Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles, developed and published by Prideful Sloth, is a cute and care free third person adventure, exploration game that draws the player in with a beautiful, cell shaded environment that is full on wonder. After playing around with some of the simple character creation, we’re ready to begin.
Many will be reminded of such games as Breath of the Wild and Fable, and it just looks to have taken inspiration from these titles. Yonder opens on a boat, with you and the crew heading towards the island, Gemea, on a rather choppy sea. Unfortunately (or not as it’s part of the game) the boat crashes and the main character is washed ashore. You then awaken with a very similar scene from Breath of the Wild to discover the vast world.
You soon discover that a darkness, called Murk, has spread over Gemea and the player’s task is to help remove it by completing quests and tasks with the sprites you collect along the way. Contrary to most other exploration games, Yonder has designed the island to be safe. During your time on the island you are at no point at risk of having to fend off monsters or other creatures. From what I’ve seen the only way I have died is by jumping into too deep water, but there is no penalty for death.
The controls were simple to master and the inventory system was easily navigated, giving the player the freedom to focus on spamming Y to gather all the resources lying around the island. The greatest part of the control scheme was that pressing up on the D pad took you to a quick quest access, and this was beneficial when running about as it will direct you to current quests without having to go into the full quest screen.
The world was large and full of relaxing and beautiful scenes, mixed with environment sounds and music to really draw the player into the realm, but can feel empty with the lack of enemies and interaction. There is, however, an abundance of loot trees to chop, which with an added farming element to replant them, stones to smash and grass to cut. While most quests are fetch and carry, you can end up having most of the items all ready, if you are like me and chop, smash and pick up everything in sight! I do feel the quests lack depth and the NPCs, while seeming warm and friendly, did not drive me to run out and do their quests.
As I said earlier, Yonder does have a farming system to farm plots that generate income and look after the world’s animals. Animals are easily obtained when offered their favourite food, which again made it nice and simple.
Overall, Yonder seems to have drawn lots of ideas from previous games and is basic in its delivery. However, this can be overlooked for a quite a while as wandering the beautiful landscape, and the cute fluffy relaxed nature of the quests and NPCs, really take your mind off the simple explore game. I think the game does do something new with the no risk game play and I commend them for that. I know my 6-year-old son will have no worries running about and won’t scream at dad when he dies.