Neckbolt‘s cute puzzler Yono and the Celestial Elephants proves that top-down adventures aren’t dead yet.
What’s with all the latest indie titles offering cute aesthetics instead of the same old pixel art and actually some interesting gameplay ideas outside the standard rogue-likes? After A Hat in Time showed that the 3D platformer genre can still provide memorable levels, this game about the elephant Yono who has to save a world that is populated by humans, zombies and robots seems to be another winner, not only in the visual department.
Having an elephant as a protagonist is already a cool idea, and of course the gameplay reflects this, as Yono’s trunk has to be used to solve puzzles, i.e. by loading it up with air, water, fire, and other things. There are also boss fights and other enemies to push against, so with a health meter at the top of the screen, this isn’t simply about overcoming brain-teasers. Looking for treasure in dungeons, forests or caves, visiting towns to talk to people, buy upgrades at shops and solving side-quests might be reminiscent of Zelda, but with the extremely cute isometric view and character design, I had to think of the Little Big Adventure series. As it has been a long time since Little Big Adventure – Enhanced Edition was released, it’s about time to find something that can restore my faith in imaginative and colorful worlds to explore. Even if discussions about ascetic virtue ethics with the undead, existentialism and freedom of will with the robots, and political philosophy and the roots of power and authority with the humans sounds to be a bit too much for a more fun-focused game, the world-building of this title seems unique enough to dive into its mysteries.
The game already made its debut on Nintendo Switch in August, but the PC version is out now with a 10% launch discount that will last until October 19, 4PM UTC.
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