Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles Review
Bambex, Fabbits, and Groffles! Oh My!
This is a written review of Yonder. To check out our irreverant “Let’s Play” of the game, check out this link.
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is an open world adventure/exploration game with heavy elements of crafting integrated. It was developed by Prideful Sloth, an Australian team comprised of only three people, and released for PS4 and Steam. Any number of things could be said about what this game does to deviate from the norm of what is expected from this genre, but we just want to highlight a few particular points of this game.
Art and Music
The art style for Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles will probably remind you of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Even the way that the cities are built to match their environments is sort of reminiscent of a Zelda game. This is not at all a bad thing, since Gemea is a really beautiful Island, and each of the eight environments provides it’s own eye candy with a different set of colors and lighting. It seems that the developers wanted to give players a sense of awe and beauty as they played this game. Even the music is well suited to the game, and it’s not constantly blaring in the background. This actually seems to enhance the gameplay experience as the music will come alive at particular moments to make them feel more special.
One of the biggest surprises in Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is that it contains ABSOLUTELY NO COMBAT. That’s right! Zero. Zilch. Nada. Knowing this, some people will pass over Yonder because it’s not their preferred play style but every now and then, gamers need something a bit more peaceful.
Ask yourself a few questions:
- Can I enjoy playing a game that doesn’t have combat?
- Have I ever played a game where the combat felt tacked on?
- Have I ever played a game where I thought “I really liked everything but the combat?”
Sometimes combat is just a gimmick to attract players to a game or to distract them from other aspects of the game that are not well-developed. Yonder has nothing to hide behind by omitting combat, which is a bold move to say the least.
In addition to a game without combat, Yonder has a very simple and somewhat short story. You play as an unnamed character who was sent away from his/her parents on a ship. The ship wrecks on the island of Gemea, which has eight unique areas, each with it’s own particular climate/environment. You learn that the people of Gemea have been opressed by murk, the evil force that can only be dispensed by the magical sprites that you find along your journey. Though the story is shorter than many games, it is fun and has that sense of mystery that we often long for in video games.
Since there is no combat, and not a heavy storyline you may be asking, “What in the world do you do in this game?” It’s simple really… you explore. Yonder is a game about the the world that it’s set in and is really about exploring Gemea. You can break boulders, mine ore, chop down trees, and even go fishing (if you’re into that kind of thing). Plus, there are super cute animals that you can discover and befriend like the Fabbit or the Groffle, and there are even a bunch of cats all around Gemea as sort of a hidden collectible. Players will find themselves climbing to the top of mountains and tall structures so that they can jump off, open their umbrella and float to safety like some sort of cartoon Mary Poppins. Nearly everywhere you go there is some new resource to discover and collect from the tropical beaches all the way to the farting swamp, Gamea is packed with creativity.
Technically Yonder has achieved a some things and may still have a few kinks to work out. We played this game on a desktop computer that doesn’t have the most up-to-date hardware, but this game still runs flawlessly at 1080p and 60 frames per second with absolutely no frame drops. We even tested it on a pretty low end laptop, and though it couldn’t run at 60 frames, it still ran pretty smoothly. The controls for this game are much better suited to a keyboard and mouse than a controller. Using a controller feels like your character is in a constant state of sprinting or jerking around. This can make it pretty difficult to stop and pick things up or interact with the world. Using a mouse and keyboard made everything feel super slick and not at all clunky. The weakest point of this game though, is the lack of risk. That is to say that it is not possible to die, loose progress, or have to start things over. Yonder is a world where you can only move forward, and you the player don’t risk anything in making decisions. Some players will not mind this, in fact they may even prefer it, but others will find it bothersome.
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is a fun indie game that gives us a break from the typical combat-driven games we play and draws us into a beautiful world. At $19.99 on PS4 and $24.99 on Steam, it’s a great game for players who want to be immersed into a beautiful, whimsical world.
Author: Josh Thompson
My name is Josh Thompson. I love Jesus, I love video games, and I fart a lot. That’s exactly what I said to my wife when we started dating, and for some reason she still married me.