Wander – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure, MMO
Developer: Wander MMO
Publisher: Wander MMO
Platforms: PC, PS4
Tested on: PS4

Wander – Review

Site Score
4.5
Good: Sound design, original game idea, colour palette
Bad: A lot of technical issues, bland and shallow game world, story is not convincing
User Score
0
(0 votes)
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We often receive games at 3rd-strike which are a bit different than other titles on the market. Often, they prove to add some original gameplay mechanics or incredible story twist which makes the game a very enjoyable experience to go through. Sometimes however, one of those ‘special’ games is just something that was better left alone or where a lot of the things just aren’t very well worked out. Unfortunately, we can’t say Wander belongs in the first category of original games. Here’s why.

Wander logo

Story

Wander isn’t really a game with a cohesive storyline right of the bat. The player gets dropped in the game world with some narration in the background but a lot of it won’t make a lot of sense at first. As you wander around (pun intended), you’ll find lorestones which will give you a greater insight in the general storyline. Still, it’s hard to get a grasp at what is essentially going on. The lorestones are certainly interesting enough to listen to them when you’re passing through but it feels like the game missed an opportunity to bring an exciting tale to the table to make this adventure a more pleasant one to go through.

Graphics

As Wander’s main goal is one of exploration, the world in which the game takes places feels rather lacking of anything interesting. Sure, there are some neat caves with glowing plantation and yes you have that rather peculiar looking statue in the middle of the island but still, the world feels rather dead and soulless. Besides other players (which are quite thin spread), there’s no wildlife or other life forms to take a look at. Swimming in the ocean is one heck of a lonely experience as staring in that deep blue mass without so much as some fish swimming around… Well, it’s not the most enjoyable thing to see.

On a technical level, Wander also fails to impress. Textures are popping in and out of the world so regularly, it start to get annoying quite fast. How are you supposed to take a peaceful look at your surroundings with plants turning on and off constantly?

The colour palette is a lively one though and makes the game look pretty realistic and bright. If the issues mentioned previously were not present in Wander, the game would certainly be a pleasant one to look at.

Wander

Sound

The sound design is quite alright as the sound effects are pretty well executed and the voice acting is not that bad either. While walking around, the sound is the only thing to keep your mind of the repetitive wandering so it’s nice to have that diversion although it feels like some real music in the background would’ve been most welcome. Hearing the water clatter in the distance as you make your way to a waterfall is quite the awesome experience so on that part, Wander doesn’t disappoint.

Gameplay

For a game that is advertized as an MMO without any combat or quest or things like that, Wander certainly keeps its promises. You won’t find any chances to combat other players or level up by completing tasks. The idea sounds rather unfamiliar but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, the originality and innovation of Wander is the most likeable aspect in the whole game. The developers tried to do something out of the ordinary and that can only be appreciated. The player can choose to transform in one of the 4 creatures available with each their own abilities like flying or swimming or summoning fireflies. This sounds a lot cooler than it actually is though and above all, the game fails miserably on a lot of factors to make Wander an enjoyable experience for those looking for something quite different.

Wander screen

First of all, the animations are quite awful. Walking around feels incredibly stiff and instead of turning like a realistic character, the creature you play changes course on such an ugly way, it’s hard not to get annoyed by it. The characters basically moonwalk to the left or to the right and for a 2015 game, that’s just not acceptable anymore. Besides, getting stuck because of a 5 centimeters high rock or piece of wood is nothing out of the ordinary here so prepare for a whole load of frustration on that part.

Okay, let’s put these issues behind us. Surely Wander can surprise us with some other fun game mechanics right? Well, not really. Aside from walking around, there is almost nothing else to do. You can find some lorestones which will tell you more about the confusing storyline and you can ‘try’ to talk to fellow players by drawing symbols but as this game mechanic isn’t working half of the time, you can’t really count it as added game value.

There’s also some kind of map system where you can place markers to get some decent orientation going on but this mechanic too doesn’t work that great. If you make some mistakes and all your markers are used, well, that’s too bad as I haven’t found a way to remove previously used markers. This makes the map system completely useless as without the ability of removing markers, there’s no way you can clearly see where to go or where you’ve been.

Wander3

As walking around is obviously what the player will be doing most of the time, the characters can sprint for a short duration of time to make navigation a bit swifter. Unfortunately, the world is quite big and the amount of stamina very low which causes another great source of annoyance.

Conclusion

The idea behind Wander is an original and innovative one but the execution is quite dreadful. It’s hard to appreciate the world the developers offer their player base as the game world feels incredibly dead and shallow. Numerous technical issues ruin the fun and the story can’t save the overall crappy feeling the game leaves you with. My advice: don’t buy this game and look for a fresh experience somewhere else.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Laconiden
    Laconiden
    June 16, 2015, 2:20 pm

    Painful, as yes, the idea does sound quite all right. I do wonder why there isn’t really any wildlife and the likes. An exploration game is supposed to draw you in with the incredible world, its mysteries, flora and fauna. Explorers map, build camps, take notes. It’s not because the title is ‘Wander’ that it should only do that. :/ A real pity. The symbol thing to communicate with makes me think of Journey, hoewever, that one was filled with mystery and you actually felt like your journey meant something. Wonder if the team behind Wander is going to try to fix the game or if they will drop it.

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