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Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Despite not having any combat, I had no problem getting into Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles. I enjoyed searching the island, helping out the townspeople and uncovering the mystery of Gemea. On the other hand, I do wish there was more variety and I ran into some frustrating technical problems that need addressing. It's far from perfect, but Yonder is a good game with charming graphics and a real sense of discovery. Rating: 71%
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles
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Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles
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What do you get when you take all the combat, dungeons and bosses out of The Legend of Zelda? I have to imagine it would look something like Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles, a brand new adventure game that is much more interested in exploration and crafting than fighting Moblins and Wizzrobes. It's a perfectly peaceful quest where the animals aren't out to get you our hero is never in any danger of dying. And while I've probably made this sound like the dullest game of the year, I assure you that Yonder is a delightful adventure full of mystery and intrigue.

This is the story of Gemea, a tropical island that at first glance appears to be the very definition of paradise. But looks can be deceiving, because what seems to be the perfect vacation getaway is actually being ripped apart by an evil force known only as "Murk." This evil force has enshrouded the island with a dark substance, and the good people of Gemea are starting to panic.


As an outsider, you have no idea what to expect from this new world. All our hero knows is that his family compass is leading him to a mysterious island completely surrounded in fog. To make things even more ominous, lightning destroys the boat and washes everybody to shore. It's up to you to figure out where you are and what's plaguing this tropical island.

Without giving too much away, our hero discovers that there's an old contraption called the Cloud Catcher that used to shield the island from the murk. I say "used to" because it has been broken for years, and the once-optimistic people of Gemea have long given up hope that it will ever be repaired. But here's a twist I'm sure you already see coming: Our bewildered hero may have the power to not only repair the Cloud Catcher, but also mop up the murky substance ruining the coastline.

You'll do this by locating a bunch of hidden sprites located throughout Gemea. Once you've unearthed enough of these little guys, you'll be able to use your companion sprite Lumie to destroy the murk once and for all. This will open up new parts of the island and uncover hidden treasure chests. A lot of this game boils down to looking around for sprites and using them to advance the story.

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

When you're not digging through the bushes for hidden critters, you'll end up taking on quests for the people of Gemea. Everybody wants something, so you'll spend a lot of the game hunting down items and running errands. A lot of these quests involve crafting different types of materials, which means that you'll need to locate the ingredients and learn the proper recipes. This ends up being a lot of fun, and I say that as somebody who normally shies away from games where crafting is the focus. Yonder does a good job of making this element of the game painless and easy.

That's actually a good way to describe most of this game. Without enemies to deal with, Yonder ends up being all about exploration and discovery. The good news is that Gemea is beautiful to look at and full of surprises. Even though the island isn't especially large, it has everything from a desert region to snowy mountains to tropical jungles. Every part of this world has something unique to offer and all kinds of hidden treasures to unearth. And while everybody else is in a life or death struggle with the murk, I found the game to be almost relaxing as I strolled through the tall grass and worked through the dozens of quests.

Beyond simply exploring Gemea, our outsider hero will also be able to start a number of farms across the island. Unfortunately, you can't just start growing crops anywhere you want, because there are very specific locations for each farm, but you will be able to build all kinds of new barns and troughs in order to lure animals to your homestead. You'll even be able to hire the townspeople to help pick up waste and tidy up the farm. Just don't go in expecting this to be the focus of the game. While I'm sure there will be people that work incredibly hard to build up their farms, it came across as nothing more than a distraction to me. With so many pressing issues on Gemea, I found that I just didn't do that much gardening.

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

For as much as I enjoyed Yonder, I can't help but feel like there are a lot of missed opportunities here. I don't mind that there isn't any combat, but it would have been nice to see some actual puzzle solving. Or maybe more twists and turns in the story. Or mini-games that take advantage of the disparate parts of the island. They've set up this beautifully realized location and filled it with little more than fetch quests.

I hate to say it, but the game's performance is also a little disappointing. Beyond crashing a few times, the animation is never as smooth as you would hope. The graphics look good, but you'll see a lot of frames dropped and the game hitch up from time to time. While it doesn't hurt the gameplay, it is annoying. This is a game that feels like it's a patch or two away from running smoothly.

Despite not having any combat, I had no problem getting into Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles. I enjoyed searching the island, helping out the townspeople and uncovering the mystery of Gemea. On the other hand, I do wish there was more variety and I ran into some frustrating technical problems that need addressing. It's far from perfect, but Yonder is a good game with charming graphics and a real sense of discovery.
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