Another glorious return to Gemea.
There’s something pure about the experience of a game that allows you to enjoy the adventure of exploring and escaping to a new world. But there’s something even more special to a game that fully engrosses you in that world without adding the stress of combat, impending doom, or save-the-world scenarios. I love a good story driven RPG or a tightly controlled FPS/3PS, but there’s this special place in my heart for Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles.
In Yonder, you play as an individual with the poor luck of crashing headlong into a terrible squall whilst aride on a vessel. You quickly discover your first fairy, a being that travels with you and clears the land of heavy concentrations of Murk, a purple substance that makes life inhabitable. It plagues various areas across Gemea, many of which block your progression. One of your major goals is to clear the Murk and save the land, which you inevitably need to do to reach your main destination.
Additionally, Yonder has much more substance than simply clearing Murk and finding fairies. There are a number of farms for you to cultivate and keep livestock at. You can mine, chop down trees, fish, and more. You’re free to join each crafting guild and embark on numerous crafting quests. You’re as free as you wish without any constraints or time sensitive obligations looming before you. I’ve found it to be one of the most relaxing gaming experiences on the market, and it’s a game that deserves a lot more credit and attention.
For this particular review, I’d like to focus on how it runs on the Xbox One, since it is recently launched. I’ve now played Yonder on the Switch, PS4 Pro, and now the Xbox One X, and I can safely say the game runs at its best on the One X. Transitions between days is smoother, and the entire experience seems to flow better. On my PS4 Pro, I ran into numerous crashing issues, which I never came across on the One X. Visuals, to me, looked relatively similar, as they typically do.
There isn’t much new to be said about Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles on the Xbox One X that hasn’t already been said. This edition does seem to perform the best of the bunch, and it’s certainly worth a purchase if you’ve never played before. Heck, even if you’ve experienced Yonder and enjoyed it, I believe the One X version offers enough in the way of performance that you’ll be able to fall in love with the game once again.
As I mentioned in my previous review for the Switch, “The visuals, while not ‘realistic’, per se, shine with such gentle colors and lights that, regardless of the time of day, soothe the soul. Likewise, the sounds of the island and the gentle soundtrack pair like few other games before, down to the simplest sounds of hammer cracking stone or axe eviscerating tree. There are no presumptions within Yonder, no arrogance permeating the air – just a simple game at heart with an expansive world to uncover and a plethora of options to explore.”
It has been nearly a year since my first review of Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles, and I’m still erratic with joy. I imagine this game, to me, is like Stardew Valley for others. As I’ve said and will continue to say, if you’re looking for a relaxing adventure that will leave you satisfied, Yonder will do the trick. It’s now available on all current gen consoles, so you really have no reason not to try it out.