Tuesday, 18 July 2017 22:27

REVIEW: Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles (Playstation 4)

Written by Staceface_Mayhem
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Sometimes it isn’t always the loudest person in the room that peaks your interest. Sometimes the noise can be annoying, the same boring rubbish, or just attention seeking gimmicks you’ve seen used over and over by the same person. Sometimes our eye is drawn to the obscure child in the corner, quietly being themselves, but also quietly being different and setting themselves out from the crowd. Yes, that was an analogy. "Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles” by Australian developers Prideful Sloth is similar that weird, unique kid in the corner, you just want to know more.

Yonder is a surprisingly huge open world, crafting, adventure game. Despite having a RPGish feel with things like quests and collecting items, it isn’t as there is no levelling up, improving stats or any real combat. After mild character customisation, you the hero of this story is sent far away on a boat from your own poisoned land to the beautiful island of Gemea. Gemea, while a paradise is not untouched by disease, with the ominous purple, haze-like, fog called ‘Murk’ creeping around the lands. Your job is to save this land with your companions ‘the sprites’ who are on the same annoying spectrum as Navi companions wise, and also uncover the clues to your previous, mysterious life. Most of this information is delivered in a well executed cut scene, and probably the most in-depth the plot you will get.

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Right away the relaxing, conflict free, exploration experience is established. As your darling little character runs, jumps and paddles through environments with very little obstacle or hazard. Fall from a cliff, no worries, an umbrella will deploy. Go to deep into the water and run out of air, no problem, they will respawn you on the shore. Heck, even if you cut a tree down, it encourages you to plant a new one to eventually regrow, as if to atone for your destruction. It becomes clear very quickly, even by the lack of any enemies other than the last lustre, feeble Murk, that the game is focussed on the innocence of the adventure.

Most quests require the very mundane task of retrieving items, but some such quests can be enjoyable as you track across the land. The beauty of this is that you take your journey at your own pace and in your own direction, discovering so many new quests, items, animals and guilds. This game focusses very much of building and crafting, applying from people such as carpenters, cooks, tinkers etc, what you have learned, helping you to develop things to assist you along the way. Its simplicity should be applauded because sometimes we just want to take in the beauty of a game, however in this case the narrative takes a wayside.

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Interacting with characters along the way, gives some vague details about what is going on, and general conversations with the NPC's littered throughout the world are whimsical and quirky but nothing memorable. There is no real likeable features to most of them as most interactions are through dialogue scripted on screen, however some quest givers you may eventually start to somewhat like the more you interact with them. The creatures that inhabit Gemea are childlike and cute and certainly one of the most lovable features of the game. I would buy each one as a plushie, they are that adorable.

The eight very distinct environments from golden sandy beaches, rolling plains to snow tipped mountainous peaks are so beautifully designed, it instantly warms the heart. Visually, it is a gorgeous, watercoloury art style, utilising bold colours and line to emphasis where detail lacks. While each rock or blade of grass might not be 3D rendered perfection, it makes up for in other details you would not normally notice in a caricature like world, and they stand out in this one. The stars twinkle brightly in the sky as the sunsets into night, the frosty air exhales from the mouth in cold areas, and each tree whether it be palm or cherry, each is so charmingly unique.

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To compliment the visuals the sound effects are impressive with the jingling of a full backpack as you run and the patter of rain and rumbles of thunder during a storm, add some realistic elements to break up the very story book like nature. Along with the effects often calm and melodical music adds to the fantasy.

Overall, Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is a thoroughly enjoying experience, despite the lack of any real conflict or drama, I often spent hours running around the landscape collecting items. It is an exploration driven story, with its only major flaw of not having a very strong story with a roll-on effect of having not very interesting NPC’s and some quests. The memorable environments and interesting crafting challenges are a peaceful take on the modern everyday gaming experience. Like that obscure child in the corner, Yonder is not perfect but it is certainly interesting.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PS4, Steam
  • Developer: Prideful Sloth
  • Publisher: Prideful Sloth
  • Genre: Adventure