If you could travel through time, where would you want to go? Would you witness some historical event or maybe try and stop an event that would change the world as you know it? Would you go trying to meet someone famous or perhaps try to change your history for the better? When you think about it, anything could be possible when you are talking about time travel. So do developers Oddboy and M-Theory give us that time travel experience? Let’s find out with Wanderer for PCVR and PSVR.
Wanderer is a time travel experience that blends escape room style of puzzles, tactile hands-on interactions, and action arcade sequences. Playing as one Asher Neumann, you are on a time-bending journey to change the course of history that brings you the ultimate time travel adventure. So before you start messing with the space-time continuum, there are a few things that you will want to know about. First, this is a time travel adventure so set some time aside. Second, enjoy your time as there is no need to rush. Third, make sure your controllers are charged as you don’t want to be stuck in some time period because you forgot to charge them. And finally, get ready to have some run. With that said, let’s continue…
Before you even actually start your adventure in Wanderer, you are given some safety information to let you know if you are sitting to make sure your play area around you is clear and the same if you are playing standing. So this is good right off the start that you have the option of how you want to play as the developers want to make sure your experience through time is as comfortable as possible. But it’s when you start that in an office that provides you with the tutorial of moving around and interacting with objects that gets you prepared that really makes you wonder where you are. I say this because it’s when you start moving around towards the door and hearing a voice that makes you start to question not only where you are, but when you are.
Then just like that, you are in this apocalyptic world of Boston where water levels have risen, apartments that once were lived in are now vacant, and you get a sense that you may be the only one left. But soon that changes when you start to hear a voice on the radio from Amelia that brings to back to reality even if it may seem this reality is not the one you might be used to. But even with the Apocalyptic atmosphere, I still found everything that surrounded me, pulling me in. The abandoned buildings, the trees, the hearing of the birds, this eerie silence, and yet, the developers still found a way to throw in references that if you don’t look around, you just might miss them.
Of course, once know what you have to do once you are on Amelia’s boat and hear that tape that your Grandfather left you is you need to get to his apartment, and traveling there is part of the fun. But once inside his apartment that you start to realize that things may not be what they seem and part of that is when you are introduced to Samuel, the watch. Now, I know that may sound strange with a talking watch and all, but believe it or not, Samuel helps out more than you might think. Not only can Samuel give some clues about what you need to do, but also when in time you must be to help gather the next clues.
See in each area of time, there is a fragment that can be used to allow you to go into time. For example, in your Grandfather’s apartment, you will need to find Samuel’s counterpart that you find (after solving a puzzle or two), and then you need to find the first fragment that looks like a feather, that allows you to go to the Moon or an Astec mask that allows you to go to Tribal, Yucatan for example. To use a different fragment, you simply hold it to the bottom of Samuel’s watch strap and it has this magnetic field that you are then magically transported and allowing you to travel through time. Pull it out and you are back at your Grandfather’s apartment. Samuel can only hold a few items at first, but when you go through different areas of time, be on the lookout for blue objects that can be picked up and added to Samue’s face and when you have enough, you will be able to start increasing the Storage or Time Analysis (where you need to find certain objects in each time period to bring back to allow you to unlock) once you have solved a certain puzzle back in your Grandfather’s apartment to allow you to enter a locked room.
And I will say with the puzzles, they are not just thrown in to be thrown in. They actually become more understandable as to why they are there and even when the more challenging ones that may seem impossible at the time, makes you appreciate them and got me excited for the next one to see how it would fit in with each time period.
But with each area that you visit, new items can be brought back with you. The only problem is if you lay something down and forget it in one time only go to another time and need that item. Then it can be some time-hopping. Good thing is, when you leave one time and need to go back, you are in the exact location from when you left it. I will suggest that in your Grandfather’s apartment, is to lay out each of the different fragments on the kitchen counter, that way, it’s all there when you come back and you don’t mistakenly leave it somewhere in time.
But that is what is so great about finding the different fragments and seeing where it will take you and who you will become. Each time that you visit, you still are Asher, but who you interact with is going to see you as someone from that time. For example, when you visit Tesla, on stage out the outdoor concert, or any other time, take look at your hands every now and then and see how it changes. It’s this type of detail that made me appreciate my time with Wanderer that much more special and I didn’t want it to end.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. When looking at the graphics, I am still surprised that even at this stage of PlayStation VR, how great the graphics can be. From the amount of detail from the scales of the snake status in Yukatan to seeing the crowds of people waiting for the show to go on to even the snow falling with the Wardenclyfee Tower in the background, everything is very clear. Being able to pick up a VCR tape and read the label even from a distance to the draw distance of the trees in Germany really is impressive. With the sound, each area of time has its own distinctive sounds and music. Even hearing the characters that you interact with sounds like they should from that time period and it really shows again, the amount of detail, both big and small that has gone into the development and making of this experience.
There are a few things that I hope get addressed. There were some parts where I would try and pick up certain objects only to have them drop and I couldn’t find the item. For me, I just had to restart the game and it seemed to fix the issue, but then I noticed that items I came across were now nice and neat on the bookcase in the apartment when I had laid them on the kitchen counter. Second, sometimes Samuel’s hints would not exactly be where I was in the game. I only experienced this two or three times, so it really wasn’t that much of an issue. And finally, just more time periods to visit with even more historical figures to interact with. There are plans to make Wanderer a 3 part series and I cannot wait to see when and where we go next.
If Virtual Reality is all about escaping into anyone or anything we can be during any time, then Wanderer takes what we know and love about VR and sets the bar of how time travel should be experienced. It allows us to travel without any real loading screens at any time we want. The possibility of time travel is a very interesting topic, but if we had the chance to do it, I think we would. And just as we would take that chance on something that we may never see in our lifetime, we should take that same chance on our dreams, because we may never know what may be possible, unless we try.
Wanderer is out now for the Oculus Rift/S on the Oculus Store, PlayStation VR, Steam VR, and the physical edition on the Perp Games Store. A Review code was provided.
To learn more about Wanderer, please visit the site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram, join the Discord, and subscribe to the YouTube channel.
To learn more about Oddboy, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel. To learn more about M-Theory, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter. To learn more about Perp Games, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram, join their Discord, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Also, check out the Wanderer interview.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I need to go back in time.