Game: Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles
Developer: Prideful Sloth
Released: 07/18/17 (Digital, $19.99 PS4/Steam) 7/25/17 (Physical, $29.99)
Console: Playstation 4, PC
Written by Jason Potter
Yonder is a game coming from folks out in Australia, and it is their first step in making a stylized design of a sandbox game. The design is enough to get people to notice it, and will have players of this genre coming to it quickly. There is so much land to discover as well as some gorgeous spiderweb filled caverns to trek through. The story is a pretty simple one, you are looking for your homeland and wind up getting lost in a fog and are shipwrecked on the island of Gemea. You are spending your time trying to fix the ship, but mostly discover what happened on Gemea that created the “Murk” that infests it like a foggy plague.
When starting the game, like most sandbox ones, you create your character and while the customization seems limited, you will also be able to dress them up. You will be able to create or trade for certain outfits and find different color shampoo that will allow you to change your hair color. You also have a backpack to hold all of your loot, and eventually a chest on a farm to hold more.
As you play through the game you will be able to Fish, Farm, Craft (through 8 classes), Quest (building relationships with local residents), and more. There are some quests that are based on a certain season, so it is important to note that the game has day and night cycles that do round out a full year of seasons. So far the "Seasonal Quests" have been forgiving as the quest will have have 4 parts, and you just need to complete that season's part, instead of "missing it" and having to wait a full year to run through it again.
There are 8 distinct areas of the island, each have their own things to do and as you quest or plant trees, there is a counter for each zone you go through so you will know what you need or are missing as you go through them. Then there are also 55 cats to find for a Crazy Cat Lady (listen for the "meow"), as well as 26 Sprites (which are what you need to find to remove the Murk preventing access to quests, areas, or loot.
There is a bit of an “online portion” that utilizes little purple chests that you can place down. This is called "Geocaching" and required you to place the purple chest on the ground, shove any item you want inside, and the hit the Upload button. Through typical gameplay, these chests will be all over the place and once popped open, the game will give you an item and tell you who put it inside.
There does not appear to be any combat in the game, as far as I have seen throughout my progession, but it is more designed to discover and have fun in. As for gameplay itself, it feels a little like Zelda (Windwaker) mixed with something like Stardew Valley. It is a weird combo, but it works and I am hooked on the game.
Review Note: The reviewer of this title purchased the title at their own expense. This does not affect the content of the review or its final grade.
+ Beautiful Stylized Design
+ Easy pick-up and play design
+ A little of something for everyone who plays sandbox games
- Needs a better map and waypoint functionality
- Fishing can be harder than it needs to be
- Not enough explanation of certain aspects required for progression
- Having to swap weapons to do things
Overall Score: 8/10