Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles was recently released by Prideful Sloth on Steam and the PS4. It’s an open world game where you’re tasked with saving Gemea, an island paradise slowly being consumed by Murk. I was able to get a copy for review a bit before the game came out and have put a fair amount of time into it, completing its story and many of the quests the game provides.
In Yonder, you play customized character that’s been shipwrecked on Gemea. Right off the bat, you meet a Sprite who helps you through a brief tutorial about movement, item collecting, and Murk-busting. After that, you’re left to your own devices but directed to the closest town. From there you’ll learn more about gathering items, basic crafting, and will eventually build your first farm. At any point in the game, you can go off exploring, visiting one of the 8 different environments Gemea has to offer. Each environment has its own trees, flowers, and seasonal changes. You’ll build farms, befriend wildlife, join crafting guilds, help people in need. You’ll also collect Sprites that will help you disperse pockets of Murk throughout the land, unlocking more secrets, treasures, and paths to explore.
While you’re out exploring you can also continue to customize your character with new hairdos, hair colors, clothing, and accessories. Most of these items you can even craft yourself. Need help managing your farm (animal poop builds up fast) whip up some tasty food and use it to hire farmhands to do all the heavy lifting for you. Need some shortcuts across the map? Build bridges, or unlock the secrets of the 8 Sage Stones to warp yourself from area to area. Want to sit around and fish all day? Yup. You can do that, too. There’s even a bunch of easter eggs and a hidden city of not-so-pleasant inhabitants to find.
Found this easter egg early on while trying to take a shortcut
Of course can also follow the storyline, which is basically just an overblown tutorial for many of the game’s features. It’s short, simple, and can be accomplished without seeing 90% of what Yonder has to offer.
Yonder is a beautiful game, filled with lush environments, bright colors, and lively inhabitants. The soundtrack is soothing, non-invasive, and fills out Gemea as you wander around, doing as you do.
It also has Groffles, one of the cutest in-game animals I’ve ever seen. Seriously.
One of the most impressive visuals in Yonder is the night sky. Sometimes while you’re exploring you’ll find constellation stones. Each one you find will cause that constellation to flare up in brilliant blues in the night sky. Find them all and you’ll be playing under an amazing glowing sky that makes you wish it’s always night.
While the core Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is very simple, there’s just way more content than I could get into in a review. I’ve been a few weeks playing the game for several hours every night, and I’ve still got a few more quests to complete. The game is a blast to play, and I keep telling myself I’ll “just craft a few more items” every time I play. While I’m absolutely in love with the game, it does have a few pitfalls.
First, the story is too short, light on plot, and is a bit anti-climactic. Like I stated earlier, you can complete it without seeing 90% of what the game has to offer. There are whole areas of Gemea you could miss, along with most of the crafting guilds. The best part of the story is that it unlocks another town with people to interact with once it’s complete.
My next issue is with the crafting system. Just about every crafting tree you get has a few items needed that can’t be made. Mortar, for example, is needed for just about every Construction recipe. You need it to make Keystones, which are needed in a lot of larger stone object. You then need MORE of it when it comes time to craft those items. You can only get Mortar my trading for it from people in towns. The problem is there’s never enough. Not only that, but it doesn’t seem to restock with any particular person on a regular basis. This makes it tough to craft a lot of Construction projects, and there’s a lot of bridges to be built throughout the island.
I’ve taken this up with Prideful Sloth, and they’ve assured me that items like this will be taken care of in weekly patches.
Overall, though, I can’t recommend Yonder enough. It’s one of those games where, even though there’s no real point to farming, trading, fishing, etc…, it just feels great doing all those things. I’m always working on making my farms better, planting new trees over the island, cooking all the different kinds of food, and tailoring my own fashions.
If you’re a fan of action, Yonder might not be for you. If you love making stuff, this isn’t one to pass up.
A PS4 key for Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles was provided free for review by Prideful Sloth.