Every now and then a game comes a long that surprises you, you go into it without very high expectations, but when you start playing it, it just all fits together nicely, you lose hours to it and have that game itch where you just want to get back to it and play. This is how I would describe Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles – A game that I wasn’t expecting too much from but once I got playing, blew me away with its simplicity, but overall calming and peaceful gameplay.
Calming and peaceful gameplay I hear you ask? Well, the reason for this is basically because there is no combat within the game, everything is done through the main and side questions with complete peace. There is a story to it, which is trying to rid the world of murk, but it’s done without combat and solely by collecting sprites. Not the drink, but little fairy like creatures that have the power to clear the murk.
Each section of Murk requires you to have collected so many sprites first. A good thing, which I not long ago realised about the sprites is that they don’t get used up when you clear the Murk, the amount remains so that you can clear numerous amounts of Murks with the same sprites, no need to go foraging for more, unless more is required for Murks in different parts of the world. But all is not lost if you don’t have enough sprites to clear the Murk as there is bound to be more Murk in another part of the world that you can clear. That was one of the things I instantly loved about the game, the entire place is open, barring having to complete some questions to get to certain areas, but at the start of the game it all flows nicely to open these for you.
At the start of the game, you go through a little tutorial teaching you the basics, using your inventory, collecting items etc. Another thing that also made me smile with this game is that you never stop learning with it. All through the game it slowly introduces you to different methods and ways of getting items, ores, and crafting. This is usually by people giving you new tools so that you can chop grass, mine ore, chop down trees as well as go fishing. As you play through and enter different areas and meet new people, you tend to be gifted a lot of the stuff, which is nice and I think you can start to get a good understanding of what I meant by peaceful and calming. I have to admit that if I came home from work stressed or hadn’t had the best day, I could just put this game on and I would relax, completed with a nice cup of tea (milk and 2 sugars if anyone wants to know) I would be nice and relaxed and forget about the day I’ve just had.
The quests throughout the game do stack which will show in the top right corner and when it starts to show 10+ active quests I usually start to get a bit anxious that I’ve got too much to complete, but not in this game, mainly because it’s one of those games that doesn’t pressurise you into finishing the quests because it knows that if you venture around and explore the entire island and areas available, you will eventually get to it, so there really is no pressure to get the quests done. Just sit back and enjoy the beauty of the game.
Speaking of the beauty of the game, this is one game that has a lot going for it, the design and how the game looks is stunning, some of the scenery screenshots that I’ve captured are amazing and the lighting that has been used is brilliant. This is another area that helps me get through each of the quests and around the island. I know a lot of people would have read this and thought ‘No Combat?’ but with how peaceful the game is, I personally think this was the right avenue to go down. It’s so refreshing being able to wander around an area and think about the quests ahead without having to contemplate whether or not I’m about to destroyed by something lurking in the dark of night. Instead, my concerns are not waking the Gruffalo that sleep in the fields, as that is just rude and I know I don’t like being woken up abruptly!
There is a crafting system within the game which is quite extensive, there is crafting for cooking, clothing, building and more. Each of which as well you can become part of the respective guild and become a master at that art. Which is really quite nice and adds to the depth that the game gives. There are also options to build your own farm and hire people as farmhands to help run and keep it clean for you while also harvesting your crops.
It’s a lovely little system which will let you know in build mode if there is anything that can be added to the farm.
You will find loot boxes hidden within the world, some in plain sight and others which take a bit more exploration, these loot boxes can contain anything from ores and crafting items, to new pieces of clothing, hair sets and more.
As I said at the beginning this was a game that I had no expectations for, I went in to rather blind, all I knew was that it was an open world game and I have been very pleasantly surprised and have to say that this has turned into one of my top games for this year and would love to see more games like this. It shows that not all games need combat, you don’t need to go in and kill everything to reach your goal. Calm and patience is the key and this game is onto a winner with its method and style. Yonder does hold you by the hand, but for me that’s fine, I can come home and this game will help me relax as I can go at my own pace and do quests as and when I feel like.