Overall - 60%
If you enjoy stopping to smell the roses, the fields of Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles are awash with aroma. However, if you're looking for something with a little more kick, you may not get what you're looking for.
Prideful Sloth’s first foray into the gaming space, Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles, promises to offer players a vibrant open-world adventure as they explore distinct environments, encounter cutesy creatures, and build a farm of their dreams. It is a game without the trials and tribulations of combat, a game that hopes to immerse with creativity and freedom. Just one big question remains: Is Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles worth the time and money?
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles ReviewYonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles takes place on the huge island of Gemea, a colorful and rich landscape with many unique environments and creatures to discover. While the world sets the perfect tone for some creative storytelling, the story itself is rather shallow. The world has been engulfed by a dark energy known as Murk, following the malfunctioning of a device that once kept the world pure and clean known as the Cloud Catcher. Your journey sets off on a goal to repair the Cloud Catcher, encountering some quirky but otherwise forgetful characters along the way and spending much of the time walking needlessly long distances to find materials to create a specific item. There’s a small saving grace at the very end of the game with some heart-warming narrative, but the story often felt little more than an afterthought.
That wouldn’t be so bad if the rest of the game delivered. While the mechanics themselves are solid and the premise is sound, the game does very little to encourage you to do anything. The purpose of a sandbox world is to offer the player little direction, reward them for stepping beyond the boundaries, encouraging them to do new things – but when all of these struggle to have any real identity, it leaves one wanting.
The entirety of the game revolves around materials. There’s no currency, as the shopping system uses bartering as trade. You offer items of value for the items you wish to purchase. It’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s a fantastic feature and one that works brilliantly throughout the game. You don’t have to waste time trying to figure out how to make all the money you need for that one rare ingredient, and can instead find an activity or item you enjoy and use that to barter. On the other hand, it makes doing any activity outside of having a single animal on your farm and using the milk to trade unrewarding.
The real appeal to the game for many is the ability to have your own farm. Each of the different environments has a farm that you can discover, build, and customize to your liking – and there’s a lot of options in place. Once you work your way through the many different crafting guilds and unlock the master level recipes, there is a large variety of customization features. Whether you want a farm filled with exotic creatures from all corners of the land, or a quaint corner of the sunny tropics to grow various fruits and vegetables, it’s all there. The disappointing element is the lack of purpose.
I completed nearly 100% of the game, including all side quests and content. At that point I had one farm, with two animals, and that was it. There was no drive or real reward when it came to the farming play as the items I needed for quests could be bartered with using the milk I got from the two animals I owned. For some, this creative freedom with little to no restriction on game progress is hugely appealing but myself, if I spend several hours building up a farm I need a little more than a fleeting feeling of personal achievement.
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is a combat-free experience of exploration and creativity, one that will sing in the hearts of many fans of the genre. Factoring in its price tag of $20, it’s a steal if you feel you’ve found the game for you.
If you enjoy stopping to smell the roses, the fields of Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles are awash with aroma. However, if you’re looking for something with a little more kick, you may not get what you’re looking for.