Yono and the Celestial Elephants (Review)
After our interview with Neckbolt about Yono and the Celestial Elephants, we received a review code so we could experience Yono’s adventure. Elephants are the legendary protectors of the world, and when a young elephant named Yono arrives, he begins a journey across the land to see how he can help people the way a mighty elephant should.
The story is fairly basic. You visit each of the game’s towns and solve problems for the people there, while learning more about the Humans, Bonewights, and Mekani that live in the world. It’s made more entertaining by the interesting and often amusing characters you meet in each place. Yono and the Celestial Elephants has a lot of dialogue, and most of it is a delight to read through.
In towns, you’ll find several side quests, most of which send you running back and forth to bring characters the items they need. Yono can only carry one item at a time, which can get slightly tedious, but it generally works fine without an inventory system. These optional quests usually reward you with health tokens to increase your maximum health. There are also two forms of currency you can gather: coins to buy new colors for Yono and words to unlock new pieces of lore. The game’s lore is extensive, and I loved both reading about the legendary elephants and learning more about the different societies.
For the main quest, you’ll venture into large dungeons. Combat against basic enemies rarely consists of more than ramming them repeatedly, but fortunately this is only a tiny piece of the gameplay. The majority of your time in dungeons will be spent solving puzzles: pushing boxes onto switches, extinguishing fires, and otherwise making use of Yono’s elephant skills to proceed. Although many are simple, they get increasingly complex as time goes on, and some late-game puzzles were quite clever. Boss battles also play out like puzzles, which makes them refreshing and enjoyable.
The game is adorable, especially the design of Yono himself. Its soundtrack also deserves a mention. Every song fits perfectly, from the upbeat main menu theme to the haunting melody played in the garden of the undead Bonewights.
Overall, Yono and the Celestial Elephants is a great experience. Aside from wishing there was more lore to unlock as I continued to collect words, and encountering one health token I was unable to backtrack to and retrieve after a certain point, my only disappointment was that the game ended too soon. The hours I spent with Yono and the Celestial Elephants were delightful, and I hope we’ll get to visit the world of Elephants, Humans, Bonewights, and Mekani again in the future.