Fashionista Scarecrows and Giant Balls of Yarn
I started Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles off on the wrong foot. For me, it felt like it rushed into repetitive fetch quests so fast, I had little engagement with the characters, story, or the open world of Gemea. The fetch quests themselves were not only boring, but they even became overwhelming as a bunch of them filled up my menu. I lost track of a superficial “main quest,” and had no interest in sifting through a long list of other quests to find it.
Things started to turn around when I met a talking scarecrow with fashion sense.
He was on the edges of a town that broke up the monotony of endless green fields. This sentient scarecrow wanted me to dress him more fashionably for winter. That immediately stood out from the standard stock human NPCs I had been dealing with up to that point.
Going further into the town, I realized its colors were bright, contrasting greatly with the fields of green that had grown to bore me before. What seemed to be the town square was unique, filled with a gigantic ball of yarn that rivaled some of the buildings in height.
There, I finally found a quest that caught my interest—joining the Tailor's Guild, which meant crafting my own clothes. That was a novelty for me, something I couldn’t remember doing before in a game.
Set on getting clothes for the scarecrow and my character, I finally figured out Yonder’s trading system. It was simpler than I thought, but still something I had to figure out since there was little in-game explanation for how trading worked.
I fixated on getting clothes and changing the look of my character. My focus became joining the Tailor's Guild and mastering it by crafting to meet the quest parameters. I finally had something to do in the game, something that drew my attention. As I solely focused on that, I let everything else go.
I ignored the other quests, and just focused on getting new outfits. I needed to collect things to trade for clothing and crafting materials for clothes—and so I went back to harvesting the environment, smashing rocks and cutting down grass with more interest. Traders would take those. Now I started to appreciate the mechanics of the controls better. Switching between tools is pretty seamless, and an icon will always pop up letting you know what tool you should use to successfully interact with the world.
As I searched for more materials to trade away and ignored the other quests, I freely wandered Gemea. With only one lighthearted focus—just get those clothes—I felt less pressure to figure out the main quest or go through every other quest. I went forward with one thing in mind, and actually saw and appreciated the sights along the way.
I found more interesting areas like the town of yarn. When I found the field of cherry blossom trees, I finally thought Yonder was truly beautiful. I found pathways that led higher and enjoyed the snowy mountains. This was all better than the long monotonous fields of green I had started with.
There was less frustrated searching to fulfill a long list of quests and more stumbling upon discoveries, which felt more satisfying. I investigated areas on whims and came away with various things, like treasure chests, an extra tool, and knowledge of secret places. I even found some items I needed to complete other quests. It was more pleasant and less stressful when I stumbled upon them, practically did it without trying, without obsessing over my lengthy quest log.
However, my newfound interest began to drop. I had figured out the trading system, but that started to grow more tedious after a while. Rather than collecting one currency to purchase more clothes and more tailoring supplies, I had to collect various things for one purchase. While that may be more accurate to how a barter system worked, it still became irritating. It just made me wish for a singular currency. On top of that, crafting clothes became less interesting as I realized I was back to collecting many items to make one piece of clothing. It started feeling like another fetch quest.
There were other cumbersome details about trading. There was no quick, intuitive way to pick an exact amount of what I wanted to trade away. For instance, if I wanted to trade one rock from my entire stock of stones, I had to scroll down from the maximum number of stones (which is 50) to get to one individual piece. Doing that repeatedly grew tiresome.
Like any other game with a significant store system, I had hit my limit and became weary of what felt like just buying things in Yonder. I wanted to play a game, not buy things within a game. I needed a break.
Still, I wasn’t entirely back where I started. I was less interested and I had slowed down—but I still wanted new clothes. I still had my newfound appreciation for harvesting different materials from the world with my varying tools. The cherry blossom trees were still gorgeous.
I left Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles with some appreciation. Deep down, it wasn’t the most entertaining or even soothing experience for me. There are other games I like better for relaxation, an open-world adventure, or a shopping spree. I can take in any of these in short-to-medium doses before taking a break. There are other games I simply like more. But it wasn’t as boring as I initially thought. I just needed to find something that caught my attention.
TechRaptor covered Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles on Nintendo Switch with a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam.