I’ve been wanting the play Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles for a long while, and with it recently being released for Nintendo Switch I thought now would be the perfect time! Did it exceed my expectations? Or did I regret playing it? Read on to find out!
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch; Also available on PlayStation 4 and PC.
Your story begins as your customizable character sets sail across the oceans, ready to explore the wide open seas. Only moments later, a storm approaches and your ship is well and truly wrecked. It’s not all bad though as you wash up on an Island that is to be the setting to your greatest adventure yet, Gemea.
As beautiful as it first seems you quickly realise something isn’t right. There appears to be a purple, shadowy mist surrounded many parts of the island. You later find out that this shadowy substance is called ‘Murk’ You take it upon yourself to help rid Gemea of this murk once and for all.
Disposing of the murk is no easy task, however. The only way to effectively get rid of it is to entrust the help of Sprites; magical spirit-like creatures hidden throughout the World of Gemea. Each part of murk you dispose of uncovers more of this wonderful World for you to explore.
It’s unusual to have an open world game that involves no combat whatsoever and although I was skeptical at first, let me tell you, it works so well. I didn’t miss the combat at all like I thought I would. I thought I would miss a leveling up system, but I didn’t at all. There are so many other things to focus on; cooking, fishing, crafting, brewing, exploring and even farming. Yes, you can have multiple farms in Gemea in which you can grow crops and even keep animals. Undoubtedly my favourite thing to do in Yonder, although it can easily be forgotten about as it’s something the game doesn’t press you to do. It can get lost in the quests you embark on.
Another unusual thing about Yonder is that there is no currency in the game. Instead, you must get the items you want from traders. Every item you collect has a value, and you must trade items up to the value of the item you would like. For example, if a trader has say a clay pot worth 30, you could trade 30 sticks which are valued at 1 each. Make sense? It’s interesting but can get annoying when you don’t want to give up anything in your backpack (like me). The best advice I can give to anyone starting Yonder is to collect everything that’s not glued down as chances are you will need it at some point during the game for a quest, and you don’t need to worry about your backpack space as it’s pretty much unlimited. That gets a big thumbs up from me.
This is truly an exploration game, with 8 gorgeous biomes from peaceful grasslands to frozen valleys you can easily spend countless moments delving into all of these breathtakingly stunning areas. There’s something magical about just wandering around with no real purpose other than just to look at your surroundings, to see what beautiful things you can find. I was in awe at all the animals wandering around, all different from one another. I was even more amazed when I realised I could feed them a specific item and they would follow me back to my farm, for me to keep forever! (No animals were harmed during this review)
Graphics & Sound
Yonder looks and feels amazing. As much as I love realistic graphics, I much prefer this cute, cartoony look. The vibrant colours and beautiful environments just make the game what it is. Wonderful. Nothing feels out of place and everything is pleasing to the eye. So much detail has quite clearly gone into making this a phenomenal experience for just about everyone who experiences it. I don’t think I can quite put into words how incredible Yonder and the island of Gemea looks.
Now, the sounds from this game are what made me really fall in love with it. From the get go, walking around the areas and hearing my backpack jingling and the birds singing made me smile. It was bliss. It’s the little things that made it a heavenly experience. Just take a listen to the opening song (below) and tell me that doesn’t make you feel things!
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles isn’t going to be for everyone. I can’t tell you it’s going to be the most thrilling or exciting game you’ve ever played, but what I can tell you is that it will be the most relaxing experience of your gaming life. I’m sure of it. It brought me copious amounts of joy, more than any other game I can remember. I often got lost in the biomes and the sound of birds whistling.
If you’re looking for a game to get lost in and aren’t too worried about a great story, then you have to give Yonder a try for sure. One of my favourite games I’ve played this year. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.