Publisher: Plug In Digital
Release Date: 7th September
Price as of Article: $14.99 USD, £12.99
In Yono and The Celestial Elephant, you play as an adorable elephant named Yono who has been summoned to Earth whilst other races, Humans, Undead and Robots fight amongst themselves and it’s up to you to bring balance. Whilst this being a very cute and almost toddler-friendly looking game it does become very philosophical at times which I personally enjoyed.
During the game, you collect various words which will unlock stories from other celestial elephants which created a nice amount of lore during the game whilst not being too overbearing.
The audio in Yono matched the art style in its beauty and felt very much in place with the theme of the game. The soundtracks in the game kept spurring me on to continue further to the next section. Whilst the sound effects from Yono himself were just extremely charming as he would give a little toot of his trunk whilst performing an action which my children absolutely loved.
The only negative I could say about the audio in this game was the lack of variety when it came to the sound effects, whilst Yono himself was adorable, some of the other characters in the game just didn’t give me the same feeling but in the end I’d just counter that by listening to Yono toot away.
Although the visuals in this game are just cute beyond belief, I could see this also being a negative for some gamers. When I first checked out the screenshots for this game I assumed it was going to be a game for the younger generation with the adorable Yono looking like he stepped out of toddler TV, regardless this wasn’t the case.
With its isometric style, you’ll be exploring a whole host of different environments which all were very different. If you look much closer at the graphics, the amount of detail that’s gone into the environment was amazing, from textures on wood to character expressions it was a real treat and not what I was expecting.
This is where Yono shined for me, the game looks like it’s been inspired by Zelda in various forms but also separates its self enough to make it unique. Yono himself has a set of skills to use in various situations, he can blow air from his trunk, do a charging tackle and also suck items up his trunk and then spit them back out. Yono can only walk though with no jumping at all which wasn’t a problem but felt a little strange at times.
During the game, you’re tasked with solving various different puzzles whilst meeting different characters. The people will give you quests which unfortunately are just fetch quests which was a slight shame but I was enjoying solving the puzzles too much to care. As mentioned there are some other races that inhabit the world and whilst some were “normal” people there was also the Undead and Robot Mekani which is what starts to slowly introduce you the more philosophical side to the game which created more depth.
Making use of Yono’s abilities to solve puzzles was great fun, the game has a small amount of combat which required you charging or firing projectiles at the enemy but also using Yono’s trunk to collect water for puzzles flames was an enjoyable experience. While I didn’t find any of the puzzles during the game particularly challenging as they very much followed Zelda’s style of puzzle, they were still fun and when there were several challenges in one puzzle there was a little more to think about.
There’s a fair amount of lore in the game which can be discovered by collecting letters which you can then return to the monastery for the Loremaster to put together with a total of three books to collect it fill in the gaps nicely and gives Yono a little more purpose in the game.
Yono does have a difficulty scale in that after it has taught you the basics of the game things will become more difficult which was great but I felt it could have been slightly more challenging. There was plenty of variety during the dungeons from a dark creepy cave, a warehouse which resembled a watery factory and a forest, it was all very well designed and enjoyable.
There is currency in the game but this is only for skins that Yono can use which is a nice little touch if you’re a completionist as it gives you a purpose to explore. From what I saw there are different skins at different towns so it’s well worth looking around.
I found the controls to be pretty tight but not without frustration with one button doing a little TOO much I found myself getting confused at later puzzles. One of the big negatives during my adventure was lack of pro controller support, it was the first time I came across this and was a big disappointment but have also heard this may change in the future.
I completed Yono in a little over 3 hours and although a really enjoyable experience, I didn’t find it particularly challenging but nonetheless was still a wonderful experience.
Yono and the Celestial Elephant is a wonderful little adventure, with a cute art style, beautiful audio and plenty of puzzles and lore to keep you searching, this game is well worth the price in my opinion.