Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is a game that combines an artistic and stylized looking world with a diverse set of mechanics which refreshingly don’t involve action/violence of any form. From a colorful open world designed intricately, to the various adorable creatures that the player encounters while traversing across the said world, everything is just a joy to look at.

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is an an open-world adventure game developed and published by Prideful Sloth for the PC and PS4. The game was released on 18th July 2017.


Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

Detailed Review


Story And Narrative

The main story of Yonder revolves around the spreading of a purple fog, referred to as the ‘murk’ by the inhabitants of Gemea which has started spreading and is presumably causing trouble and your job as the Cloud Catcher is to eradicate the murk from the island.

Many a times the game sends you to places all around the map in search of hats, animals or something similar. The quests are obviously designed in a way so that the player can visit all corners of the map and discover the the game world. Even if your focus is on the main story, you’ll get to explore a lot of the world.

Oh a fetch quest is coming….

I think Yonder’s biggest shortcoming are it’s narrative and gameplay design. The plot is fairly straight forward fantasy setting- a ‘one of a kind’ person lands on an island and only he can save the island from the ‘Murk’. While a standard setting does not determine the quality of the narrative, the mission structure is static throughout the game. You do a lot of fetch questing, both for side missions as well as story missions and it gets old pretty fast if you have been playing games for a long time now. This gives the player even less incentive to do any side quests which involve traversing around the map just to find trinkets.

Gameplay And Mechanics

A smaller issue with the game is that the mechanics are very limited. Yes there are lots of things to craft and find, but activities are limited to pre-determined spots. For example, bridges can only be built at specific points on the map. And many bridges require you to go out of your way to collect materials, craft the tools and get the bridge up. Most of the times, an alternate path can be discovered nearby since these bridges for the most part act as shortcuts.

Crafting and searching for items to craft items is going to be the biggest time sink in Yonder, so be prepared to walk across the map to find some ingredient that helps you craft a certain item. The game does include side activities like fishing and managing farms, but they do not engage the player all that much and not having much variation in terms of mission design doesn’t help the case.

Yonder isn’t too deep into gameplay mechanics. It gives you the tools to get the job done and then leaves you in a wide open world to discover, collect and craft items that’ll help you explore. Apart from the main story there isn’t much interesting to do in the world. So once the story is done, there is not much reason to go back unless Platinum Trophy/100% Achievement is a target. It’s story is about 6-8 hours long which probably shows everything the game has to offer.

Graphics Sound and Performance

We played the game on a PC with the following specs:

Intel i5-6500 Processor
Nvidia GTX 1070 Graphics Card
Kingston HyperX Fury 8 GB 2133 MHz RAM

It maintained a constant 100-120 fps throughout the run time, so the performance is solid. The developers have provided a myriad of options for the graphics preferences proving that a considerable amount of time was put into optimizing the game.

The murk doesn’t look very intimidating

Yonder is a great looking game. It’s Zelda like art style, well designed characters and environment really absorb you into the world. From the snowy mountains to the sandy desert to the cherry blossom forest (I am not sure it can be anything else), it’s diversity and beauty many a times hide it’s shortcomings. At least for me it did. The map isn’t gigantic, but it sure is very well designed. The fast travel system has a neat twist where you need to do a quest to open up a sort of portal to a fast travel nexus from where you can jump to a sector of the map.

The character animations do look weird at times in spite of the art direction. The round eyes suddenly become pointy as if some ghost has possessed that certain character. I wouldn’t be surprised if the animations spooked a few people out. While the game does have consistently good animation throughout the run time, there are a few hiccups here and there.

Feels kinda spooky to me at least……

Yonder’s music is towards the cutesy side and it fits the game like a perfectly tailored shirt (It’s a good score). The in game SFX which include- the sounds of various activities, the character sounds, the splashing of water etc are decent.

VERDICT

Yonder is a beautiful and relaxing game which can be played if you are tired of gun/sword/(insert weapon name) toting protagonists running around shooting on sight. It isn’t too long and hence doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and while it may be derivative, it definitely is a game worth looking into if a change of pace is what someone needs.

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