Review: Yono and the Celestial Elephants (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Review: Yono and the Celestial Elephants (Switch)

by Danny Bivens

Who would have known that an elephant was the only chance to save the world?

When I first saw Yono and the Celestial Elephants on the Nintendo Direct back in late August, I was intrigued. The game was touting to be Zelda-like but with the ridiculous twist of essentially having a cute elephant as Link. Needless to say, like many of you out there, Yono has been on my radar for awhile now and it was finally great to be able to dive in to see what this charming game had to offer.

Visuals in Yono are bright, colorful and varied. There are quite a few locations that you’ll be trekking through including cities, forests, caves, castles and more. Each location has its own visual elements ranging from spring time motifs to a beautiful autumn themed forest, snowy mountains, a coastal city inhabited by robots and even a graveyard-town. Character models also look on par across the board and have decent animations. There is a lot to like here visually. The soundtrack and overall sound design match the visual aesthetic perfectly here.

The story and characters in the game were quite surprising - in a good way. Even though the game’s cheerful style makes it easy to assume that the content is going to be simple and/or childish, Yono and the Celestial Elephants tackles some surprising social issues that are ongoing in the in-game realm.

While Yono has a great art aesthetic and an interesting story, gameplay does have some issues. Most of the exploration and puzzle solving work very well and there are numerous gameplay mechanics that are used to enable Yono to get through puzzles. You can siphon water with Yono’s trunk to put out fires, throw dynamite from dynamite bushes (just like in real life!), use peanuts to hit buttons and more. There are quite a few fun things to tinker around with.

Combat is where the game stumbles a little bit. Sure, the main focus of the game is on the puzzles and story, but encountering enemies feels kind of like an afterthought. Most of the time you can take baddies out by bashing them with Yono’s head butt (using A) without any problems. However, if the enemy winds up for an attack, you are not able to use your head butt and just take a hit. This can be avoided by simply moving out of the way, but it felt a bit out of place. I'm also not sure if this was intentional or something that was simply overlooked.

Yono and the Celestial Elephants has issues, but is an enjoyable game overall. My biggest complaints, namely the lackluster combat and some occasional glitches, still aren’t enough to detract from the enjoyable puzzles and charming, thought provoking story. If you’re looking for a relaxing game that you can finish in well under 10 hours, Yono is your elephant.

Final Score: 7.5

(Review code provided by the publisher)


Famicomplicated said...

YOLO, Yono!

Sairus Delaney said...

Wow this game is freakishly adorable. I may actually look into picking this up!