Pinball is a genre of games that is quite interesting, as you can take wild concepts and apply pinball elements to them. One famous example is taking the pinball elements from Sonic 2 and turning that into a full-on pinball game with Sonic Spinball. The genre is one open with creativity and developers Villa Gorilla demonstrate that with their new project Yoku’s Island Express for the PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC (Steam).
Based off the trailer, it blends open-world exploration with time-honored pinball mechanics to create promising level design. As I watched the trailer, I kept thinking about games like Rayman Origins and Sonic Spinball due to how it seems to blend platforming with pinball and the games striking visual art direction. With it releasing on many platforms, it be bouncing across bumpers and more later this year. Below is the official press release from Villa Gorilla, so consider reading that if you want to learn more about the game.
Source: Villa Gorilla Press Release
Yoku’s Island Express is an open world/metroidvania-style pinball adventure, Seamlessly blending platform navigation with pinball mechanics across a large open world. Yoku the dung beetle sets foot on the beach of Mokumana Island, ready to take on the duties as the new postman. But the ancient island God is trapped in a restless sleep and the islanders are plagued by quakes and storms brought forth by its nightmares. Yoku’s Island Express is a unique and quirky adventure with handcrafted visuals, where you’ll soar through the air, vacuum explosive snails, fight a Screetch, feed starving lemurs, discover the mystery of the Fruit Altar, wake an old god, and hopefully help tiny Yoku rebuild the island post-office.
Yoku’s Island Express is inspired by the joy of exploration of a young child, having just found the entrance to a secret garden, or unlocked the door to an attic full of wonderful and interesting things to discover. It takes some of its direction from Studio Ghibli films, where nature is infused with spirit and life, but combined with a strong focus on painterly, hand-made visuals where all the locations are unique and hand-made. It’s a world of bold, organic shapes with strong colors basking in bright sunlight – but where there is light there is shadow, and the journey takes us deep into the hidden mysteries of Mokumana Island. Villa Gorilla was founded by AAA-industry veterans Jens Andersson and Mattias snygg, working in their own proprietary engine with the goal of exploring game ideas that would never get made in big-studio environments. Working in a small 4-man group with fast iteration times, the team has struck out fresh to do something that feels personal and unique.
- Genre combining open world pinballing
- Unique beautifully handpainted artwork
- An island filled with unique creatures, both big and small
- Action-packed nonlinear gameplay that awards exploration