Dawww it’s so cute!
Yono and the Celestial Elephants – Nintendo Switch – Released: 10/12/17 – $14.99
Short Review (Review Copy provided by Developer)
This one was one of the games that when I saw I knew I wanted to get a hold of. The art style is a rare one to see and a welcome addition to the Switch line up. It is bright and colorful then you notice the game play and it is very Zelda-like. It really scratched my itch for another Zelda game and since it is fairly short it didn’t overstay its welcome. This is a great thing since the game has very easy mechanics so it is simple for anyone to pick up and play.
I wanted to see how this game would fair in the hands of a child and my nephew fell in love with it. The first two hours I just sat there watching him, now he can’t read so I had to read everything and the occasional “You have to go there” to keep going. He didn’t really have a hard time playing once I helped him with little things but he just kept playing until I tried to take it away from him. This game is an amazing starter Zelda game for children and it has only 3 buttons, attack, interact, and use your trunk. You do have a lock on button but it really isn’t needed for anything since nothing requires precise aiming. During this time he didn’t get to any of the bosses but he did do some small fighting, picking up keys and placing them, doing a fetch quest and talking to town’s people. He typically wants to swap games all the time but he didn’t want to change this one at all.
I on the other hand found this game incredibly simple but that isn’t a bad thing, the collecting and reading sections are really in-depth. As Yono, your job is to collect letters and figure out the history of past Elephants to find your place in the world. The game isn’t long at all clocking in around 5-7 hours depending on what you decide to do. The opening I found to be the longest and then it greatly speeds up. The first dungeon took me almost 3 hours until I got into it and defeated the first boss. The game has several stories to tell in the form of collecting letters. These letters are able to unlock pages of history on previous Elephants, I found these to be something out of Avatar The Last Airbender. As you fill up more pages they tell a story about an Elephant that has come before you so much like Aang, Yono wants to live up to his ancestors and leave his mark on the world. While doing this he has to interact with the three races of this world, Humans, Bonewrights, and Mercurium, and they all have issues that you must solve. Everything you will do in the game will have to be put out with water, set on fire, lifted and taken somewhere else, dash into it or push blocks.
The game is very linear being directed to go in certain directions but you do have the option of doing side quests but most of them are gather this item and bring it back to me. The bosses are very unique but play out as a puzzle rather than an actual fight. The game doesn’t overstay its welcome the story is straight forward and isn’t cluttered so each moment with a character defines them. I fell in love with these characters, wanted to see how the adorable Yono finds his place in the world, and learn about the previous Elephants before him.
Yono also has a great icon:
The story beginnings with Yono being “born” and he meets a girl in the woods. She explains that Elephant are rare and holy animals that once every 1,000 years come back to Earth because it is in great need. Yono explains that he is willing to help out as much as he can and will do his best to fix all the needs of the people. Once he gets to the first town they find a monk that has been sent off on a “pilgrimage” but in reality he was sent off because the other monks don’t like him and does more harm than good while at the temple. Yono follows the monk to his town to show the people that the new Elephant has arrived and will solve their issues. Once he gets to the city the Queen asks to meet with him right away since it is an urgent task, the princess has gone missing and he needs to find out what has happened to her. During this talk the Queen blames all the different races which sets off the plot of the game that the real issue is the races do not get along. They are quick to blame each other for things even when they have no evidence to back it up. Yono quickly goes to the temple to find out more information since there is a Bonewright that keeps track of history…. but its been 1,000 years and the library is a mess. He tasks you with finding “letters” to fill in the deteriorated pages so you can uncover the past Elephant’s history. Yono ventures out into the world to collect letters, solve the issues of the three races and bring balance to the world by solving those issues.
The gameplay is much like Zelda and this is the best part about it. It is very simple but in its simplicity it hits the mark for being a Zelda inspired game right on the nose. Yono can only perform 4 different tasks with button presses, interact, use trunk, dash, and lock onto things. There are no items to collect, no power ups, but there is the ability to change what Yono looks like. A lot of these are references to other games and TV shows. You do have to pay for these but money is everywhere in this game much like Zelda expect you don’t throw pots in people’s houses you dash into them to break them. Yono’s puzzles are pretty basic but the bosses is where things get mixed up. The bosses play more like a big puzzle instead of a fight which I like, the first boss requires you to open their mouth because fire is there. Your job is to open its mouth and use the nearby bowl of water to douse the flame. This does damage to him and after a few times you beat him. This is how you will eventually finish the game but the other main quest is finishing the history of previous Elephants. Throughout your journey you will break pots to gather letters which are used in the monk temple to unlock more pages of history. This to me if my favorite part of the game since the incredible stories of the previous Elephants are amazing, the first one is between a war of twin brothers who both believe they should be king. As their father is on his deathbed they have been preparing for years to wage an all out war to claim the throne. This is a really serious story for such an innocent looking game.
This was a great game that I enjoyed playing from beginning to end. My only issue would be that if you are too close to something the dash attack won’t work. I did mention it to the developer but I don’t think it is a bug just the attack requires a wind up. I was always trying to push into an enemy that was right on top of me instead of backing up a little. The story is pretty unique if you haven’t seen Avatar the Last Airbender which I highly recommend for anyone that hasn’t. This game really fills in as a Zelda game with the story of the Last Airbender, which is an A+ in my book. Not sure if the creator intended for that but Yono does have an Avatar costume so maybe? The game isn’t hard by a long shot, I never died, I picked up all the extra heart containers, and none of the bosses gave me any issues. The best part is still reading the history of previous Elephants since they are pretty awesome in their own right so I would be all for prequels for this game covering them.
Need a Zelda itch to be scratch that isn’t Zelda long? Or do you have a child and want to get them into Zelda? This is the game to pick up and at only $15 I wouldn’t pass it up either way. It is a solid game with an adorable hero with a somewhat dark story if you dig into it. I would definitely say buy it! I will also be having my girlfriend play this game for “Green Gamer” since I believe it would be a good starting game for people that don’t game that often. Yono is a great bonding experience for a child since even though my nephew can’t read I read it to him and it plays just like a Saturday morning cartoon if you are willing to take the extra step to do voice.
I would give this game a 9 out of 10!
I thought I was carrying a snail… it was a rock and this is where all the signs in the village are kept.
My Elgato will be here on Monday! I can’t wait to take better quality pictures and finally start working on video reviews I have been talking to another reviewer about how to go about doing that which has been great help! Going to keep this short again because reviews…. still behind…. must…. catch…. up…. I am like 5 behind so today will likely be a two part-er and tomorrow will be just one so then I can go back to two a week.