Taking A Wander Around Yonder:
A Preview

Resource Gathering For Fun And Profit

Mar 28, 2017
3163830 trailer yonder teaser 20161130

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

Developer: Prideful Sloth
Platforms: PC, PS4
Demoed at PAX East 2017

Yonder is an exploration and puzzle game in development by Prideful Sloth, slated to release in the second quarter of 2017. The object of the game is to help townspeople with tasks, build up farms and villages, and push back the mysterious Murk that’s creeping over the land. Picture Stardew Valley with the graphics and gameplay of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker - minus the combat - and you’ll have something pretty close to Yonder.

Your nameless character is caught in a shipwreck and washes up on the island of Gemea, seeming a paradise of beautiful landscapes and pastoral towns filled with friendly people. However, you soon learn that not everything is as perfect as it seems; a strange toxic mist called the Murk has been spreading across Gemea, and the people need your help to dispel it.


The island of Gemea stretches in all directions, inviting you to discover its secrets.

Yonder Can Be A Pleasure To Play

Our biggest test at Sprites and Dice has always been whether or not a game is fun to play. I’m going to stray away from that guideline a bit, because I don’t believe that “fun” is the right word to describe Yonder. At least, not in the traditional sense. Don’t take it the wrong way; Yonder is certainly enjoyable. It’s absorbing, relaxing, almost meditative, but I’d describe it more as a pleasant experience.

With that said, Yonder does have a lot to recommend it. The Murk aside, Gemea feels like a warm and welcoming place. Almost from the moment you wash up on shore, people are eager to make sure you’re okay, help you make your way through the island, and teach you the various skills you’ll need to progress. In return, you help them clear out the Murk that’s strangling their paradise. Everyone helps each other, and everyone wins. All the while, Yonder's vibrant visuals bring Gemea alive.


English essay idea: The lost, shipwrecked boy seeking shelter and friendship represents all of us.

Finally, and this is going to seem like a very small thing, I have to applaud the programming for the animals of Gemea. One of the moments of the demo that stuck with me was when I encountered my first wild animal in Yonder. I have no idea what it’s called, but it looked like a fluffy moose that was about the size of a large dog. It was cute, so I decided to wander over and say hi.

The animal didn’t run from me - which says a lot about the kind of place Gemea is, that a wild animal doesn’t run from strange humans approaching it - but it was also clearly somewhat scared. This resulted in it continuously turning away from me, shoving its rump in my face as I tried to circle around to pet its head. It was such a small moment, and it’s going to sound strange to say, but even this moose-thing had a strong, defined character. I did not manage to befriend that creature, but I think we had a moment.


Oh sure, you like that guy.

A Warning: Make Sure That Yonder Is The Right Game For You

Playing Yonder can be a great experience, but it takes a particular type of gamer to appreciate it. While I was at their PAX East booth, I confirmed with the developers that there is no combat in the game; in fact, there is no way to get hurt or die at all. There are no enemies, and the Murk won’t actually hurt you, you just can’t walk through it. You can’t even take damage from falling, since you just pull out an umbrella and safely float down, Mary Poppins style. This is a large part of the reason why I wouldn’t describe Yonder as that more traditional definition fun: there’s no sense of personal danger which takes away a large part of the excitement present in other games.

Also, the player needs to be aware that Yonder is essentially a neverending series of fetch quests and resource-gathering missions. That’s not a bad thing, necessarily, but it definitely depends on personal taste. As I was demoing the game, after plugging along for half an hour or so, I started feeling like I was playing a low level World of Warcraft character. I had quests like, “collect 10 pieces of wood,” “collect 15 stones and 5 vines,” and so on.


Quest: Slay the dreaded Stone and bring back its body (0/1)

Some of these quests are actually to build or fix things around Gemea, which expands where you can go and what you can do. My understanding is that you eventually also get your own land you can develop and build on, but make sure you understand what you’re getting into before buying Yonder. There’s certainly pleasure to be had in building and creating something that’s yours, but it could also just feel like one endless grind. This could be a great game for younger children, or just what you need at the end of a long day of tough reality.

A Real Treat, If It’s To Your Taste

Overall, I strongly recommend Yonder - if you think it’s the kind of game that you would enjoy. That usually goes without saying, but I really have to emphasize it here. If games along the lines of Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing are not to your taste, you’re going to be desperately bored playing this one.

On the other hand, if spending some time exploring a beautiful island and helping friendly people with their problems sounds like a good time, you’ll like Yonder a lot. It’s enjoyable in a totally different way from most other games, but no less enjoyable overall.


It's all just waiting there to be discovered...

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Eric Henn

Head Writer