I will not lie here. I was massively exited to play this very stylish looking game, developed by Prideful Sloth. My Yonder The Cloud Catcher Chronicles review was always going to be something I personally wanted to do! After all this is a game that targets your sense of discovery and wonder, and pulls you in to its stunning over-saturated world. Full of colours and very cute action, available Tuesday 18 July for PS4 and PC.
This game was very me. It also has a lot of appeal, particularly to gamers who like something a bit calmer than your standard action title. But is it for you? Well it’s certainly not for everyone but, for what the developers have set out to accomplish, they have done a wonderful job.
Does this slower, more adventure focus make YOU as exited to play as me? Let me know in the Disqus or Facebook comments at the end. Remember to share this with your friends and fellow gamers on social media and spread this great game around!
Also, the layout here is somewhat different to normal. We are changing our reviews in August based on your feedback! Why? Read here, and let me know if the format is helpful!
How does it play
The controls are basic but no so much so that it feels childish. X to jump, square to interact with things and triangle to bring up your menu. Moving around feels responsive, but it’s one of those games where the movement is a bit heavy.
Holding forward speeds you up into a run instead of instantly running, and stopping doesn’t stop you straight away, although running and stopping happen quickly so you won’t find yourself falling off cliffs when you stop just before the edge. If you do fall from a height, there is no fall damage as your character automatically pulls out a cute little umbrella and Mary Poppins’ their way down.
Easy to pick up…
Everything is easy to get used to, and soon enough I was out there exploring and crafting and fulfilling quests. Living off the land is a big part of this game, and things like farming and fishing are easy to learn and easy to do, which is a bonus. One gripe I have about the game however, is that there are no mounts to get around on. The world is surprisingly big for the kind of game it is, and running across huge open fields to get somewhere does get a bit boring sometimes.
You can fast travel in this game however, and that does help a lot. Fast travel exists in the form of ‘Sage Stones’, which appear as big stone heads. Once you find them, each sage stone requires you to complete a sort of test. Once you have completed it, the mouth will open and lead to a sort of ‘fast travel hub world’, where you will see other sage stones, and if you have opened them, you can travel through to their respective places on the map.
Presentation and Graphics
This game is beautiful. SO beautiful! The colours are oversaturated which makes everything so bright and dreamlike. Many times I found myself climbing to a high point just to look around in awe at my surroundings!
The art style is cutesy with both NPC’s and your player character resembling rag-dolls, and the animals all looking like plushies.
As the seasons change, so too does the environment. The visual changes for every season are stunning, and if you stop and look you can see them happening seamlessly just before the seasons change. Spring and summer are definitely the most beautiful, as the colours are at their brightest.
Blossoms are striking pink and the grass is the kind of green you wish real life grass was! As expected, Autumn has warm oranges and yellows, and Winter brings white powdery trees and snow flurries.
During my time playing I did experience only a few framerate dips, but it’s nothing that pulled me out of the game and it’s only really noticeable if you look hard when it happens. Occasionally I’d come across a floating tree or a patch of grass that wasn’t attached to anything, but again, nothing game breaking, and once I moved along I’d pretty much forgotten about it.
Upon starting the game you are put into a basic character creation screen, where you can change your hair, skin and eye colour. Once you’re done, the story then begins with a letter. A letter to you from your parents, explaining that they sent you away to the land of ‘Gemea’ for you to be safe and to start a new life. Yonder is about your adventure in Gemea.
What you choose to do, and also clearing a phenomenon called ‘Murk’ and purifying the land. You are also the only person who can see these adorable creatures called ‘Sprites’, and finding more of them means you can clear more of the Murk.
Upon being given control of your character, you can literally go and do anything. Anything you want! If you want to explore the entire island before even accepting the first quest, you can go and do exactly that.
The freedom in this game is both refreshing and relaxing. The main questline revolves around you healing Gemea and fixing the Cloud Catcher, and if you were to only focus on the story, the main questline isn’t that long, clocking in around 6-8 hours. But I strongly advise taking your time with everything and having fun exploring and taking on side quests and just generally living another life!
Around the Island
The island has 8 different biomes, all of which feel wonderful to explore, and each of them has its own little village. Some of these villages are home to ‘guilds’ such as a bakers guild, tinkers guild and brewers guild. Joining these guilds gives you new recipes for things to craft for your appearance, your farm, quests, and even environmental changes like bridges.
In this game there is no selling or buying, only trading. To get something from a store, you have to offer something or some things that are the same or higher value. As a result you will find that your backpack fills up quicker than you may like and you might have to outright throw away some things, or give more things in trade value for less back, as you can’t just give for nothing in return.
“But… Should I play this?”
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Yonder, and although you can keep playing after the credits have rolled, I felt almost empty once I’d completed the main story. I wish there was a bit more to the main questline, as by the time I’d finished it I’d already done everything else so there wasn’t much left to keep me playing the game.
There are more good points for Yonder than there are bad however. You get to freely explore a sizable open world, which is gorgeous. Also, it’s easy to customise your characters look at any point (provided you have the items to equip).
You can befriend animals and have them on your farm (there is a pig that has flowers growing from it, that’s my favourite critter!) Everything is cute and you can easily lose yourself for hours. The bad points are that the story is too short, your backpack fills up quickly and there’s no option for a mount to make travelling around a little quicker.
You Should Play If…
If you love exploration based games and farming sims like Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon and even The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, this game is for you! The entire game is about exploring every nook and cranny and living off the land.
Think Again If
If you don’t have the patience for adventure and prefer shooting people in the face. Then this definitely isn’t for you. This is a quiet adventure, farming sim that has literally no combat whatsoever.
There is plenty of inspiration taken from games like Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon, and the game looks heavily inspired visual-wise by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
I also felt like there was some Fable inspiration, as running through a forest in Yonder made me think of Fable 2, and how beautiful the forests in that game were too.