- Platforms: PC, PS4 (Reviewed)
- Developer: Prideful Sloth
- Publisher: Prideful Sloth
- Release Date: July 18th, 2017
Games that have a passive and relaxing nature can be extremely addicting, with games such as Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing leading the pack. Prideful Sloth’s Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles looks to enter the fray with their open-world adventure. While the game can be somewhat simplistic, Yonder‘s atmosphere and charming visuals make this game one you’ll want to explore.
Yonder begins with your character sailing some rough seas on a journey to find a mysterious island that doesn’t appear on any maps. With a celestial compass as your guide you set off for the island, eventually making it there in an unfortunate way. You are awoken surrounded by wreckage of your ship, and must find your way around the mysterious island of Gemea.
Once you have arrived on Gemea the adventure becomes wide open right from the start. There are no lengthy tutorials or area restrictions, letting the player ease into the adventure at their own pace without any hindrances. The main task to help the citizens of Gemea is to rid the island of an impenetrable fog-like substance called Murk, which is littered throughout the island. To banish the murk you’ll need to collect sprites, which are hidden in all the nooks and crannies of Gemea. Each patch of murk requires a certain number of sprites, and once the murk dissipates there are usually rewards to be found.
Yonder presents a very interesting adventure, taking a very unconventional approach compared to many games in the same vein. One of the first things you’ll notice when arriving on the island of Gemea is that you’re not restricted by time of day. Anything and everything is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without having to interrupt your adventuring to sleep or go back to your farm to rest. There are also no health and stamina gauges to keep your eye on, and there is no way for your character to be physically harmed. All of the wildlife you encounter are pretty docile, and you can’t even suffer a 5 foot fall without your character parachuting down using an umbrella.
While there are small villages and communities scattered across the island, your cannot enter any buildings or shops. The communities consist of two key assets that come in handy throughout the game, those being the guilds and the trade posts. While there is an in-game currency, the protagonist must have left his wallet on the ship as they cannot carry any cash. All deals must be made by bartering, and acquiring valuable goods can be relatively easy once you dabble in some guilds. There are several guilds in Yonder, each based on a different type of crafting. Becoming fluent in carpentry, brewing, constructing, cooking, and other tasks will allow you to gain plenty of recipes and fetch some good trade value.
The island of Gemea is very diverse, split into 8 different regions that have different climate and wildlife. It can be really captivating to explore, especially as day transitions to night and your lantern light swings about, illuminating caverns and forestry. You’ll get the chance to explore every inch of the island, as you’re not able to fast travel apart from hopping between sage stones and the odd warp point.
One of the unfortunate things you’ll find when questing and venturing throughout the island is that most, if not all, of the island’s population are not very memorable. The characters you encounter at each village all look and act very similar, lacking any personality and individuality.
Yonder‘s crafting mechanics are incredibly simple, which actually takes some of the fun out of the game. All that’s needed to craft an item is the right amount of a certain set of ingredients and you can create the item by a simple button click from the inventory screen. Cooking recipes, constructing stone arches, and brewing beverages can all be done from anywhere in the game without stepping foot in a kitchen, shop, or brewery. While it does make fetching quests extremely easy to complete, it doesn’t have the same rewarding satisfaction, and almost feels like cutting a corner.
Despite its simplicity, Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is a charming adventure title that can be played at any pace. The island of Gemea is just too pretty not to explore, with plenty of collectibles and quests around every corner.
A Playstation 4 review code of Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles was provided by Prideful Sloth