'Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles' Is A Switch Must Buy
by Dylan Blight
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles, developed by Prideful Sloth (an Australian developer), was released July last year for Windows and PS4, but on May 17th it's releasing for the Nintendo Switch and it's a must buy for the console. Specifically, for the ability to play this game on the go.
As Yonder begins your player created character sails towards an island in seemingly safe weather. Approaching the island Gemea, things take a turn for the worse as the ship gets hit by a storm and the waves wash you ashore. But don't worry, Yonder isn't Tomb Raider and you're not about to go on an epic and harrowing journey through harsh environments and overcome brutal enemies. In fact, Yonder contains no enemies and no combat. It's about exploration and creating your own story.
After speaking to the closest townspeople you discover some kind of 'evil murk' has taken over the once all beautiful and growing island. So yes, it now falls into your hands to save the day. Let me be honest, I haven't finished the 'story' of Yonder and I'm in no rush too for the foreseeable future. Yonder is very much about your journey on Gemea and developers are putting absolutely no rush on you, or your character to do anything in the game. The island of Gemea and the mission structure along with the world are designed to be a relaxing experience, and although there is a lot to do, you never feel the same sort of completionist anxiety to do everything that other games with old words do. Thanks, in part to its complete care-free factor to its main story path you just wander the world and do what you want, feeling levels of completion, adventure and wonder grow at your own pace. Rush the story if you wish, but I don't you'll find much substance there.
Early in the game, you'll discover a farm and learn the Harvest Moon inspired mechanics of growing your farm, planting seeds and hiring someone to work on the land. You will also be able to build animal huts so you can go out and use foods to lead animals back to them and look after them on your farm. They'll poop, you can pet them -- yes, it can be rather cute. I can see people getting lost in this part of the game easily for hours. It is addicting just trying to hunt for supplies and new seeds to make sure you're growing one of everything. For what purpose? Who really cares. Why do I need these cute animal friends? They're simply my cute animal friends.
Several guilds are spread out around the island you can join. One focuses on building mechanical objects, another clothing items, another food, etc, etc. Joining each will let you be able to build more objects like bridges to cross-sections in the world, pies to give to NPC's for quests, and more including farming items and fireworks -- which if set off correctly at night time, look fantastic.
Talking about looking fantastic -- let me introduce you to my second favourite part of Yonder (the first being portability) on the Switch: photo mode. I have got lost in photo mode for Yonder. It doesn't look as good as God of War or Horizon: Zero Dawn, but it's art style and use of colours and lighting -- along with a great day and night cycle and cute animals -- lends the game to lots of photo opportunities. Having a very relaxing game -- and Yonder is relaxing -- on the go with a photo-mode has proven to be a great pick up and go experience. Spend thirty minutes chopping down wood, fishing and exploring then stop for ten to get the perfect picture of the fancy purple fox critter you found hiding in the corner. Fantastic!
Currently, I have roughly 20 quests in my mission log and I follow zero of them anywhere. I'm making my way around the map, discovering Gemea at my own pace; enjoying it's colourful wildlife, setting off fireworks in random places and stopping at all points to gather material to build and cook. I can't think of any other experience you can currently take on the Switch that is the relaxing experience Yonder offers you. Although it may not be for everyone -- and it does have problems -- if you're going on a holiday, a commute or a twenty-minute bus ride tomorrow, I would suggest picking up Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles. You too can become the photo fanatic I am.
Some of my photo's taken in Yonder. Many more to be taken.
A Nintendo Switch code was provided by the developer for Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles.
You can learn more about Yonder at https://www.yonderchronicles.com
All the images used in this article were taken by Dylan using his Nintedo Switch.