Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles by Prideful Sloth
Prideful Sloth’s Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is a calming adventure game that was released almost a year ago on Steam. Receiving very positive user reviews, Yonder is a gem that seemed to sneak under the radar for some fans of the adventure genre. Luckily for the broad audience of Nintendo Switch fans aching for more content for their fancy new consoles, Yonder was recently ported to the Nintendo Game Store.
This is absolutely fantastic news for gamers who are more into low key exploration and crafting. Personally, when I’m not replaying Skyrim for the 18th time, I’m usually playing Stardew Valley on my Switch. The addition of Yonder into my usual rotation is a welcome one.
Clear out the Murk
Similar to Stardew Valley, Yonder is focused around exploration, crafting and – of course – farming. There’s a more serious undertone to the story than the usual third-person sandbox exploration game, certain areas of the map have been stricken with what is called Murk. During exploration, sprites can be found that will accompany you on your quests. They don’t serve much of a purpose other than that having a certain amount of them will let you clear different sections of Murk. This system is obviously put into place to keep players from getting a little too far ahead in the game.
Similar, but Very Different
Yonder is peaceful in every sense of the word. There’s no combat, and even falling from high ledges causes your character to open his or her umbrella and gently float down to safety. As the vast wilderness is explored, there are many small towns and areas in which people will require some help. These are usually fetch quests. Considering Yonder is centralized around exploration and crafting, this comes as no surprise.
Befriending animals and building a farm also becomes a priority early on. NPCs can be used as farmhands, for the right gift. The same goes for animals. I like how Yonder doesn’t just give them to you; you have to go and work for it. Each animal has a different food they like, which needs to be crafted then offered to them. Only then will they follow you back to your farm.
Gotta Catch ’em All
A full arsenal of the standard tools are provided – scythes for cutting grass, an ax for chopping wood, a pickax for mining precious ore -an element that should be familiar.
Also keeping in vein of the genre, a fishing rod is acquired fairly early on. Fishing mini-games can make or break a game like this for me. It all comes down to how difficult it is to reel in the big ones and how much money can be made selling the fish or crafting them into tantalizing dishes with recipes. I was able to utilize the fish I caught with a bunch of side quests, and they brought in some decent coin, but the fishing mechanics themselves are a little too easy.
It Really Is the Wild Blue Yonder
Visually, Yonder is a masterpiece, but only to a certain extent. The lush environments and backgrounds are extremely detailed and look fantastic on the Switch. Every blade of grass flowing in the wind provides a realistic and peaceful tranquility.
The only thing far from realistic are the character models. Personally, I didn’t particularly like the aesthetic of the characters. They looked to me like smoothed over Playmobil pieces, with awkward proportions and – for some reason – shiny in weird places. This is fairly easy to get over quickly, given the beauty of nature in the rest of the game.
Yonder may not be new, but it has new life on the Switch. A fantastic game for playing on the go while waiting for a bus or a plane or enjoying in the quiet comfort of your own home. The robust crafting system and item management clinches its spot as an essential purchase for fans of leisurely, open-world adventure games. It’s all but too easy to get lost in the beauty that is Yonder.
Yonder is available via the Nintendo Game Store, Sony PlayStation Store and Steam.
Watch the official trailer for Yonder: The Cloud Catching Chronicles below: