Review: Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles (PS4)

Review: Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PC

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (4.57 GB)
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: Prideful Sloth
Developer: Prideful Sloth
Original MSRP: $19.99
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 3
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Take some Zelda and mix in a little Harvest Moon and your results would come pretty close to Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles. It’s a pure adventure game at heart.

You start by customizing your character with their sex, skin tone, hair color, eye color, body shape, and body size. You’ll even be able to change outfits along the way.

Your home island of Gemea was poisoned by the “Murk” and you were sent away as a small child. Shrouded in a deep fog, the very existence of Gemea has fallen into myths and legends. Now you’re on your way home with the Celestial Compass to guide you on your journey.

Your primary mission in the game is to clear out the Murk across the island. To do this you’ll need to enlist the help of Sprites you’ll find as you explore. Bigger infestations of Murk require more Sprites, so it’ll take some time to make it all happen.

There’s no combat in the game. It’s all about exploration, quests, and crafting. There’s even some fishing and farming involved. You’ll need to learn new skills by talking to the villagers you encounter and completing their quests.

Your crafting is broken down by skills, and looking at the menus, it can bit a bit overwhelming at first. There are eight different skills to eventually learn from Wayfarer, to Chef, Carpenter, Brewer, and more, each with their own specific crafting. They come at a slow pace though as each is tied to a specific region of the island.

One thing I learned pretty quickly is to try to keep focus. Since it’s an open world adventure, you’ll be able to wander around and talk to pretty much anyone at any time. It’s easy to get overloaded with quests that way so I’d suggest completing each one as you get it.

That can also be a challenge at times though because you may get a quest that requires you to already have some item or skill learned in another quest that you may not have found yet. It can be a bit frustrating given the open world nature of the game.

Your exploration can also cause minor issues if you don’t complete your quests first. I came across a farm that had invisible walls around it while I was trying to find a specific animal. Not being able to access the farm area initially had me thinking it was a bug. I eventually found a quest that led me directly to the farm and I suddenly had access. It’s a minor thing, but one that did pull me out of the experience.

Your Celestial Compass will guide you towards your quests so if you have a handful running at the same time it can help you get back on track. The quests themselves are mostly fun but they can start to feel like a chore after a while.

Clearly though, this is a game that has harmony with nature as its central theme. The first time I had to chop down a tree I was hesitant. I didn’t want to destroy anything in this beautiful world. Much to my delight, the destruction of the tree resulted in the wood I needed and also a seed which I could use to plant a new tree.

This is what the game is all about. Even the absurdly adorable wildlife is never a threat and all you’ll need to do is give them some food to coax them to come live on your farm.

As you clear the Murk out of areas, new parts of the island open up with entirely different biomes. It helps to keep the game fresh but in the end, you’re still just doing a lot of questing and crafting. There’s a lot of travel involved as well going back and forth to areas that have that one specific item you need. There are fast travel points but they’re not obvious need to be found and unlocked before use.

And that’s really the major downside to the game. As beautiful and relaxing as it is, you’re still just doing fetch quests and crafting over and over. While none of it is particularly difficult, it can start to wear on you over time.

Visuals:
This is an absolutely beautiful game that draws heavily from the Zelda franchise. The otherworldly purple-blue Murk set against the natural beauty of the game world creates a stark contrast.

A full day/night and seasonal cycle along with dynamic weather helps to show off the world and the art style in all its glory while the villagers, the animals, and the landscape are all charming in their own way. It’s quite an experience.

Audio:
There’s no voice work to speak of. Dialogue flashes on screen while characters make a few noncommittal noises and really, it feels like the right choice for this experience. The game has a heavy focus on harmony with nature and the audio we do get is primarily the sounds of animals.

There’s some light music to fill in the gaps but you’ll mostly be wandering around with the sounds of nature the entire time and it helps to cement the main thrust of the game.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Conclusion:
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is a free roaming puzzle-adventure through and through. With no combat to speak of you might wonder where the challenge lies, but it’s just not that type of game.

It’s more on the easygoing side of things although the quests can become a bit repetitive. It’s really a game best enjoyed in short bursts, giving you time to recharge and come back to it fresh and ready to quest and craft again.

If you’re a fan of the Harvest Moon/Zelda types of games you might enjoy this one, just play it in moderation so you don’t burn yourself out.

Score:
7.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Josh Langford

Josh Langford

Josh has been gaming since 1977 starting with the Atari 2600.
He currently owns 25 different consoles and 6 different handhelds (all hooked up and in working condition) including all consoles from the current generation – minus the Switch.

Josh is currently the US PR & Marketing Manager for Fountain Digital Labs and has recused himself from any involvement on PS Nation arising from posting or editing any news or reviews stemming from FDL.

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