According to my last and only save file, I last played Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles in 2017. I thought I had written a post about it at some point but when I went back to read it there was no post to be found published, in drafts, or otherwise. I must have not gotten around to it. I do remember I was going to call it something like Fetch Quest: The Game though. That’s what has stuck with me over the years when I think of Yonder. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I remember it being enjoyable actually. Enough to want to give it another shot a few years later.
I didn’t intentionally set out to start another play-through. I was going through my library and looking at Verified games for the Steam Deck. Right there at the bottom of the list was Yonder. I just wanted to see how it would run (it runs great by the way). I started a new game, because there was no way I was picking up a 4 year old save and went through the little tutorial. Then I got to the first area and started to remember a bit more about the game. I did a quest or two, chopped down a few trees and before I knew it an hour had passed and didn’t want to put it down.
Yonder is a game about exploration. It has some trading, farming, crafting, and resource gathering in it as well but at it’s heart it’s about exploring the world the world, collecting things, and finding little Sprites scattered aroudn the world.. There is no combat, it’s just you, your tools, and the needy inhabitants of Gemea who can’t be bothered to do things like pick up sticks from the ground or talk to the trader standing next to them. Nope, that’s my job! Happy to do it!
The majority of my time has been running from place to place sucking up every material in sight like a vacuum for these people. . There are a ton of these quests in each zone and the only reward is a little notification about the amount of quests remaining in the zone. That’s good enough I guess.
There’s also a story but I haven’t been progressing it to much yet. A mysterious mist has settled in places around the island and it’s up to me and my spirit friends to dispel it and figure out where it’s coming from. I just have to find the Sprites hidden among the island first. Each mist needs a certain amount of Sprites found to get rid of it. So far I’ve found 7 of these little guys.
Last but not least there is a bunch of things to collect along the way. There are missing cats, treasure chest, clothes, hair styles, fish, crafting recipes and more cats. I was also given a farm not long after my arrival. If I lure animals in to it after feeding them their favorite food I can “adopt” them. And by adopt I mean put them in a pen and have them make trade goods while I’m out and about. I think they can also come on my adventure with me if I so choose. I’ve set up my farm with a large animal house for my Griff, a small animal house for my fox, and a garden for the seeds I’ve been picking up.
The trade system is based of bartering. Goods have an assigned currency value at the traders but there isn’t any currency. Most raw materials are worth around 1 currency with the crafted goods going for a lot more. Each town has something they need so goods in one town are worth more than another. With all the raw materials I’ve been picking up, I’m usually able to get what I need just trading the grass and sticks I’ve picked up. It’s a good thing my inventory is so large.
There’s a crating system which involves finding the different guilds on the island and asking nicely to join. There isn’t much to it, as long as you have the required materials in inventory you can make the item. So far I have joined the Carpenters Guild and the Tailors Guild. I started out as a novice and was given some basic crafting recipes and a quest to craft enough items to be worth 1000 in value. You might think, like I did, that there would be a couple of the quests to do. Each time increasing your rank, unlocking some more recipes, and having to craft a a greater value of items. But like me, you’d be wrong. As soon as I turned in the quest to the Carpenters Guild I was told I was now a Master Carpenter. I’m assuming the same is true for the rest of the guilds. Though right now I’m having a hard time sourcing materials for the Tailors guild since the trader there seems to only stock one of each item. I’m not sure how often their inventory updates. It’s something I’m still looking in to.
Yonder is not a challenging game, it’s not a game that you have to use critical thinking skills, it’s a game that literally points out the next objective with a very bright light. It’s a game where boxes are checked, items are discovered, and there is no danger in exploring. It’s a very relaxing game and it’s one that I’m very much in need of right now.