A lot is demanded of players in RPGs–it does stand for Role Playing Game because in order to be successful, you have to inhabit a role.
Yonder is a RPG with your character on a journey of, like any RPG, saving a foreign land from an unknown evil– this mission is a birthright of our hero, who was sent on this journey by his parent. This story is told in the game’s opening dialogue.
First, the game is gorgeous. At a glance, the world of Yonder immediately sucks you in, beautiful greens and a day/night cycle entice players to delve into the game. One would not be surprised if you just kept the game running as background in your place.
The sound is just as impressive as the visuals, there is no voice acting; however, the game’s sound matches the aesthetic and never once pops you out of the experience complimenting the world in such a way that never betrays the experience.
You’ll find yourself running through the game’s map for sights and sounds with the terrain and weather changing a long with the aforementioned day/night cycle– something that is not always a necessity, it is always appreciated though.
What does betray the experience is the gameplay. Starting the game you are immediately intrigued by the view of the world and you want to be enveloped by it, but RPGs are a grind by nature and Yonder’s gameplay fails to inspire.
Quests that are fairly basic and a complete lack of combat weigh the title down. Throughout the game you must complete a variety of task and remove Murk with collected sprites, which is not complicated and that is fine, it is just not enough to disappear into the game.
In Yonder, you can fish, craft and farm – no punching or puzzle solving though. With a simple story of a character sent off by his parents to save a land, this lack of combat and puzzles knocks down the truly inspiring audio and visual presentation.
Yonder’s sin, which should totally be the name of a follow-up, is that some of its parts are greater than the collective experience. When you wash up on that beach, you want it to be a mini-“Breath of the Wild,” you want to look at your watch after 20 minutes and realize that you’ve lost three hours clearing Murk — and that potential leaves you in a place of craving more.
If you’ve ever had a teacher that got on you because they felt you could succeed, but you fail to realize it, “Yonder Chronicles” will have you morph into that teacher.
The game’s grind fits a more portable experience than that of a console. On the train or hiding away at work breaking down rocks and raking leaves won’t get as tired quickly.
All in all, “Yonder Chronicles” is not a bad game, it also isn’t a great one– it exists in that weird space of where you’d probably remember more fondly over time because of its visual presentation; although don’t quite remember the experience of actually playing it. It is a delightful mixed bag that is worth playing.
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