Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is coming to Steam on July 18, 2017. Developed by Prideful Sloth, Yonder is about saving an island from the depressive grip of the Murk, a mysterious energy that is sapping the land of happiness. Through questing and exploring in a beautiful, open-world environment, players will collect tools, gather resources, manage farms, and help the island return to its former glory, with the help of the equally mysterious island spirits known as Sprites.
My ship was caught in a fierce storm, and I stood at the bow, helpless against the ravaging seas. Thunder crackled in the sky, waves crashed around me, and then everything went black. I assumed that I was dead. “Good grief, Tom,” I thought to myself, “three minutes into this game and you’ve already managed to drown the little fellow.” Then my screen faded back into focus and relief washed over me. Aaerie, the spirit guardian of the island I washed up on, decided to give me a second chance at life.
Yonder is an adorable, friendly for all ages, game. The main aspects of Yonder are exploration and crafting. Players can purchase and customize farms and collect resources from their animals and crops as well as gather resources from the environment. The resources can then be traded to townsfolk to help complete focused objectives.
Compared to its contemporaries, Yonder is a fairly shallow game. Obviously geared at younger gamers, the crafting system in Yonder isn’t as complex or item-dense as I expected it to be. With that said, in addition to being shallow, the game is, at times, vague; it can be tedious to try and figure out how to craft/find a certain resource (where are you, Glue??). Yonder just always felt like it was created for children who have loads more free-time to gallivant around in a video game, than I do. Which is fine, but not necessarily what I am looking for in a game.
Almost every quest in Yonder is a fetch quest. “Go collect X of this resource, and Y of that resource, then bring them back here.” If it weren’t for how gorgeous Yonder’s island is, and how fun it is to explore that beautiful wilderness, I wouldn’t view my time with the game as favorably as I do.
Tucked away into every corner of Yonder’s island are treasure chest with cosmetic goodies or rare resources. Lost kittens are the game’s collectible and every biome has its group of missing kittens to find. Exploring the island is very worthwhile and I always found myself wondering, “Hmm, I wonder what’s just around that corner?”
Lots of people seem to want to compare Yonder to Stardew Valley and Zelda. It’s neither one of those games. It lacks the depth and replayability that Stardew Valley has, and while it’s a pretty, open-world game, the land is vacant of enemies to battle or puzzles to solve beyond finding a particular resource needed to complete a quest. In Yonder you simply gather, craft, trade, and collect. Rinse and repeat.
I’m going to go ahead and recommend Yonder; it’s not a bad game, and the things I disliked about it are based on my personal taste, rather than about the quality of the game. Ten hours in the game and I found nothing mechanically wrong with Yonder. I’m happy to say it’s a very solid game and Prideful Sloth certainly have created something to be, well, prideful of.
Recommended for: young gamers and players looking for a kind-hearted, calm game to explore for a few nights.
Not recommended for: players looking for the excitement of Zelda or the depth/replayability of Stardew Valley.
The developer provided Epic Brew with a copy of the game for the purpose of this review.