Title – Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles
Platform – XBOX ONE
Developer – Prideful Sloth
Publisher – Prideful Sloth
Release Date – February 20, 2019
Also Available on – Nintendo Switch, PS4, STEAM
The story in a nutshell is that you end up surviving a gnarly shipwreck during a violent thunderstorm and end up on a magical island that you will come to know is called Gemea. The land is apparently polluted by a dark energy referred to as “Murk” which can only be cleared by Sprites randomly found around the island. Specifically, a set number of them may be needed. Certain areas that you come across are barricaded by Murk so these Sprites have a significant impact to your progression. Along the way there are a myriad of side quests that keep you busy and in some cases may have you going back and forth between areas which can get a little mundane, however since the game is so open you still have plenty of opportunities to poke around with stuff along the way. This game features a completely non-combat style of play and focuses very heavily on the exploration, agriculture and bartering within the mix.
Exploration is heavily encouraged in this game and you instantly get the notion to do just that when you begin the game. In fact, the intro is very reminiscent of one that most are familiar with in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. You are greeted with a lush and vast overview of an enormous land just waiting to be traversed. There will also come a moment in time where you can decide to claim an area of your choosing and build a home of your own where you can farm, fish, and handle other objectives. You also have the ability to hire a farm hand later in the game, while you’re out adventuring.
The character customisation elements of this game are surprisingly deep with what one would describe as a “job system” where you can learn and master tailoring, chefdom, carpentry, and other skills. You also have the ability to craft and trade items some of which are required to advance through the narrative by solving puzzles and what not. Speaking of trading, bartering is the only type of system in which to acquire materials and goods in this world. There isn’t really a currency, but a set value of what each item is worth compared to another. Each region and town is associated with a particular guild. Each guild specialises in a “job,” as mentioned prior, and some items fetch a higher or lower value between the towns and areas. This system actually works fairly well and can definitely keep you busy, so be ready for that.
There are various biomes in this world including: grasslands with meadows, snow-capped mountainous regions, thick and lush forests, tropical areas, and more. The land as a whole is affected by dynamic seasonal changes and each region reacts to it in their own way, which adds a nice touch. New opportunities are formed when this happens, so it’s a good idea to go back to certain areas as the weather changes.
The character movement whilst running is fluent and smooth with no noticeable input lag or any hindrance of that sort. The overall control scheme of the game isn’t very demanding and quite user friendly. Mainly a jump, action, and menu button with the occasional use of shoulder buttons to switch between tools and such. It would have been nice to have a little more freedom of actions outside of being close to objects that you can interact with, however it may have been designed in this way to prevent intentional violence. Crafting items is very simple and straightforward with a single tap of a button while in the crafting section of the menu. As long as you have the material and or recipe… you can craft it, you can do this anytime and in any place, which is very convenient.
The game features lovely visuals and these are a joy to take in while exploring. The art-style is detailed and clean with a friendly and inviting cartoon-like approach that suits the game. Considering this, the environments have been captured and portrayed exceptionally well and character/npc models are minimalistic but clean and get the job done.
The sound mastering is handled with plenty of care and attention to detail, especially with the ambience of the various biomes, weather conditions, and when in caves. It does an excellent job of giving the player that immersive and “in the moment” feel, and the orchestral soundtrack is absolutely stellar!
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is a relaxing open-world of exploration where you will be managing agriculture, building structures, dealing in commerce, fishing, and much more.. all of which will be exercised with zero combat required! Some may consider the implementation of the mechanics risky and an impressive feat but this game thoroughly excels at handling this style and approach with flying colours. It’s a nice change of pace to be able to enjoy an open world game where you can farm and fish without any violence. So, to those looking for a relaxing open world experience that’s accessible to gamers of any age, I highly recommend this game. However, those that are looking for a little more action may want to stick to your Zelda Breath of the Wild or Skyrim.
My final score for Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is 9 out of 10
- Free roam and non-violent
- Gorgeous visuals
- Stellar Sound Design and orchestral music score
- Interesting barter system
- Very user friendly controls and crafting made easy
Review by ZmanTheTech (Snoley Games) Zuryel Davenport
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