Nintendo SwitchPreviews

Yoku’s Island Express Preview

Expect a lot of these types of announcements over the next few weeks and months. Thanks to the Nintendo Switch being relatively easy to program for when compared with previous Nintendo consoles, more developers will most likely jump on board. It doesn’t hurt that the Switch is compatible with engines like Unity and Unreal.



Yoku’s Island Express is a very unique idea. It combines the 2D open world aspect of games like Metroid with the game mechanics from pinball games. The art style looks great and the game gives off a fresh vibe that makes us eager to try it out. The game will be playable at GDC this year, so we expect to hear a lot more soon.



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


Craig Majaski

Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published across a wide spectrum of media sites. He's currently the Editor-In-Chief of Nintendo Times and contributes to Gaming Age.

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