Yono and the Celestial Elephants Review

Yono and the Celestial Elephants is a simple adventure game with interesting puzzles, pleasing art, and a surprisingly philosophical story. Those who are looking for deep combat or customization may be disappointed with the game’s uncomplicated approach. However, despite the game’s few missteps, Yono and the Celestial Elephants delivers a unique experience that is appropriate for all ages but far more fitting for younger ones.

In Yono and the Celestial Elephants, you play as the adorably polite elephant Yono, who has been sent down from the heavens to help out inhabitants of the game’s world. This aid most often comes in the form of puzzle solving: moving boxes, activating devices so that Yono can get to new places, and sucking up elements such as air and water with Yono’s trunk to then expel them onto objects and triggers. Puzzles never get too challenging and almost always can be figured out by interacting with each element within the puzzle in different orders. Combat in the game is mostly an afterthought with controls reminiscent of the earliest adventure games on the NES and with few encounters. Some issues exist with Yono’s hitbox as well as with general hit detection but these glitches never cause more than slight frustration during puzzles or combat.

As for the game’s world, it’s colourful and cute with many indications that great care went into its design. The cities and dungeons in the game are varied in their details, while the game’s tidy art style and isometric camera combine to deliver a unique aesthetic where objects and characters in the world look like they are made of soft rubber, giving the impression that they are child’s toys. The music and sound design is equally pleasing, simple, and well executed. While the art style in the game is reminiscent of those typically found in children’s media, the game also includes some interesting philosophical commentary. Cartoon skeletons discuss the impact of a world view where only the material is real and where there is no value in the spiritual or intellectual. Cute robots muse on the concept of existentialism and free will. These discussions are inherently in opposition to the rest of the game’s simplicity and yet this dichotomy somehow works. While playing through the game I often looked forward to speaking with the next NPC in hopes of reading more of these debates.

Yono and the Celestial Elephants is a simplistic adventure game that will entertain children as well as those who are looking for a relaxing gaming experience over a weekend. The game’s art style, NPC dialogue, and design constantly serve as evidence of the developer’s care and attention. The game lacks depth in both its puzzles and combat, but those who play Yono and the Celestial Elephants with appropriate expectations will be more than pleased with the game’s approach to classic adventure game design.

Daniel Podborochynski

A Canadian who loves video games, soccer, sandwiches, reading, cats, dogs, Aphex Twin, bike rides, Fallout, Daft Punk, barbecue, and beer.

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