Yono and the Celestial Elephants

Yono and the Celestial Elephants Review

An adorable isometric adventure

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Switch on

ESRB Everyone rating

Seeing a delightful elephant skipping around a vibrant world will surely catch the eye of gamers with a soft spot for cuteness. Yono and the Celestial Elephants may be adorable but let's see if the adventure itself is one worth going on.

Yono and the Celestial Elephants screenshot 1
Yono's such a nice fellow that he gives chickens free rides

As you can see from the screenshots, Yono and the Celestial Elephants is one of the cutest games ever made. Watching the little elephant cheerfully hop around the lovely world that he finds himself in is sure to put a smile on your face. Along his journey, he'll meet plenty of folks who come from different backgrounds such as humans, machines, and even the undead. No matter what appearance someone has, Yono will be there to help them and hopefully bring a little joy to their existence. To elevate this charming and enjoyable world, a beautiful soundtrack composed of many gentle rhythms both catchy and atmospheric plays throughout. There are also plenty of embellishments such as trumpet sound effects whenever Yono gets hurt. It all comes together to make a fantastic and memorable world that comes across like a children's storybook in 3D.

So, what's Yono doing on this strange planet? Basically, an elephant arrives every thousand years or so and with it comes good fortune. When Yono first arrives, he's full of ambition to help the residents of this planet. As you meet new faces and help them with daily life, you'll see that Yono's unrelenting need to spread happiness is an admirable trait. As the story progresses, things get a lot more complicated as Yono tries to understand why people fight with each other and he even gets himself into a whole heap of trouble. By the end of the story, you'll be surprised by how much it makes you think about the condition that our world is in.

Yono and the Celestial Elephants screenshot 2
Making everyone happy is a lot tougher than Yono thought it would be...

Yono and the Celestial Elephants is an isometric adventure game where you travel between locations while performing optional fetch quests and traversing a few lengthy dungeons. You'll discover plenty of areas such as a snowy mountaintop, a bustling mechanical city, and a forest full of hedgehogs. All of the areas are connected via a handy railroad system that links to a central hub. Anyway, the core of the gameplay is about solving puzzles. These involve tasks such as pushing blocks, flipping switches, blowing on pinwheels, and filling your trunk with water, peanuts, and hot peppers in order to get water wheels moving, shoot at targets, and catch things on fire. Many of the rooms involve implementing a combination of tasks and collectively, they add up to form one satisfying journey.

Although the puzzles are clever and involve some work, I didn't find any of them to be particularly challenging. Without the help of a guide, I managed to breeze through the campaign within a few hours and never got stuck once. I can see the puzzles being challenging for children but I wish that I had to think outside the box from time to time. A few of the later puzzles are more complex and involve carrying things between rooms but nothing is truly noodle-scratching. Along the same lines, the combat primarily consists of head-butting your opponents and it doesn't require any strategy. As a side note, you get health power-ups as you explore but you never really need them because the game is ultimately unchallenging. The bosses are pretty cool but even they are easy to take down.

Finally, the campaign is somewhat short as it can be completed within a few hours and there isn't much replay value once you do. You could try to max out your health meter but doing that is unnecessary. You can also purchase skins for Yono and fill out a book of lore although I managed to do so about halfway through the campaign without even trying. I should also mention that I experienced a few glitches that made me quit out of the game and reload in order to continue. Once, a boss ran out of the arena and it wouldn't come back. I hope they fix these bugs soon because they occasionally take away from the otherwise enjoyable adventure.

Yono and the Celestial Elephants screenshot 3
Now that Yono ate some hot peppers and has a key on his head, let's move on to the next room!

Yono and the Celestial Elephants is a memorable and charming journey with a story that'll actually make you think. Although it suffers from a mostly unchallenging campaign, this is one adventure that you'll definitely be happy to experience.

  • + Extremely cute visuals and a charming soundtrack full of catchy tunes
  • + Satisfying puzzle-filled adventure
  • + Story will unexpectedly make you think
  • - Puzzles generally aren't challenging and the combat is very one-note
  • - Somewhat short / not much replay value
  • - The odd glitch can be very annoying
7.5 out of 10
Gameplay video for Yono and the Celestial Elephants 4:14
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