Strap yourselves up for an adventure of a lifetime as Yoku embarks in an island adventure that is sure to heat up your paddle fingers to tap! tap! tap! your way to the top! As he rides his mighty white ball over the ocean, into the depths of the caves or even atop the mountain heights.
Our little beetle friend Yoku, who is more than ready to take on the scorching summer heat in a vast tropical paradise gets greeted by the old postmaster as soon as he arrives in Mokumana Island where he gets appointed to be the next in line to the throne of parcel delivery. Soon after, he discovers all is not fun and games under the sun as the island’s god and protector, Mokuma, has been attacked and inflicted by the God Slayer’s mark. So from there on you are tasked to go deep into the depths of the underground caves and atop the treacherous snowy mountain to deliver the letter of summons to the three chiefs.
And along the way you get to meet the various characters that would ask for your help despite being a delivery guy and reward you for doing so as a form of side quests as well as finding the scattered mailboxes within the island to deliver the parcels to which you are destined for.
Armed with a ball with a string and some well-placed paddles in the island, you set off in a pinball-type adventure of platforming and rage-inducing, timing-based mechanics where one millisecond of error leads to a few seconds of starting over as each and every tap and smack needs the utmost precision and focus to hit each mark in a fast-paced side-scrolling adventure. It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s rage-inducing but nonetheless it’s fun! Something that I can forgive any day of the week thanks to the splendid work of Team17 and Villa Gorilla with their gorgeous hand-drawn graphics, lovable characters and gameplay mechanics that goes to a whole new level of adventure and discovery.
Although if there’s one thing I have my gripes about… it’s the lack of an adjustable zoom in and out option instead of just having the default and the full map overview which can be a bit harder to spot the areas which you can go from using a small monitor compared to a bigger one so as far as remote play on my PS Vita goes, that’s a huge disappointment. Now I’m just being nitpicky here but I really prefer if the game actually had an option to run faster than your normal speed when you’re not in the “pinball-y zones” as it goes from fast-paced to a slower one which I find annoying when I really just want to get to the next bit but had to crawl all the way down due to the lack of fast-travel options aside from the use of “beelines” which is essentially a cannon-type fast travel option to which you can propel yourself from the bottom all the way to the top and simply drop down whenever you feel like it. It’s a nice option no doubt as there are areas to which you can only access by going into the beeline and dropping off in between but doing so will force you to run all the way to the few end points of each beeline if ever you need to use them again.
The hand-drawn graphics as I said is gorgeous and the art style on the characters although a bit cartoony and at times weird looking has their own quirks to make them lovable despite the weird sounding voices that you’ll never understand without reading the subtitles. The overall design of the island and the well-placed paddles and jump pads makes adventuring quite fun actually as you get to think on your feet and tap with your fingers. A platformer at its core it does have certain mechanics which makes the adventure fresh even after a few hours like mixing grappling hook elements as well as the various exploding slugs to which you can attach to your ball and eventually propel you towards areas you can never reach alone. And while this isn’t exactly new or astounding, the game does let you dive under the water after reaching a certain progression towards the story. The way the game is carried out makes for a unique experience towards boss battles as well and it’s one that I can fully enjoy despite my drawbacks on proper timing.
The opening music instantly caught my attention as I first booted up the game, it felt like summer already thanks to its Hawaiian vibe and musical theme. It’s a nice blend of acoustics, beats and lyrics to which I don’t understand anything about but felt way too good that I spent the first few minutes just listening to it. Meanwhile each area within the island has their own ambient music that well depicts each one although some just felt a bit too mellow that I find it hard to hear with a headset on unless I turn it up really high with sound effects at low settings.
A nice show of unique gameplay mechanics with the inclusion of boss battles that mixes both platforming and pinball action that never gets old as each and every area is unique and properly executed. A flurry of characters… oh sorry! I meant a ton of furry characters that looks great and side quests that is actually fun to do as you think your way out of sticky situations or just tap your way, every way, along the way! A core story that starts of a bit of a “meh” but catches up to be a decent one as you learn the hidden story behind the island itself and the whole mess that started it all. To put it simply, I was surprised at how it ended. Graphics and music that goes well together and gives the game a bit of flavor. Overall, a nice game that is worth a try for better or worse!