A young man travels to his homeland he never knew. His head is full of mysteries and mysteries to discover. But it will not be long before h
e rushes in a bad way with a shipwreck, nothing less! in the peaceful paradise of Gemea . This place, however, has been corrupted by darkness that ravages the entire region, and we will soon discover that as a “seer of goblins” our role in this world is crucial. We will have to put an end to the darkness and discover the secret of our origin.
Small adventure in a peaceful world
All this may sound very important and very important, so the first thing that should be clarified is that Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is really a little adventure, peaceful and serene . We can take very seriously to save the world from darkness or we can fully dedicate ourselves to being a peaceful farmer . The game will be just as happy with it.
Perhaps due to its technical or production limitations, Yonder is a simpler game than what the sandbox genre has accustomed us to. Its mechanics seem to pick up old and current trends : We have to carry out collection tasks with tools, there is a system of crafting, collectibles … But the general feeling, for its artistic section and for how it exposes its narrative, is of old-school adventure . After a small introduction customizing our herowith a basic but functional template, we will discover that the game is really going to be a messenger. And that … it’s not really bad in reality.
Being the waiter of the messages
The game is structured as an open world adventure. There is a main thread of missions that has the narrative weight, and that will take us to visit some of the most spectacular places of the game, but that otherwise does not distance much from the experience we can have exploring the game world while we complete the wide set of secondary tasks .
Missions, whether primary or secondary, usually consist of talking to NPCs who want things. These things can be obtained by exploring scenarios, trading or crafting.
If we do not want to look for items we can often buy them. There is a coin in the game, but it is used on exceptional occasions and otherwise the trading system works by exchange . All the items have assigned values and we have to manage our resources to make a fair deal with the other merchant. What does this mean? That if we want to trade at the end we also have to explore, since each item that we get serves as a currency of exchange as well as for its particular use.
The Crafting , on the other hand, operates very similar to most current games. The NPCs give us recipes that we can “cook” by getting their different ingredients and joining them in the game’s own menus. Crafting is one of the main themes of the missions
that entrust us, principal or secondary, so we better keep constantly handle a large number of different objects to craftear with them or exchange them in trade for the objects that are ingredients.
In this land are the guilds. The game has a system of guilds , each with its center in a distinctive location on the map and to which we can join. B
elonging to these guilds through their initiation missions earns us new crafting recipes, which can be used in personalization items, in improvements for our farm or in materials that help to build bridges as shortcuts in the game world.
With all this. There is a remarkable philosophy in the design behind the game to eliminate any kind of violent mechanics. During the adventure we are traders, explorers, builders, scientists … but never warriors.
Ending the evil that ravages Gemea
But if the thing was going to end evil, how do we do it, then? Well, the game does not have any enemies or combat system. So the equivalent of it is through the goblins , capable of ending the darkness. Both the elves and the darkness are materialized as objects and as events on the map , respectively.
The goblins are small flying creatures that are scattered around the world and accumulate in our inventory. They emit a blue flash on the stage and can be accessible or unlockable through the resolution of small puzzles or crafting recipes. Each pixie we get has its ow
n personality and appearance, but in the end the only thing that interests us is the number of them that we have. Each fragment of darkness that is on the map requires a minimum number of elves to be destroyed. Clearing the darkness gives us as a reward different items or the possibility of opening new paths, occasionally necessary to continue with the story.
After reviewing all these mechanics, we can assume that the main engine of progression in the game is exploration . Whether looking for objects to overcome missions or looking for goblins, the adventure will have us constantly wandering around a world that after a few hours will be very familiar.
All this ultimately means that the player who wants to be absorbed by the open world can do so through a host of simple tasks and secondary orders, without more pressure than you want to put. But it also means that the player looking for a more tangible and im
mediate progression in the adventure may feel frustrated with a game that requires some patience . Everything in the game is cooked over low heat and there are rarely direct paths. There is always an object that we need, a shortcut that we must open, a third person w
ith whom we have to talk, an object to be crafted … Even just focusing on the set of main missions, they force us to explore the environment and carry out tasks that link with other orders that link with other orders.
This feeling can be reinforced by the fact that the character’s progression system is based on the purely cosmetic and its evolution through the guilds.
The question that can arise to this is … and for what? And the answer would not be very clear. The game itself does not justify the existence of its own
systems and in a certain sense seems to depend on our altruistic interest for them. Except for the occasional use to advance the story, there is no real reward in improving our farm, in joining the guilds, or in looking for any collectable.
The world of Gemea
The island of Gemea is small by the current standards of the genre. Thing that in a certain sense is to be grateful because all trips are on foot and the necessary thing is to go back to areas already explored. There is a kind of quick trip in the game but only from specific places to others. We never have total control of where we want to go.
Here some complaints may arise. For a game so focused on the collection of objects, navigation on the stage seems somewhat slow and cumbersome. On the one hand the control of the character is coarser than the account, with a “slippery” feeling that is annoying from the first contacts with the game. On the other hand, more useful options are missing from the game map . How to m
anually mark targets to create our own routes or information on fauna and flora according to the different areas of the map. It is not difficult to get stuck in the adventure because you have to blindly search the entire map for an item you have never heard of.
Visually the game offers colorful landscapes full of distinctive flora and fauna . After a few hours playing we will know the look that has almost everything we can collect. The modeling of the game is simple, colorful and with flat colors, with a carto
on style reminiscent of games like Zelda . Although technically it is no wonder, the game is attractive to watch and especially the daytime lighting gives very good results. Knowing that it is a world in which we can potentially spend many hours, it is a friendly and welcoming one.
And speaking of hours : the main p
lot can take you around 4 or 5, but the real heart of Yonder is clearly to enter the world of Gemea and dedicate yourself to undertake all the small tasks that your world offers, which can increase the duration considerably .