Published on July 19th, 2017 | by Justin Giza0
It’s been a pretty good year for exploration in video games. Whereas the standard for years has nudged a player to plow through a plot-packed questline, we’re now seeing more games that fall in favor of a more relaxed experience. Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles does this very well, and any sense of urgency is cast aside. It’s a beautiful and casual romp through an island where the only thing you’ll fight is the urge to keep scavenging materials for crafting.
The first thing to note is that you’re not going to fight anything. Rather, you’ll spend much of your time exploring the island, gathering materials for crafting and chatting with the locals. Gathering quests are pretty common, so you’ll find yourself roaming around picking up sticks and other goodies to progress. If you like ticking off checkboxes and completing sidequests, you’re going to have fun here.
If you’re looking for an enemy, the closest thing you’ll find is Murk, a dark presence that prevents you from poking around looking for more stone and sticks. It appears as a sort of fog and will prevent players from exploring that area. It won’t hurt you, it’s more or less just a big foggy wall. Occasionally, you’ll track down some Sprites, little spirits which can be spent to clear the Murk and unlock new areas to poke around. It’s a pretty good feeling, and one of the more satisfying things is being able to scope out a previously unexplored area.
Exploration really is one of the most satisfying things in Yonder, which is aesthetically lovely. The game feels sandbox-y, and nothing ever feels urgent. You can hack up some trees, you can build a farm, you can bash up some stone, you can craft some things.
Oh, and fishing minigame. That’s important to me.
The game doesn’t pressure you to do any one activity, and that’s really kind of fantastic. If you’ve had a rough day and you’re looking to relax, this game is probably a great choice.
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher is available now on PS4 and Windows.