When I first read the phrase “non-combat MMO”, my mind went racing in a thousand different directions. I contemplated the innovation and individuality that could exist in such a unique concept. What would I do? Where could I go? What could I accomplish. Well, after playing Wander, I'll never have the same perspective on “non-combat MMOs” ever again.
Where do I even begin? From the start, the player is thrust into a dark forest in the form of a treant. An impossibly slow and clunky treant. There aren't any directions or tips. You're just some random tree-person in a forest so dark that you can't see anything aside from the basic outline of shapes in front of you. A path, a goal, a basic setting? No, I'm afraid not. Honestly, I'm amazed I made it through the first five minutes of Wander without having a nervous breakdown.
From a distance, the visuals in Wander look interesting. The colors are vibrant and some of the foliage looks exotic and engaging. Then you get within ten feet, and you realize the plants are hovering two feet above the ground and you're having trouble reaching the next platform because your character keeps falling through solid rock.
In Wander, you're greeted by stone obelisks that have symbols your character learns (which coincidentally serve no purpose) and encounter carvings that tell bits of useless story with shoddy, choppy voice acting. After racking my brain as if I were writing a calculus book, I finally found a transformation stone that turned me into a human form. There are four forms in all: the basic useless human, the useless tree, the useless water form, and of course the completely and utterly useless flight form. I have no idea what these forms are for, because there is literally nothing to do. Nothing. Well, you can wander, which makes sense. But there are no missions, no waypoints, no objectives, and no other characters in the time I played. In fact, I couldn't tell how Wander is an MMO at all. I saw no players, no online community, and experienced no communication of any kind. I was actually in awe at the massive spectrum of nothingness I was being offered.
The graphics are miserable, the sound is poor, and there is literally only a single choice in the options that only lets you invert your controls, which even reverses itself on occasion. Wander literally has a menu choice for if your character is stuck and you can't move. That button ACTUALLY exists in this game. Needless to say, I had to use it several times. I don't even know what else to add. Sweet Lord. Wander is not good, to put it simply. I don't mean to sound vindictive or to spit on indie gaming, but the fact that this game exists on the market and can be purchased by unsuspecting gamers is actually slightly terrifying. It deserves a Poop Man on the Game Awry Review Scale. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to lie down.