Marrying pinball mechanics with metroidvania level design sounds like a recipe for disaster. They’re just too dissimilar. Whacking balls with paddles and sprawling, interconnected environments represent two sides of a game design coin. But sometimes unlikely partnerships create unexpected hits. Just look at Yoku’s Island Express. The pinball-meets-metroidvania game released earlier this year to critical praise. And if you missed it the first time around, have no fear; there’s a free demo available on Steam right now.
Yoku’s Island Express uses its disparate systems to create a wholly unique experience. As a game that’s equal parts pinball platformer and open-world metroidvania, developer Villa Gorrila’s debut allows players to leave their expectations at the door. In doing so, Yoku’s beautiful art and wildly entertaining exploration steal the show.
The free demo lets newcomers explore a slice of Yoku’s Island Express. Though it obviously doesn’t allow access to the full game, publisher Team17 mentions that the demo affords players a chance to meet Yoku — the postal worker protagonist — as well as other characters. It also serves as an onboarding process to the game’s pinball platforming and open-world exploration.
You can give the Yoku’s Island Express demo a whirl by heading to the game’s Steam page. There’s also a demo available on the PlayStation Store, Nintendo eShop, and Xbox Store if you’re keen to try the console version.