Tagged "Yoku’s Island Express"

Aug 13
By Matt Gander In Most Played No Comments

SEGA was on top of the world in 1993. Sonic the Hedgehog and its bigger and better sequel had sent sales of the Mega Drive sky-rocketing, prompting the blue blur to become a household name almost overnight. Many predicted SEGA would release Sonic 3 in time for Christmas 1993, but with development taking far longer than anticipated, the platform holder hastily prepared Sonic Spinball to meet both demand and expectations.

Despite the pinball spin-off allegedly being created in just two months, reviews were generally favourable. To say it would have benefited from longer in development is an understatement, however – it was severely lacking in polish.

If you’ve ever wondered what Sonic Spinball could’ve been had it went through a typical development cycle, then Yoku’s Island Express should pique your interest.

It too puts a character under your control and mixes pinball with platforming, optional quests, and boss battles. It’s definitely a product of this era, rather than a ‘90s throwback, we should note – there are a few adventure game elements, with many paths and areas inaccessible until certain items are discovered. The whole game is set in one gigantic, seamless, world, too – a tropical island with numerous pinball “tables” connected by chutes, slides, pools of water, and things to bounce off.

The titular Yoku arrives on the island not to seek treasure, but to start a new life as the island’s postman. Indeed, it’s a profession not usually associated with video games. By chatting to the locals, the likeable lead soon learns that the island’s guardians are in danger, and so in addition to reducing the backlog of mail, there’s a wealth of quests to partake to restore balance and save the day.

It quickly becomes apparent that Yoku’s upgrades aren’t quite the typical assortment. They’re so outlandish, in fact, that it’s impossible to guess what plaything you’ll be given next. As the new postmaster, he’s supposed to carry a postman’s bugle. With no such instrument available, the upbeat bug resorts to using a party horn that emits a pleasingly high-pitched toot.

Then comes a slug vacuum, which features the first of many playful mechanics. The island’s slugs are explosive and must be detonated within a tight time limit, or face being propelled across the screen; something more amusing than it may sound here.

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May 31
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

Most gamers who grew up in the early ‘90s will doubtlessly remember encountering Street Fighter II for the first time. A one-on-one beat’em up like no other, it was an instant classic thanks to its memorable characters, instantly compelling gameplay, satisfying to perform special moves, and catchy background music. Guile’s theme goes with everything, lest you forget.

Little did we know Capcom would update and wheel out SFII on a regular basis, refusing to let go. It’s back once again this week as part of the very well-received Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection (£44.99), alongside the original, all three iterations of Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter III: New Generation.

The Switch version also includes an exclusive eight-player tournament mode for Super Street Fighter II. It’s just a shame the price tag isn’t in line with Xbox One and PS4 versions, clocking in at £10 more.

Ikaruga (£13.49) is another classic making a comeback. This vertical shooter is often referred to as one of the finest, thanks to the outstanding level design and the ability to shift polarity to absorb colour-coded projectiles. We’ll have a review (very!) soon.

Team 17’s Yoku’s Island Express (£15.99) has also arrived to rave reviews, being a quirky combination of Metroid and pinball. Sonic Spinball is another it has been likened to. Many critics claim that it’s one of 2018’s most pleasant surprises, gaining a fair few 9/10s.

Speaking of surprises, the free-to-start Pokémon Quest launched earlier this week. It sees the colourful critters turned into blocky pixel art renditions and is an action-oriented affair viewed from a top-down perspective. Here, Pokemon are lured by cooking up certain dishes. Initial impressions are positive, but many players suggest it’s worth waiting for the mobile release instead.

Then we have Die for Valhalla! (£10.99), which according to Nintendo World Report “can be appreciated either as a surprisingly complex action RPG or just a fantastic casual beat em’ up”. They dished out a 7.5 earlier this week. Nintendo Life opted for a 7/10 meanwhile. “There is still a lot to chew for the lonely solo player out there, so if you into the genre and Norse mythology, do consider giving this one a possession,” they said.

Smoke And Sacrifice (£19.99) is worth a look as well. This open-world, narrative-driven RPG has gained a mixture of 7s, 8s and 9s. GamesRadar called it “A sometimes grotesque, always engrossing take on the survival game, woven together with a twisted tale, weird weapons, and giant, charging porcupine pigs”.

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May 30
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Like a nationalised railway service, the gaming industry was seemingly distributed by the bank holiday. Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, SEGA Mega Drive Classics, Agony, and Yoku’s Island Express all launched at midnight on Tuesday, or thereabouts, but due to the long weekend reviews didn’t go live until later that morning.

In the case of Agony, it was as if the publisher had something to hide. This hellish survival game, set in genuinely disturbing environments coated with rotting flesh and other human remains, has spent almost two years in the development. It generated a minor buzz in the run-up to release, but sadly for those waiting in anticipation, it’s nothing short of disappointing.

“My excitement for the game was quickly quashed behind bugs, crashes and unbalanced gameplay, failing to live up to the potential of the game’s core ideas and outstanding visual design,” said TheSixthAxis’ reviewer, before handing out a poor 4/10.

User reviews echo this, with Xbox One owners mentioning audio issues that make it almost unplayable.

Review scores for the other games mentioned above are mostly positive so far. Yoku’s Island Express, a Metroidvania with pinball elements (think along the lines of Sonic Spinball) has been billed as one of the year’s biggest surprises. Speaking of Sonic Spinball, SEGA Mega Drive Classics isn’t quite the collection it could’ve been, but most critics claim it contains enough outright classics to warrant the entry fee. We’ll have our own review up shortly.

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is better still – a genuine celebration of all things Street Fighter, with online play and bonus features galore. And unlike Mega Drive Classics, it’s available on Switch too. Hurrah for that.

As for the week’s indie offerings, STAY on Xbox One entails helping a mild-mannered fellow escape from a rancid abode. It’s intriguing, but doesn’t quite reach its potential.

Moonlighter meanwhile has arrived to a waft of 9/10 reviews. It’s the roguelike to end all roguelikes, apparently. We’re also going give Mining Rail a shout out because, well, just look at it.

New release showcase:

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection – PS4/XO/Switch

Reviews:
9/10 – Nintendo Life: “While some of the games included in this compendium are rendered somewhat superfluous by the fact that far superior sequels and updates exist alongside them, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection remains an utterly essential purchase for any self-respecting fighting game fan”

9/10 – Destructoid: “Though SF30 doesn’t quite live up to its potential as a comprehensive historical document, ultimately, The Fight is all that matters. In that regard Capcom, some 30 years later, just scored another K.O. We await your return, warrior”

8/10 – Push Square: “Fans of the franchise will really appreciate having so many entries in a single place, and the wealth of customisation options, online modes, and extra content in the museum will go down a real storm”

SEGA Mega Drive Classics – PS4/XO

Reviews:
95% – Gaming Trend: “Sega Genesis Classics boasts an amazing collection of 50 games, all of which will keep you busy and entertained for hours. Some of the games can be challenging to a fault, but that’s just the way some old school games were made. The games hold true to their original forms and bring you a cartridge full of nostalgia that you can pop right into the console of your heart”

4/5 – Hardcore Gamer: “When comparing this to past Genesis collections, some of the omissions such as Ecco and the arcade versions are noticeable, but it makes up for their absence by adding more games that haven’t been included before”

6.0 – God is a Geek: “SEGA Mega Drive Classics is disappointing, but I’m still not sure if it’s because many of the games are boring, or if I was expecting more options and extras”

Yoku’s Island Express – PS4/XO/Switch

Reviews:
8.5 – GameInformer: “To think, Sonic Spinball was onto something all of those years ago. Yoku’s Island Express is delightful and fun from start to finish”

8.0 – God is a Geek: “From the charming opening movie to the wonderful title sequence, Yoku’s Island Express will use its adorable charms to pull you in and, unless you’re a heartless husk, you’ll fancy sticking around until the end credits too”

8.0 – IGN: “Yoku’s Island Express is a novel Metroidvania-pinball hybrid that stands as something wholly unique and incredibly fun”

Moonlighter – PS4/XO/Switch

Reviews:
9.0 – PlayStation Lifestyle: “Moonlighter is going to be a game you’ll pick up, play, and instantly want to tell your friends all about. It encourages discussion – how much a certain item costs, how to navigate the metagame of the increasingly tricky Resident Evil 4-style inventory system with its cursed items requiring a shuffle of your bag – and feels like, honestly, the endgame of all roguelikes”

4.5/5 – GamesRadar: “Moonlighter manages to perfectly balance the best bits of Stardew Valley, Dark Souls and Binding of Isaac for a game that just keeps you coming back for more”

7.9 – Video Chums: “It feels like a minimalist game but it also has enough to do to sink your teeth into for over ten hours”

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