Review: Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Monday, June 18, 2018

Review: Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles (Switch)

by James Charlton

Breath of the not-so-Wild

This game has been a really tricky one to review. Going into it I expected an indie take on a classic 3D Zelda game, but an hour or so into it i realised I was actually playing an Animal Crossing game!

OK let’s start by stating what this game is not. It is not an action-adventure or RPG game in the slightest. The major reason for this is you simply cannot die. There are no enemies of any kind, nothing can hurt you whatsoever. The closest you’ll get to “dying” is falling in some deep water, only to put gently put back on the edge where you fell in.

So now you know what this game is not, I can tell you what is is. The is a visually stunning game considering its humble background. The world is gorgeous, and the soundtrack accompanying it is breathtaking. At times it has the other worldly immersion of Zelda Breath of the Wild and the like. The trees sway in the breeze, birds tweet, water splashes at the shore, lanterns light up adorable little towns at night, and wildlife runs across the expansive plains. The world is an absolute pleasure to explore, and you can spend aimless hours just enjoying your gentle danger-free stroll through it.

However, this game made me realise what I actually need in a video game for me to enjoy, something I’d taken for granted or not realised before playing Yonder. That thing is stakes. I need danger, I need combat of some kind, I need something to bring agency to the game.

Yonder is unfortunately entirely made up of fetch/seek quests. You are either looking for someone or something to talk to, or finding some thing to bring to someone else. There are the occasional “spin the thing around” puzzle, but don’t expect anything along the lines of even the simplest Zelda puzzle.

This is unfortunately why the game fell apart for me, perhaps partly because I was expecting an adventure and got a life simulator game (a la Animal Crossing), but also because the tasks I was being asked to do quickly became tiresome.

There is so much content here; areas to explore, secrets to find, farms to populate, guilds to join, skills to obtain, and clothes to customise your character with, it’s just wrapped up in a game style that will not satisfy action-adventure gamers like myself in the slightest. 

Whereas I am clearly not the target demographic for this game, I could easily see young children getting an amazing experience out of it. I am not dismissing the game because of that fact, indeed if you have kids, feel free to add 2 or 3 points onto my score. Having such a beautiful, yet safe world to explore will surely benefit both parent and child alike.

Final Score: 6.5

Review code provided by the publisher

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