What is Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles?
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is a bright and colourful adventure in which players explore a cutesy island paradise with a dark secret. A shadowy fog known as 'the Murk' has swept its way across the kingdom of Gemea, blocking areas off from one and other. As a gifted 'Sprite-Seer', it falls to you to enlist the help of the fairy-like Sprite creatures in clearing the Murk, as you rebuild the titular Cloud Catcher to put a stop to its spread. Combining light farming, crafting and questing with oodles of collectables to search out, Yonder is an idyllic world to lose yourself in.
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How do you play Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles?
With crafting and farming elements, plenty of exploration, and collectibles galore, Yonder is a game about heading out into the vast wilderness, completing quests for those you come across on your travels, and hunting down the elusive sprites. While gathering the parts to fix the Cloud Catcher is your modus operandi, there's plenty other folks across the land who need your assistance, whether it's rounding up a lady's pet Groffles (a kind of moose-y cow) who ran away just before 'tea party dress up time', solving the mystery of a ghostly noise in a cave, or helping a fashion-conscious scarecrow find the perfect outfit. Sometimes requiring you to craft items Minecraft-style, you'll need to harvest the raw materials - wood and stone, milk and berries, or vines and fur - before making them into some cute earmuffs, a berry pie or a stone archway to name but a few. During your travels, you'll also need to keep an eye out for blue glowing areas, as these signify there's a Sprite hiding nearby, with these little fairy creatures being key to clearing up the patches of Murk that block your way. Each purple Murk cloud has a minimum number of Sprites you'll need to clear it away, so finding all 26 hidden ones is key.
Yonder also has a few other activities to keep you busy - the main one being farming. While exploring, you'll come across empty plots of land where you can build yourself a little farmstead, and if you build yourself animal shelters, you'll be able to adopt some of the local wildlife. By feeding a wild Groffle, Grass Fox or Sprig-Pig their favourite food, you can get them to follow you for a short distance - and once you've led them into your farm, you'll have the option to adopt them. You can also plant crops such as potatoes and berries, which are easy to care for - simply pop a seed in the ground and come back later once it's grown to harvest.
How easy is Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles to pick up and play?
As a rather easy going and relaxing little game, there's not a lot in Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is easy to get into - there's no combat, no game overs and no deadlines. You're free to wander around the island harvesting raw materials, looking for collectables and completing quests however you please. While the map can sometimes be a little tricky to follow, as it tries to take you from A to B as the crow flies, leaving you to figure out your own way around cliffs, canyons and lakes, there's nothing here that'll prove hugely challenging.
What can take a bit of getting used to is that Yonder doesn't really use a traditional currency when buying and selling things in stores. Instead, you have to exchange your goods for the shopkeepers - trading five sticks for a bag of flour, for example. Each item in your inventory has a value associated with it (which can fluctuate by region - for example, food products may be cheaper in the town where the Chef's guild is located), and you simply need to hand over enough goods to meet the trader's asking price.
For the youngest of players, Yonder is entirely unvoiced, with everything from tutorials to quests being relayed through text only. With quite so many quests to complete, each asking you for different things, it's not really the kind of game you can just fumble your way through, meaning a solid reading ability is a must here.
- "Fear not, Sprite-Seer. You and your friends are safe… You will see them again, but first you have a great task ahead of you."
- "Let's see here… Take this Mallet and gather some Stone for Marina. 8x Stone should be plenty to prop the East Docks back up!"
- "Hello, most interesting of travellers. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Lion-Maned Joss, Guildmaster of the most glorious guild, the Tailor's guild."
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is pretty much the dictionary definition of a family-friendly game - there's no bad language, no sexual content and no bloody violence, or indeed any violence, whatsoever. About as risqué as it gets is a swamp area known as the 'Farty Fen', which makes farting noises as you walk through it. In order to get certain materials, such as pelts or meat, you need to lay traps for wild animals - essentially a small wooden box you plonk down on the grass and come back to later. When you open the crate, there's no obvious animals inside, but just a random pelt or piece of meat, with no sign of the beast it came from (and the box is far smaller than any of the wild creatures you'll come across on your travels too).
Format Reviewed: Playstation 4