Wanderer is a new VR experience that puts players in the shoes of different people overcoming extraordinary odds. This game is a time-traveling adventure where you will be in the skin of Asher Neumann. He is on the trail of trying to find out how to get home after activating a mysterious time-bending wristwatch he found in his grandfather’s apartment. Shifting from one time period to the next, experience scenarios that range from protecting ancient towns from a siege to playing in a rock concert in front of thousands of people. Meanwhile, collect clues and find a way to stop the unraveling of time and space and prevent the end of civilization as we know it. This is a unique title that offers a mixed bag of interactions and sequences. Similar to the old television show “Quantum Leap”, there hasn’t really been a video game quite like this. When it comes to VR, a concept like this was tailor-made for such an experience.
This is indeed a neat concept and there is a slew of mini-games to complete throughout the course of this journey. Shooting charging enemy troops, solving puzzles, assisting Nicola Tesla and others are possible with Wanderer. To say that there is “variety” in this game is an understatement. This title relishes in that sentiment and there’s a fresh mini-adventure to get through every step of the way. Therefore, this game offers a little something for every type of gamer out there. Thusly, this game also tells a rather poignant story about where we are going as a species and how to reassess our priorities. This IP was released this past January and it has received some rather solid critical acclaim. The VR experience isn’t really the main outlet for entertainment in a majority of homes. It’s more for a rather niche group of gamers out there. However, for someone who is mulling on the idea of trying out VR for the first time, maybe Wanderer will be a good introduction.
Time-traveling has always been a tricky endeavor for both video games and movies. The notion of multiple timelines, the Mobius Strip, time being a “Quanta” and other theories can shy people away from these types of stories. With Wanderer, the story seems to play it loose and just uses the idea of “time travel” as an excuse to experience all these different scenarios. Every level Asher goes through is essentially a puzzle that needs to be solved. Some are more arcade-like than others, but they are brain teasers nonetheless. Asher is not really alone in this journey, the time-manipulating watch that he wears is actually a talking entity named Samuel. He acts as your guide throughout this adventure, providing hints and exposition. The way he works is that he will need certain items fed to him in order to prep him to gear up for another time jump.
With a simple push of a button on the watch, players will zoom through a wormhole and find themselves in a different time and reality in a matter of seconds. Every session is a completely new and fresh scenario that doesn’t recycle gameplay elements during its 10 plus hour runtime. Asher will collect all manners of things that range from books to posters that slowly reveal key points in the game’s narrative. Wanderer is very much an environmentally narrative-driven story in which players will need to discover themselves. The levels are highly interactive and pretty much everything can be picked up and used to a certain degree. This game encourages players to poke around the environment and play around with its mechanics. Not solely for amusement, but rather for necessity.
The twist with this Wanderer is the fact that puzzles will need to be solved with some critical thinking. Samuel does let Asher travel back and forth at certain time periods if need be. Much like the adventure-puzzle games of yesteryear, Wanderer excels in finding potential puzzle-solving items and returning to certain places to solve situations. Things like finding a modern-day tool and going back to an ancient tomb to pry open a crevice are just standard examples of how this game works. It can be a bit jarring of remembering where and when Asher has been and decide if there is something there that he missed. The puzzles aren’t too difficult, for the most part. They rely more on common sense and thinking “outside of the box.” Just deciding on what time period to go back to can be the most difficult puzzle-solving element in this game.
Lastly, Wanderer does come with an action-adventure streak later in the game. Especially, when there are entities pursuing Asher that have a problem with him toying with timelines. It certainly adds a new spin into an otherwise well-crafted adventure-puzzle VR experience. With the praise that this game is getting, it’s a shame that many gamers are missing out due to the fact that it’s solely on VR. Games such as these can be hit or miss, for sure. Both Resident Evil 7 and Roque Squadron are prime examples of VR done right. As far as a sole exclusive, Wanderer is certainly worth checking out if a player feels like dabbling into this new angle of gaming. There is a lot to choose from in the VR sphere and it can be a difficult jump to make. VR gaming isn’t exactly anything new, but it is reaching new heights thanks to modern hardware.
There is a lot to enjoy with Wanderer. Even it is with the Southern charm of Samuel or the innovative way time travel works, this game is a breath of fresh air. It offers a taste of every type of First-Person IP out there and the story is engrossing enough to make players fight to the end. If someone is a fan of the time travel sub-genre or just looking for a solid VR adventure, then Wanderer might be in their wheelhouse. Wanderer is now available for PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and PC.