By Nathan Grayson on April 9th, 2013 at 10:00 am.
As a living, breathing contradiction, my greatest passions in life are combat and pacifism. Seriously, though, stripping away combat has yielded some of recent times’ most interesting games, and Wander‘s brand of collaboration-centric exploration could raise a leafy mutant branch hand in acceptance of that torch. On paper, it sounds serene on an almost primal level, reveling in “exploration and joy.” The main goal, then, is to “explore planets, discovering their history and beauty.” Conceptually, the whole thing almost strikes me as a greener, more freeform Journey. And so far, the first planet looks like it escaped from the explosions and dumbness factory in James Cameron’s brain with natural beauty full intact, so that’s promising. I want to explore! For now, though, both you and I will have to settle for pooling our vast cognitive and spiritual resources to adventure through a couple videos after the break.
That’s right, lumbering tree man. See the world. See it just like you always dreamed.
Obviously, though, you can take on multiple forms as you progress down the questionably natural path from tree to griffin to monster eel. Your ultimate goal, meanwhile, is hazy, but that’s kind of the point. Wander’s goal is to inspire a sense of mystery and wonder, so a few question marks won’t hurt anybody.
“As you explore, you begin to discover others in the sprawling rainforest. Working together, you unlock new experiences, piece together the plot and enjoy the wondrous variety that Wander has to offer. Wander encourages many play styles: You can complete quests, solve puzzles, or complete flying, swimming and climbing challenges; all the while keeping an eye out for a incoming storm.”
“We think that post apocalyptic shooters and 2D puzzle games are great, but a game in which people can collaboratively explore and appreciate beauty together is a significant game, and one that is missing from the current gaming landscape.”
Sounds delightful, right? Admittedly, the various non-quest challenges appear to involve literally jumping through hoops, which strikes me as a) not super interesting and b) jarring artificial in an otherwise natural environment. But then, Wander is still very much in alpha at this point, and while you can request access right now, a more public, feature-rich version (presumably beta) won’t launch until PAX Australia in July.
For now, however, Wander’s on both Steam Greenlight and Indiegogo, if you’re feeling generous. Otherwise, uh, keep an eye on it, I guess? I never really understood why people end articles like this with that phrase, to be honest. I mean, it’s my job to keep you updated, so what exactly am I asking you to do there? Is the game going to escape if not properly observed? Hm. I feel like now would be a good time to mention that my third great passion in life is breaking down dumb colloquialisms that I hypocritically employ pretty frequently.