Wanderer is a VR time traveling adventure game that starts in the future where you, in the role of Asher Neumann, are on a way to discover his grandfather's apartment which holds many mysteries. There you discover a watch that can speak and which will accompany you throughout the whole game. Thanks to the completed watch you will be able to traverse time at will. You will travel into the past to different locations where you will be able to change the history and hopefully make the future more bright.
Gameplay-wise the game is more of a point-and-click adventure in the sense that there is only one solution (item) that needs to be used - something that seems like a logical solution, may not be an actual solution. The time traveling aspect of the game is pretty good in this game. You will be slowly uncovering stories from different times. In order to proceed you will need different items that you can find either at the grandfather's room you reach at the beginning of the game or other timelines. If you explore each area you will have a good idea what items will be needed (the only items you can grab) - each will be used at some point. Unfortunately, that is pretty much it for the puzzle game part, the whole game is mostly about this.
Wanderer offers different environments at different times as well which makes the experience more enjoyable, from Nikola Tesla's lab to ancient civilization pyramid in the middle of a jungle. The game looks good in general but rather bare. The 3d models are not of a great quality, colliders are usually pretty bad and animations are hardly smooth which is something that often broke the whatever little immersion I had. The overall look and feel of the game is very good so if you don't mind flat looking textures and some artifacts (flickering) showing through objects you may enjoy the varied environments.
Sound effects in this game are rather immersion breaking, either there are none, they are weird or they come from where they shouldn't. Audio doesn't come from where it originates but rather is based on where you look at. The levels of different sounds, including speech, is not mixed well, so some sounds can get lost and some are simply too loud. Voices can overlap, and hearing what someone has to say is important and there is no going back (you can reload, or ask the watch for a hint). All this breaks the immersion even though voice acting and script is good.
Apart from these, you can also run into invisible walls that are often totally unnecessary reminding you painfully that you are in a game that tries to show you what needs to be done and where you should not wander. Why is the game named Wanderer?
Bugs, bugs and even more bugs
I've played games that were buggy at launch like Cyberpunk 2077 or Witcher but this game has been out over a year and is very buggy. When I started the game I already failed at a croc scene which I had to restart several times in order to be able to proceed. Few minutes later I got stuck right at the beginning of the grandfather's room as I couldn't get through the closed doors. I had to restart the whole game to get through them. When I was happy I managed to get past the issue I realized that some items I threw around the flat are no longer around. This followed throughout the game. I dropped a torch that fell off the bridge and didn't respawn even though it respawned several times when I simply dropped it on the bridge and could physically pick it up. Apart this I also got stuck in other items and had to reload. The colliders were also sometimes problematic when trying to just keep an item at one place. After time traveling sometimes things were not were I left them and it took me a while to figure out where they could possibly be (or remember where I first encounter them, as that is their respawn point). Having a persistent world including items is nice, but it would be great if it actually worked. I got hit by a tank 10 times because my RC car simply vanished.
Thanks to the time traveling system and that traveling puts you always back from where you jumped originally, backtracking is fast unlike in many other games. This is something I welcomed (and probably the reason I finished the game).
Controls and knuckles
If your immersion wasn't broken by visuals, sound, or bugs there is still one more thing to painfully remind you, you are playing a game - controls. The controls are very clunky and that only wanted me to stop playing. The primary action is grabbing items and using them. Each item grabbed has a forced position and you can grab anything from a distance. This may not sound like a problem but the way things are you will often grab the wrong object or immediately drop the grabbed object if the forced position does not really fit your hand position. I used knuckles when playing this game and the position and rotation of the VR hands and my hands did not match. This made any kind of interaction harder. Rotating knobs and pressing buttons was even more clunky. While this is not needed that often, it is often timed (you are being shot at and such).
The watch - Samuel - apart from being your companion also allows you to store items. The inventory starts with one slot that you can make bigger (up to 5 slots). You can unlock those by collecting special crystals and solving a puzzle. The inventory idea is very good one as the game is about using many different items. The truth is that I rather did not use it at all, as the overlay it brings up still allows you to touch or grab items from the environment around you. It was difficult to hit the smaller than thumb eject button or even just grab the small object from the inventory (never managed to take out a mag and put it into my weapon). I resorted to just grabbing two items and jumping as that was less nerve wrecking than trying to force the inventory to work properly.
Otherwise, Samuel is very well written and voice acted. Samuel gives you some facts from the time/world he remembers (our own) and gives you hints when you encounter something new. Sam can also be ejected from your wristband which will make him give you a more specific hint for the task at hand - it will give the hint no matter if you are in the right place or time which may be a bit awkward at times. Thanks to Sam no one should struggle with finishing the game.
This game has a feel of a very early access version of a game. It is very buggy. The developers came with mysterious story, that will take you to parts of the history that some may consider perturbing. It is advertised as a puzzle game but feels more like point-and-click adventure game rather than a game where you have to actually solve something. There are puzzles in the game but you will most likely remember more all the hassle that comes to using items which the game is mostly about. Overall the game looks great and due to time traveling it offers different environments, that unfortunately you cannot really explore much due to invisible walls. Your watch companion gives you hints with his comments about everything that is important sooner or later in the game and can also be ejected to give you a hint about what you have to do.
Unless you have nerves of steel I do not recommend this game in its current state.