Game: Yonder, the Cloud Catcher Chronicles
System: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Prideful Sloth
Developer: Prideful Sloth
Price: £24.99/ $39.99/ € 29,99
One of the casual games coming to the Switch, for which I was most exited: Yonder, the Cloud Catcher Chronicles! Not the first console to host the game, it appeared first on the PC and PS4. But as it’s the first handheld version, the game was totally new for me.
The Switch has many great games in its library, but in my opinion it’s still missing some good simulation games. Yonder is one of the first to land on it, so let’s see how well it works!
THE game for people who love side quests
Gathering sprites isn’t all you have to do, this game simply is heaven for sidequesting. Every area you find on Gemea has several side quests to fulfill.
You have to find constellations, every area will have a farm to build, you can find cats for the Cat Lady and her 55 cats. There are travel points in the form of sage heads in the game, which you have to unlock first. To make sure your crafting skills are at the max, you have to join every guild available and get the guild badge.
There’s one slight problem with all this collection though. The game doesn’t offer much in the way of explaining why you need to collect all of this. To me, that’s a pity, but I guess if you are fond of collecting in games, this shouldn’t be a problem.
The entire land is full of materials to collect, and every area has multiple quests you can do for inhabitants. Some are fetch and bring quests, some require a bit more exercising the gray matter.
Farming and Fishing in Yonder
Yonder is a game that is hard to in into one genre. It’s an adventure game, there is absolutely no fighting in the game though. It’s all about exploring, crafting and farming.
When the game opens up, there are 8 farms for you to build and farm on. Not all at once though, you slowly ease into it. What I like, is the way you build on your farm much like you do in Harvest Moon, a New Beginning. With a grid on which your u an place buildings and plots.
The barn buildings can house animals you meet in the wild. Once you have found what kind of food they love, they will follow you to the farm and are permanent residents from then on. Unless you evict them of course. But why would you, when they are obviously so lovable and cute.
Caring for the farm is easy: you just hire a worker by giving him food. After that, materials from the farm keep poring in, and the animals are happy. It’s fun to find new animals to keep, though the variety is somewhat limited. They do look cute though.
Remember how I had such trouble fishing in Stardew Valley? In Yonder, fishing is a nice experience. The game keeps tabs on what kind of fish you catch, and keeps you updated as to the quality and size of the fish.
Traders and shops aplenty
The game has many towns, which in turn host one or two traders, but you’ll find traders in the outer areas as well. The game changed the way you can acquire stuff: true to what they are called, you can only trade for goods. So if you want something, you will have to offer up things in return. Trying to match the price of course.
The people who you meet in the game constantly give you tips about where certain goods will fetch a high, or sometimes low prices. This is to encourage you to travel the lands to find the best price. The thing is though, that since the first farm is up, I don’t have any shortage of goods to trade. So no need to go in search of the best price.
Some traders deal in specialty products, for instance giving you one plank for ten wood. A nice addition. But I am having trouble keeping track of where the traders are that offer certain products. The map in the game is good, but it doesn’t offer specifics aside from the towns name. I am almost tempted to keep my own separate map!
Mary Poppins returns
The game keeps autosaves for you, and even though you can save the game manually, I didn’t find a need to. There are four autosave files to go back to.
There’s an in-game clock telling you what season, day and time it is. Some quests are time sensitive but overall I didn’t see much use of that element.
And the time gliding by means that it gets dark too. Even though a small lantern pops out, I do find this a bit annoying. The cycles of day and night go so quickly, that I find myself wondering around in the dark for a fair amount of time. And as I have trouble finding my way around anyway, that’s not helping.
In Zelda I’m used to climb onto just about anything, and glide down from it, spanning great chasms. It’s difficult to get used to some limitations of this game: it’s diffcult to climb and get onto mountains.
Going down is easier, and though you can’t span spaces, the developers use a very cool way to glide down: a small umbrella makes sure you get down safely!
The game has several ways to cut corners when traveling. The Sage stones work nicely and you can use wayfarer pins to get from farm to farm quickly. You will still wander around for a fair amount of time, which is fine: crafting things takes a lot of material, so while wandering around you can pick up anything you come across.
I like this game a lot, it’s just the kind of casual game the Switch could use in their library. Before you buy though, be aware that it’s not an RPG, there are no enemies or monsters to fight. Even though there are main quests to further the story of activating the Cloud Catcher and ridding Gemea of the murk, the storyline isn’t what it’s about.
The game is about exploring, about farming for materials, about fishing and crafting and mostly about collecting. Just for the fun of it, and to help the fellow inhabitants of this beautiful land.
Why doesn’t it get a Two Thumbs up then? There are some small things in the game that could be better: the landscape and the towns are beautiful and detailed. But why can’t I get into any door? Though the way quests are kept for you to look into is good, you quickly amass so many quests that it’s hard to keep track of them. And lastly, there are a huge many crating items, which is great. But they do need a whole lot of materials to be manufactured.
Still, overall a beautiful game, fun to play and get engrossed in!