PAX West 2017: First Impressions – Yono and the Celestial Elephants (Nintendo Switch)

First off, Yono and the Celestial Elephants takes the cake for the most adorable game of PAX West. It’s being compared to classic The Legend of Zelda games (by the folks at the demo station, no less), which is a fairly apt description, except subbing in an adorable elephant for a sword-wielding hero.

You begin the game by controlling Yono, an eager young elephant located in a town full of folks with problems that need solving—notably, the kind of problems that are perfect for an elephant to solve watering a large garden patch with haste or waking up a lazy villager.

If it sounds rather benign, don’t worry! The animation is incredibly cute, and the humor is that gentle, smile-worthy style that would border on cringe-worthy if it didn’t have such an appealing context surrounding it. It’s the kind of game that evokes a feeling of happiness and warmth, with oversaturated colors… until you reach the dungeon.

The demo had Yono entering a dungeon, which was dark and gloomy, as one expects a dungeon to be. There are plenty of enemies—skeletons to fight, areas to avoid, and a ferryman who wants you to find his lantern. In the dungeon, Yono’s range of abilities becomes clearer, using elephant strength to break items, push blocks, and ram enemies.

The dungeon area felt familiar, which is where the Legend of Zelda comparison really comes into play. You’re finding keys, opening doors, and venturing further and further into the darkness until eventually finding your goal.

The demo really only offered these two play areas, but similarities to a Zelda game aside, it was intriguing enough—and fun enough—to warrant my intrigue piqued. It’s coming to the Switch in October, so I anticipate spending many hours with an adorable elephant in the near future.


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Author: Micah View all posts by
Micah has been playing games since his first pong machine, and has been writing for as long as he could grip a pencil and not drool on the paper. So, for about a week.

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