Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PC, PS4
Publisher: Prideful Sloth
Developer: Prideful Sloth
Medium: Digital/Cartridge
Players: 1
Online: No

There is, perhaps, less of an argument to check out Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles on the Switch than there was when it first came out on PS4 and PC. After all, as great as it was, the game is basically a more relaxing, less demanding version of The Legend of Zelda. While that’s an underserved niche on PS4, for obvious reasons the competition is a little more stiff on a Nintendo console.

Still, even if it’s not quite as essential, Yonder still has a lot going for it. For starters, it’s possible to overstate the Zelda comparison — while that’s undeniably the biggest influence, it’s not the only influence. In fact, with its heavy emphasis on questing, crafting, and chores, you can spot another beloved franchise in Yonder’s DNA: Animal Crossing. Like that game, Yonder is all about passing time by doing things for other people and generally improving the world around you. It’s not necessarily the most exciting thing in the world to plant a tree or maintain a farm, but, like other games before it, Yonder shows that those activities can still possess a certain charm if presented the right way.

And speaking of charm: Yonder is every bit as charming here as it was on PS4 and PC. Exploring the island on which you find yourself shipwrecked is thoroughly delightful, as you encounter all kinds of adorable animals and friendly villagers. The tasks are just the right level of difficulty — not so easy that you find yourself bored, and not so mundane that you’re at risk of falling asleep. Even falling from a great height manages to be cute here: before you can hit the ground, your umbrella pops up and you float down safely.

Admittedly, the similarities to Zelda are impossible to ignore, particularly when it comes to the graphics. I went into this game almost immediately after finally checking out Breath of the Wild, and if I hadn’t noticed the similarity when I first played the game last year, I definitely would have noticed it now.

But again, you don’t want to make too much of those similarities. Where Zelda is all about combat and the story, Yonder is a much more relaxing experience. It wants you to simply settle into the rhythms of living on the island of Gemea — and it’s a testament to how good it is that, given half a chance, it’ll have no problem sucking you in.

Prideful Sloth provided us with a Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-