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Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles (Switch)

Posted by GG Goblin On May - 21 - 2018

You can now play Yonder yonder (points over there).

One of the great things that has so quickly been taken for granted by Switch owners is that you can now play console quality games anywhere you want. There has long been a big difference between the quality and size of games that you could play on a handheld compared to a home console. But the Switch has “switched” things up by giving us massive games such as Skyrim or Mario Odyssey and allowed us to play them on the beach, in a field, or even up a tree.

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And with the warm weather approaching, promising long sunny days, I can think of no better time to climb a tree (or at least sit underneath one) and no better game for a relaxing Summer afternoon than Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles, which just so happens to now be on the Nintendo Switch.

So why is Prideful Sloth’s Yonder such an ideal lazy afternoon game? Well, very early on the game gives the impression that this is going to be a “breath of the Wild” like adventure. However, it does soon after become apparent that Yonder is a much more laid back affair, with no conflict and very little threat, that just begs players to explore the beautiful landscape and do pretty much whatever they want.

Players begin by creating their character before being thrown into the story set up. Think big old storm and shipwreck on the land of Gemea and you will have a rough idea of what is going on. However, aside from being shipwrecked and trying to find other survivors, it seems that our hero has stumbled upon a land in trouble. A poisonous cloud known as Murk is spreading across the land and, for whatever reason, the player is the only one who can see the magical creatures known as Sprites. The player will have to find the various Sprites hidden around the world and use them to clear away the Murk, work out what the source is and put a stop to it, and save the land of Gemea.

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Or not, as the case may be. The thing is, with Yonder the player is free to wander off and explore as and how they wish. Aside from the main story quests, there are plenty of other quests that the player can pick up from villagers in the various settlements they find, all of which are presented pretty much as checklists for the player to work through. Find something, build something, go find someone, it is not the most imaginative way to push the player forward in the game.

To be honest, it won’t take long for players to strike out on their own, go and wander off to look at something interesting. The only thing really preventing a fully open environment to explore is the Murk. To get rid of this, players will need to find certain numbers of Sprites, which can be found hidden all over the place, so a bit of exploring will open the paths to new areas eventually.

Brilliantly, Gemea holds absolutely no danger at all. There are no monsters to fight or be ambushed by, and even falling in the water or from a great height will result in little more than a trek back to where you wanted to be. This lack of threat is further emphasized by how cute the creatures look in the game, and the bright and colourful environments that scream “family friendly”.

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There are a bunch of different things to do while exploring Gemea. The crafting system is quite expansive, and gathering materials is something that naturally happens while exploring. Finding recipes to use materials however, takes a little more work. Master Crafters will need to be tracked down in the various villages and convinced to share their recipes, usually by running a few quests for them. But once you start gathering resources and unlocking recipes, there is a whole lot to make.

Which ties in nicely with the trading system. There is no currency in Gemea, but everything you have has a value and can be traded for other things, be they materials that you desperately need for a recipe, or the finished article. Crafted items are always worth more than their component parts, so it is important to remember to craft where possible.

Aside from the crafting, gathering, finding Sprites to remove Murk, and doing jobs for villagers, there are a few other things to do. Perhaps the most interesting is the chance to build and run farms. Players can set down different buildings and then coax some of the games wildlife to come and set up home at their farm. It is all quite involved, even requiring the hiring of staff to run the farm while the player is off exploring.

It is the little things that make Yonder compelling, such as stopping for a spot of fishing, or planting a tree in a spot where you cut down a tree not so long ago. While that is all compelling, the main appeal of the game comes from the gorgeous visuals. Yonder is a lovely game to look at and is so varied that it is always worth just walking to the top of that hill to see what is on the other side. From the differently themed villages, to the cutest wildlife ever, there is always something nice to look at in the land of Gemea.

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Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is a game that will confuse many players with the lack of danger and challenge. But this is a different type of game, one that is much more about exploring a magnificent world and learning to make all manner of useful stuff through some simple gathering and crafting. Sure, it’s not going to get your adrenaline running, but for a hazy afternoon, sitting under a tree, I can think of no better game than Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles.




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