I’m all for games that let me mow down enemies with a gun or slash away at them with a sword or such but sometimes it’s nice to play something a little more relaxing. Not every game out there needs to be about defeating things as there are so many other things great about games other than combat. Developer Prideful Sloth has been working on a combat-less open world game of their own called Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles that I got the pleasure of playing for the purpose of this review and I enjoyed my time with it a lot.
Upon first glance at the game you may liken it to something like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild due to it’s colorful open world and while it doesn’t play exactly like one of those titles it clearly was very inspired by games such as it. Upon starting the game you get to create your own character using a few different options such as gender, hair style and color and more. You then find yourself on a ship with your crew only to then moments later have a storm wreck it. The next moment you find yourself washed up on a beautiful set of islands called Gernea but discover not all is well here. Across these islands there is something called Murk that hinders you from exploring certain sections until you clear it away. You do this by collecting little fairy creatures called Sprites of which you are given one when you wake up on the island. How you go about finding more is up to you as you can find them hidden around the open world as well as receive them as rewards for completing quests.
The game does have a main story quest line to follow that took me seven hours or so to finish but there is so much more to do other than that. You can find people in towns that want to give you quests although almost all of it boils down to fetch quests unfortunately. Despite this I really enjoyed running around gathering things as the world of Yonder is just so darn beautiful. Coming out of the cave at the beginning of the game to see the bright green fields set before me gave me the same feeling as escaping jail in The Elder Scrolls Oblivion. There is a ton of variety in the locations as well as you’ll be exploring desert locations and snowy mountains too. Then you factor in the day and night cycle, the season system, and the weather system and you end up having a lot of great looking moments during your journey on Gernea.
You’ll be collecting a lot of items and materials as well which you can use to trade to townsfolk or use yourself to craft other items. Then there are farms that you can restore around the islands as well that will allow you to harvest even more resources. If you like animals you’ll find a variety of creatures around too that you can lead back to your farms to work for you. Other things to do include working on mastering a variety of skills as well as plopping down with your fishing pole and trying to catch some fish. The land is large and while running from place to place can get tiring there is a fast travel system that you can gain access to. Upon passing tests you can gain access to Sage Stones that transport you to a HUB like world that you can then access all the other Sage Stones you have unlocked. Each stone will bring you out in the location on the islands that they are located. It’s not the best fast travel system but it works.
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles has a world that to me was a joy to explore and play in. If you are the type that needs a lot of action in your game this probably isn’t for you as there is no combat here and really no way to die. I actually enjoyed that as I never had to worry about entering a part of the island that I wasn’t prepared for and instead could just focus on exploring every inch of it and discovering all of it’s secrets. The fact that this game was made by a team of just three people also astounds me and makes it all even more impressive.
You don’t see many open world games that feature absolutely no combat and Prideful Sloth I think took a gamble here making a game like that. However their small team succeeded in my eyes as Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles was a relaxing and entrancing game to play through. Certain systems in the game can be more fleshed out and it needs more quest variety but it has a varied and beautiful open world full of things to do and it kept me with a smile on my face for pretty much the whole time. It’s a game that anyone from young to old can sit down and enjoy as well due to its easy to pick up and play gameplay. If you need a little breather away from other more violent games in your library I strongly suggest considering a trip to Gernea.
*Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is available on PS4 and PC. A Review copy of this game was provided by Prideful Sloth.