Who here has played Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing or Zelda? What are the things that they have in common? They’re cute, intricate games that warrant admiration for its unique style that sets them apart from the rest. Sure, there are clones or knock-off, games that try to replicate that feel good feeling when playing these. But still lack that unique factor that sets them apart. Well, in comes Yonder. The thought child of Cheryl Vance and Co-founder of Prideful Sloths. When I got to see the trailer of Yonder, I had the idea that this was going to be something unlike anything else that we’ve seen in the past year. But was that feeling correct? Or was it more like a big fluffy cloud… Nothing substantial? It’s time to find out guys, let’s review Yonder!
What is Good?
- Graphics (and lighting): One of the first things that you’ll notice here, is how the game actually looks. And it is absolutely amazing. First off, the overall graphics. They just suit and compliment the game’s style. If anyone tell you “hey, did you know this was set in the Zelda universe?”, you’d have a hard time to tell if he was telling the truth or not. Don’t go expecting photo-realistic graphics though, this game doesn’t actually need that. From its green pastures all the way to the snowy landscapes. You’ll feel like you are wandering around in a little slice of heaven. But the best part comes when the sun starts to set, and fires are lit and lanterns tended to. Prideful Sloths did an absolutely amazing job with the lighting effects. How the shadows dance around in the flickering of a warm campfire just gives it that cozy feeling.
- Realistic sounds!: During the first hour of my
playthroughI often paused, to check if my cat wasn’t meowing. After a quick check-up, I found her sound asleep. Yet I still could have sworn that I heard that darned beast meow… It was only after I un-paused for the umpteenth time that I saw something sitting under a tree with an interact button. It was an in-game cat. It was then that I actually started paying attention to the other animal sounds and was baffled by how realistic they all sounded! From the chirping of grasshoppers to the buzzing of bees and other winged insects. Kudos on that part!
- Story Deliverance: Believe it or not this game has quite a story for you to discover. But you won’t get most out of conversations. Rather you’ll need to find books scattered all about the abandoned and broken houses. These will tell you what the Murk is that you’ll be removing from the lands, the sprites, well basically everything. And that’s just fine here because you can learn about the story at your own pace. Or just skip it all together and be the happy farmer you always wanted to be. It doesn’t really push the story at all. Which in turn also compliments the “no rush, no hassle, just relaxing” vibe Yonder offers.
- Busy crafter, happy farmer: Let’s now talk about the bread and butter of the game. One part is gathering. You can go fish, be a lumberjack, heck, you can even be a miner. Whatever you want to be? Yonder provides. You can use these to craft items that the inhabitants require, even repair broken bridges or expand your farms. Speaking of farms? You can hold all sorts of animals. Each will provide you with products that you can then use to cook. But that’s not all, just planting veggies and trees is also possible. And trust me? There’s a lot to discover here!
- Not for everyone: I know that, after reading all of that goody goodness, you might want to jump straight in and have your well-deserved piece of peace. But keep in mind, this genre isn’t suited for everyone. Granted it will be a fun experience for anyone who enjoyed, for instance, Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing. But I got to emphasize this, there is no fighting in this game. If you’re okay with that and just want to farm, fish, gather, … Then yes, you’ll have a kick for sure with this one! If you don’t enjoy the slower paced games, then you might just not get the fullest out of Yonder.
What is Bad?
- Grunts and huffs: Why… You were doing so well, why trip up on this? Sigh… Okay, let me explain. When talking to the inhabitants you meet? You’ll be greeted by a grunt, or a huff or a puff. But that’s it. And to top it all off, some females sound like the males in their grunting. I don’t know if this was a planned decision or not, but come on… After delivering a solid game so far, you top it off with just a quick fix for speech sounds? If the rest wasn’t as solid, I wouldn’t of minded this, but… Sigh, it just felt like this could’ve been polished a bit more.
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles 73/100
Prideful sloths? You do your name justice. You can absolutely be proud of this cute little game that you brought to us. This is really the relaxing breeze that we need from time to time. Especially with all these big-name action games that are coming towards us. I thank you for breaking that mold and going for something unique. This is really a game that can be enjoyed by young and old alike and that does not require you to rip off limbs or crack some necks. Though not a game for everyone as this is its own kind of special, it still could possibly scratch that itch deep inside of your soul when you want to play something relaxing… Okay, now to grab myself a bucket and get me some Gruffle milk, see you guys in the next review!