Sunday, 10 September 2017

Asylum Reviews: Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles [PS4].

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is a wonderfully bright and colourful game, with lots of reference towards the Legend of Zelda series - obviously visible within the opening moments of the game - and this is by no means a criticism, we loooove references to other games within games :). When we first saw someone playing it (Playstation Access, we mean you!), we instantly fell in love with the adorable world of Gemea and couldn't wait to get our hands on it, too.

The debut game from Australian indie dev team Prideful Sloth, Yonder is an open-world adventure, with you at the helm. You can customise your character in many ways, including gaining a beautiful galaxy coloured beard (which is what Allan went for as soon as he could).

The Breath of the Wild reference is obvious, but beautiful and we love it, haha.
The story itself is fairly simple, with you having been shipwrecked on the island of Gemea. You discover that a nasty fog called Murk is wreaking havoc with the island's inhabitants, and you must find and use the Sprites in order to restore the island. There isn't a whole lot in the way of story-based sidequests, so the story isn't padded out all that well. We found ourselves more often going off for a wander doing various fetch quests for the NPCs - which are admittedly pretty damn repetitive. The gorgeous island itself is definitely the main focus, rather than the story. 

There's a lot of focus on crafting and scavenging for supplies within Yonder, which is something that really appealed to us. Smashing up rocks, finding ingredients and learning recipes definitely invests you more in the world, but more story to go alongside would have been an improvement.

There are no enemies in Yonder, so no impending doom hiding around every corner, no fighting necessary at all, really. You can plod on throughout the game, marveling at the sights and sounds without the worry of dying and having to start over, or losing items/progress due to a badly dodged attack. It's a nice change to just enjoy a game this way, planting and growing trees, taming the cutest animals ever and just being fascinated by the world around you, but this is coming from someone with a very panicky state of mind when it comes to enemies in games. It just feels great to play a game without sweaty palms gripping the controller, haha. Maybe others would have preferred some element of combat, but I enjoyed it without.

The Gemean wildlife is freaking adorable.
Although you interact with NPCs, there is never any dialogue from you. This is either in reference to Link, from the Zelda series, or it is to allow you to imagine your own dialogue (to immerse you in the game more?) but to me, it felt quite bland without any replies from your own character. I didn't ever feel anything for the nameless, voiceless entity that was my character, which is a shame really (and probably quite poor of me, since it doesn't bother me with Link).

It's a relaxing, enjoyable game despite my few gripes, which is why we ultimately decided to give Yonder a 6.5/10.

Have you played Yonder? What did you think of it?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

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