In a day and age where the open-world genre is becoming one of the most common sort of game we see each year, there are those that come along and deliver a new way to view the category. The developers at Prideful Sloth have done just that with their new game Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles.

Not only does Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles provide us with a completely new experience, but it grants us access to one of the most beautiful worlds I’ve seen this generation. Gemea is a diverse landmass, bursting with life, all of which turns into a playground for players to collect, craft and complete quests left and right. Prideful Sloth’s Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is a triumph for gamers and for indie studios.

Let’s start with the magnificent world this studio has created. Gemea bursts with personality, life and allure from the Hearthwind Vale all the way to the Shivering Plains. Its regions are diverse and surprisingly large, with nine regions stretching across this universe. Diversity doesn’t just come in the world’s color palate variation, but also in its physical landmass.

The Grasslands are, well, grassy plains, and this stretch of world possesses dozens of animals, plants, trees, stones and secrets. Every region provides a unique change to gameplay that is refreshing. Its physical variations and incredible day-night cycle suck you in immediately.

One of the nine beautiful regions in Yonder (Courtesy of Prideful Sloth).

The day-night cycle in Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles creates some of the most awe-inspiring moments. I can vividly remember escorting a grass fox across the Grasslands to my farm, and in the background seeing the sunrise with an absolutely stunning color painted by the early morning light. Moments like this are everywhere in Yonder. They help this title truly become an experience, something you witness.

As beautiful as this universe is, Yonder thrives under the entertaining and immersive systems that drive it. From the fun and easy-to-use crafting system, to the many different activities found in Gemea, Yonder offers plenty of possibilities. Crafting is a system based off of your ability to acquire recipes. While you may collect resources from the start, you will not be able to produce anything until you learn recipes.

This is done through completing missions for folks in Gemea. The Master Carpenter, Master Chef and other masters have recipes waiting for you, after you help them out, of course. Resources are found in items you gather through avenues like smashing wooden boxes, picking up scattered resources, mining them with one of a handful of tools or by trading. Resources become essential for creating recipes. Those are useful for helping others, completing missions and impacting the world around you. You never know when you’ll need a certain item, so having the right recipe always helps.

Gemea is vast and possesses plenty for players to see and do. Farming can be a major aspect of the game if you want it to be. Growing your farm is done by constructing new buildings like a large or small animal house, water troughs and more. Adding animals to your farm happens through you luring them to your land. Having the right seed or flower on hand enables you to slowly lead a new animal to their new home.

What animals will you corral for your farm (Courtesy of Prideful Sloth)?

Farming is an aspect of the game where you can get really in-depth with it. Leading all sorts of different types of animals into your farm can be rewarding. However, some stretches of land are simply too long and cumbersome to overcome, so others might not find farming as enthralling. To further your farm’s status, you’ll need to hire farmhands to help keep things running smoothyl. This is done through feeding them. Once their levels reach 100%, you can assign that individual to your farm. This process goes a lot quicker by giving them thicker meals like steak, fish or Groffle milk.

The world is filled with many different secrets. Sprites quickly become one of the most crucial elements to overall progression. In order to clear Murk, the dark clouds that have assembled over parts of Gemea, gamers must have a certain amount of sprites. This is why I highly encourage all players to explore and search as much as possible. You’ll quickly learn you can never have enough of these things, particularly when trying to get to certain parts of the world.

Other secrets include items like clothing, gear, resources and an odd amount of shampoo. Smashing wooden boxes is a great way of making sure no stone, if you will, is left unturned. Treasure boxes are also scattered around the world and many can be found after clearing murk from an area.

All of this collecting and you can surely find yourself with a full backpack. Make sure you don’t hoard your resources too much. Spend as you can, but use them wisely. You never know when glue will come in handy or a stone pillar. Should you not have an item you need, trade merchants are scattered across every region of Gemea. These locations often times have what you need. However, if you get to one and they do not have what you’re looking for, it’s on to the next merchant.

Many of Yonder’s environments will suck you in with its color and majesty (Courtesy of Prideful Sloth).

Gemea possesses so much charm and so many adorable characters. The story is innocent, yet clear, and turns out to be enough to carry the experience. It won’t win any game awards anytime soon, but the narrative doesn’t need to. The combination of its world, look, characters and gameplay were more than enough to win over my heart. I believe it will be enough to win over the hearts of many players out there.

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is a game that’s about exploration, investment, beauty and helping others. There is no combat in Yonder and this comes across in a refreshing way. After spending a matter of minutes in Gemea, I quickly forgot that combat was a thing in gaming. The game had taken hold of me and I didn’t care that there was no sniping, fighting or spell casting. Prideful Sloth knows what Yonder does well, and they have taken full advantage of it.

Regardless if you build a farm, go fishing, search for sprites or conquer quest after quest, Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is an incredibly fun, genuine experience. There was no pomp and circumstance leading up to this game’s launch, and as a result, many gamers might not see Yonder as it rides below the radar. However, Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles‘s aura will refresh your perspective on open-worlds and its gameplay will steal your heart.

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles will be available tomorrow for $19.99, which is an absolute steal. Knowing what I know, I’d pay way more for this game if I didn’t already have it. It is initially launching on PS4 and PC, though I’m sure Xbox One will receive the game at some point. Do I even hear a Switch version? Stick around here at We Write Things for more on Yonder. Prideful Sloth provided We Write Things with a PS4 version of Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles for the purposes of this review.

About Steve Ruygrok

Gaming, Spirits, and Craft Beer enthusiast. If you say you don't like beer, then you just haven't had the right type yet. Great spirits keep away the bad ones. Video games are kind of amazing, just do it...or something like that.