as he is tied to his ball of dung. Peppered around the map are pinball paddles, which you will then have to manoeuvre using the Left and Right Shift keys (if you are playing using the keyboard).
Initially, the puzzles are fairly easy but get increasingly difficult and intricate throughout your adventure with Yoku. Much like pinball, completing these puzzles require a little ingenuity and also perfect timing. Puzzles come in various forms where you have to free other critters, scatter spores for fungi, find mushrooms to put a giant serpent-like creature to sleep and more.
To help you achieve your goal, Yoku will also gain various new abilities as you progress throughout the game such as a party blower that can be used to break rocks, diving into water and rolling over exploding slugs to get them attached to your ball of dung to blow up obstructions. These abilities are usually unlocked just as you need to use them so you will rarely get stuck in a section for too long.
Overall, the combination of Metroidvania open-world exploration and pinball mechanics really give Yoku’s Island Express a unique and extremely fun experience that is great for all types of gamers.
In terms of presentation, Yoku’s Island Express is a gorgeous looking game due to its painting-like art style. Each character and stage is filled with neat details that bring each one to life.
To further enhance the experience, Villa Gorilla has also done a fantastic job with the sound design as each environment has its own charming background music that adds to the mood of the stage. The various NPCs you meet throughout the game also have their own charm as they speak in a very Animal Crossing- or Biomutant-like babble.
Yoku’s Island Express doesn’t require a high-performance beast to run as its minimum requirements are:
- CPU: Intel i3-2100 @ 3GHz / AMD A8-5500 @ 3.2GHz
- RAM: 4GB
- Graphics: NVIDIA GT 630 1GB / AMD Radeon 7770 1GB / Intel HD 530
We played the Yoku's Island Express on a Legion 5 15 with the following specs:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen™ 5 4600H @ 3.0GHz
- RAM: 8GB
- Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 Ti
Throughout our time playing the game, it ran super smoothly at Full 1080p and a constant 60FPS with the highest graphics settings.
Overall, Yoku’s Island Express is a truly unique game that is great fun especially if you like games that aren’t too intense or requires too much concentration. However, you will undoubtedly spend a lot more time playing the game than you intended to due to its easy-to-grasp gameplay, beautiful graphics, soothing music and charming characters.
The free redemption of Yoku’s Island Express on the Epic Games Store ends today, so be sure to add it to your library.