Yono and the Celestial Elephants
A simple, enjoyable puzzle-adventure with an adorable aesthetic and kind-hearted story.
Yono and the Celestial Elephants focuses on Yono -- an elephant -- as he goes on a small adventure to understand his place in the world. As an elephant, the inhabitants regard Yono as a god who is capable of greatness. This leads him to travelling around to different areas, each with their own theme, solving environmental puzzles to advance further. These puzzles usually entail pushing around boxes to trigger chain reactions, navigating moving platforms, and using Yono's trunk to spit peanuts, spray water, or expel fire. These puzzles gradually ramp up in difficulty throughout the game, becoming more complex and involving more elements, but never provide too much of a challenge. Between solving puzzles, Yono visits towns in new areas, speaking with the townsfolk to learn more about that town's people and what the problem is that needs to be fixed. These small conversations build up the lore of the world and provide a nice break from the puzzle-solving. Every element of the game has an adorable aesthetic, with bright colors and plushy people, making for a fun, feel-good adventure.
Gameplay Yono doesn't do too much to separate itself from other puzzle-adventures, but still has well-crafted, enjoyable gameplay. The main gameplay element is solving environmental puzzles, with each area introducing new ideas. Every puzzle uses the same, basic tools that Yono always has -- his body, back, and trunk. Yono can push around various blocks, such as wooden boxes or ice cubes, moving them onto switches or blocking hazards. He can pick up items, like keys, to unlock doors and progress to the next room. His trunk is his most versatile tool, which lets him inhale different materials to interact with the environment. He can spit peanuts at balloons or triggers, spray water to put out flames, or inhale hot peppers to burn things. Yono never receives more abilities, but each of his inherit tools are used in new ways throughout the adventure, and the puzzles never feel repetitive because of this. Some puzzles include enemies that Yono can bash his body into to hit, and while they never provide a real challenge, they're used sparingly enough to add a nice distraction to the regular puzzling-solving. As you go around completing puzzles, there are pots and jars you can break to earn money and regain health. The money is used for changing Yono's elephant skin at any a shop in each of the town's, and more skins are unlocked as you progress through the game.
Cool Features Yono features three unique bosses, with the first two being puzzle-focused, and the last one being more combat-focused. They're a strong addition and do a great job of breaking up the usual puzzles.
Each town has a few side quests, which typically reward you with money, hearts containers, or letters. Four heart containers can be converted into an extra health upgrade for Yono. The letters, which are unlocked about halfway through the game, can be converted into story entries which reveal more about the legacy of past elephants that roamed the world.
Is it for you? Yono and the Celestial Elephants is always an enjoyable game, even if it never steps out of its comfort zone to try something new. Each area of the game is unique and builds upon the previous areas, giving the game a good sense of progression and making the adventure feel just a little more grand. The puzzles will never provide you with too much of a challenge, but they're still fun to work through and you'll feel accomplished each time, especially with the more intricate puzzles towards the end. Every aspect of the game is adorable, from the art to the dialogue, and if you find that appealing and like puzzle-solving, then you should pick up Yono.