I’m super excited to finally – after almost five years of development – bring you Yoku’s Island Express to the Xbox One!
For those of you that don’t know, Yoku’s Island Express is an open-world pinball platformer. You play as Yoku, a dung beetle postman who’s just arrived on Mokumana Island as the new postman. Using flippers and bumpers over an expansive world you pinball your way across the island, delivering the mail, and hopefully unravel the mystery with the ailing island god.
We’re a small indie studio located in Stockholm, Sweden, and this is our first game together. From the very beginning, we wanted to make something that felt innovative and radically different from the games we had worked on previously in our various capacities in different AAA studios over the years. We knew whatever we created had to be special.
We came upon the idea of combining an open world (or rather, a Metroidvania) approach with pinball mechanics, with platform adventure being central to the game. It sounded weird and interesting, and we quickly got started on a prototype. We figured we’d have it all in the bag in one year.
Or so we thought…
Five years later the game is now a lot bigger and a lot more complex than we originally planned. It started to reveal itself as we were working on it, trying out various gameplay mechanics, and as the art started to come into place, it needed time to grow and come into its own. It turns out that building an open world island, filled with colorful characters and sidequests, where you can seamlessly traverse into each area can take a lot of time.
We built the whole game in entirely our own engine and made sure to create tools that were specifically tailored to the rather unique challenge of crafting a platform pinball adventure. We truly had a lot of fun making Yoku’s Island Express, and I hope that really shows when you’re playing it.