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Analysis of Yoku’s Island Express, 2D adventures with very exotic platforms

Written by Kamran Haider

The Villa Gorilla independent study offers us a very particular vision of the genre of 2D platforming adventures. A video game that we have already enjoyed in its version for Xbox One and that has captivated us by its proposal. Analysis of Yoku’s Island Express.

I never tire of reiterating how much I like to meet new proposals. Works that, even if only in a concrete aspect, offer something refreshing compared to what the vast majority of the games that appear throughout the year usually bring us. Fortunately, Yoku’s Island Express is one of those video games that have something special. An interesting production that is enjoyed very much from the first moment thanks to a very open game system and that knows how to catch anyone who enters it.

Without being the most original videogame in the world, what is clear is that the developers have wanted to provide certain innovation quotas to, on the other hand, a really classic game style: that of the adventures of the platformers in 2D with high doses of exploration. A very absorbing game system that gives a lot of itself, especially if we want to discover all the ins and outs that lie behind the paradisiacal and curious island to which the protagonist of this story is going to stop.

Yoku is a red colored beetle that, after a long journey, goes to a tropical island called Mokumana. And what should he do there? Well instead of taking a break and enjoying the views as was the intention of the character that we control, as soon as he arrives he must replace the Carterodáctilo so that he takes his place as postman of the island. An activity that, far from being tedious and, above all, quite monotonous, becomes a very pleasant task, entertaining and full of challenges to be overcome.

Exploration and pinball

The game mechanics offered by Yoku’s Island Express has seemed very interesting to me. Throughout a wider world, than it might seem at the beginning, we must complete a series of missions that are entrusted to us as we move through the different areas of the island. Most of the tasks start when we talk ( texts in Spanish ) with one of the many inhabitants of the island, types of everything less common and that, on more than one occasion, it is necessary to take a specific action to be heard.

In this beautiful environment, many objectives await us to be fulfilled, many of the secondary. And among all they give for many hours of game (taking into account their indie character and reduced price), especially if we want to complete them all and squeeze to the maximum everything that the video game hides.

So far nothing is out of the ordinary. But what does leave the established norm is the way in which it is necessary to fulfill each of these tasks. You always push a ball (like a good dung beetle) to which it is tied, an object that acquires a huge role throughout the adventure. The reason is that in a very fluid way and that it is not forced at all, the sections are being combined in which we must advance in a traditional way through the scenarios with others, the most interesting ones, in which the elements of the pinball games.Exploration and pinball

A point in favor of the title is its sensational handling

It is more than plausible how well the game formula embodied in this adventure works. And although at the beginning the challenges that it poses are rather acceptable, little by little they get complicated, being necessary to even participate in some curious battles against several final bosses. But returning to the subject of the pinball sections, it is surprising how wisely integrated all of them are. In addition, the behavior and physics of both the ball and other objects that can be found (like coconuts and other fruits) are very well achieved. And to this is added a great design for the improvised “tables” that, in addition, on many occasions present several “levels” or zones to which we are going to stop after fulfilling certain objectives.

Leaving aside those pinball areas that, I reiterate, are not separate areas but have been very well implemented in the design of each scenario, it is necessary to perform other tasks that bring even more grace and variety to the overall game system. The exploration, for example, is essential, being necessary progress along with a fairly wide mapping filled with secret areas, treasures getting going and, importantly, fruits to be collecting. These objects come to be the “currency” of the game and are essential to unlock certain areas, triggers, and paddles that are spread across the stages. And then there are the puzzles, which although they are not too frequent, bring even more diversity to the general approach.

As for the preparation of the mapping, this is more than interesting and without being the most complex, it has its grace. It also clearly encourages “backtrack”, being necessary to return on our steps frequently to access a new area previously disabled. Not in vain its developers have baptized his work as a pinballvania …pinballvania

Another point in favor of the title is its sensational handling. As simple as it is precise, it is very intuitive and easy to control both the protagonist during the free exploration zones along with the 2D environments and, also, to handle the classic side palettes (the flippers) of the pinball games, responding in a way Perfect at our orders.

It is one of those videogames that have something special

For all this, it is difficult to put a but the gameplay that poses Yoku’s Island Express, since it has no weight defects. We may have missed the integration of RPG elements, (although it is possible to acquire new objects that give us certain skills), moments of intense action, perhaps a cooperative mode and other factors that would have contributed even more quality and variety to the developing. But, beyond this, it is a title very well recreated in terms of its gameplay is concerned … and, also, in everything related to its striking aesthetic.

The island that hosts the adventure has been drawn by hand and has a really exuberant color. Its numerous corners enjoy an excellent visual appearance, as well as fantastic lighting. It’s nice to explore the world in which Yoku lives, I guarantee it. The secondary characters, that is, the inhabitants of the island do not enjoy the same aesthetic brilliance, but they do not detract either. A very remarkable visual finish in any case that has been accompanied by a soundtrack of environmental cut and sound effects somewhat limited but well done.

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Conclusion:

Villa Gorilla has signed a remarkable work developing a 2D development adventure where exploration and platforms combine sensationally with multiple elements linked to the world of pinball. Very original gameplay that, fortunately, has also been well captured. An entertaining and very showy title in general lines.

  • Combining 2D adventures with pinball games is an incredible idea
  • Aesthetically it is a very striking game
  • The control is very good
  • Many tasks to perform and characters to interact with
  • We miss some other ingredients such as RPG brush strokes, etc.
  • The beginning may be too simple and slow

About the author

Kamran Haider

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