Wander is an intriguing concept. A non-combat massively multiplayer online game where the point of it all is to explore and communicate with others. On paper it is something that may seem worth picking up, however, when it launched last month it was riddled with bugs and flaws that made it more or less unplayable. I wanted to give the game a chance and thus waited for it to get its first patch.

Unfortunately it would seem that despite a patch which solved some issues the game still needs a lot of work done to it at the time of writing. Therein lies the biggest issue with Wander. It feels like a proof of concept rather than a finished product. Something that you would play on Steam Early Access or in a beta. Due to the game not feeling finished it means the audience hasn’t really settled into the game like they would with a more polished product. Thus you’re left with a MMO without the multiplayer.

This wouldn’t be as big of an issue if the game looked nice and played well. When static the game can look lovely, the moment you move though there are all kinds of problems, from pop up to detection issues. Models and textures will disappear and reappear at random.

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There are various creatures you can discover in the world and when you discover them you can become them. Each has their pros and cons and set of animations. Not all of them appear to be animated with the same level of care though, with the more humanoid race not having a strafe animation. This is a glaring omission and makes running from side to side look rather odd. When the animation seems fine it is then something else, like detection issues that prove a problem.

It’s not just the animations and models that create issues with the characters however. The game does not have voice chat, instead opting for a bank of phrases you can say, that some races will understand and some won’t. You can find these as glyphs throughout the world. One way to speak them is to go through the choices on the D-pad and select them from there. This is not the way the game encourages you to do it though.

The way the game encourages you to do it, is to draw via the DualShock 4 touchpad. It’s great to see the touchpad being used in a game in a unique way, but unfortunately the level of accuracy needed with your drawing is far too precise. You have to draw the symbol in a specific way; just getting the right shape isn’t good enough. It’s far too fiddly and takes far too long to do, meaning that you’ll quickly give up. The lack of anyone to actually talk to also makes it a pointless process to master.

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It’s impossible to recommend Wander in its current form, but that does not mean that time won’t be kind to the game. The developers appear to be keen to continue working on it and are being very vocal with their community about patches and upcoming ideas. If they can get the game a bit more in order for the first time the game appears in the sales, then hopefully a community can begin to be built.

It wouldn’t be the first time that a MMO has launched flawed and then been reworked at a later date. However, it doesn’t seem that the fixes that are needed to make Wander a game that is fun to play are a quick fix. The world is large but bland, the way to communicate with others is clunky and characters need a lot of work so they feel more natural to play as. Hopefully they’ll get there, but don’t expect it any time soon.

  • If you would like to see the game in action please check out the Brett’s Play below.



Author

Brett Claxton

I like video games. That's why I write about them. I've played them for years and in that time I've found a love for creepy horrors, indie darlings and the oddities that come out of Japan. Although my main purpose on the site is to write up news and reviews I'm also one of the main Let's Play video creators of the team (or, as I call them, Brett's Play videos). You can check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/user/Bretteh2