Wanderer is a VR adventure game that puts you in the shoes of a hapless time traveler who finds himself trapped in an alternate history—one that starts (and possibly ends) in worldwide disaster. Wanderer excels with its smorgasbord of interesting puzzles that do very little hand-holding. Its fun and well-designed set pieces play as an immersive backdrop to an engrossing story, all of which hopefully distract you from its particularly clunky level of object interaction.

Wanderer Details:

Available On: Steam, RiftPSVR
Release Date: January 27th, 2022
Price: $40
Developer: M-Theory, Oddboy
Reviewed On: Quest 2 (Link via Steam)


Theorizing that one could time travel in his own lifetime, Asher Neumann stepped into the Phoenix Project accelerator and vanished. He awoke to find himself trapped in time, facing mirror images that were not his own, and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better.

That’s the setup anyway, most of which I lifted from the intro sequence to cult ’90s TV show Quantum Leap, a big inspiration for Wanderer. Another obvious comparison here is Netflix’s hit German sci-fi show Dark (2021), although Wanderer’s story isn’t nearly as convoluted.

On the contrary, Wanderer’s narrative beats are actually pretty low density despite the wide variety of places you can visit. The story is primarily doled out in found items like videos, books, and posters, which give you a wider understanding of what’s going on and give valuable clues on how to solve puzzles. That said, they very rarely smack you over the head with their meaning, and can be easily mistaken as simple bits of decoration. That means you have to look around and invest more meaning in less objects, i.e. you won’t find a diary indicating all of the thoughts and feelings of a character, just a photo with a cryptic one-liner.

Image courtesy Oddboy, M-Theory

Wanderer’s story only really picks up in intensity in the last quarter of the game. Instead, it puts a much heavier focus on serving up a smorgasbord of escape room-style puzzles, many of which have no instruction on how to solve. These range in difficulty level, with the most challenging typically calling on the player’s ability to travel back and forth through the game’s discrete temporal set pieces to gather the right object(s). More on that below.

For example, you may need to grab a sponge and a bottle of spray cleaner from your home base and travel to the pre-Columbian Mayan civilization to wipe off a dusty plaque to see a code. Or you may need to assemble pieces for the Enigma machine, use Morse Code to set off an alarm, and jump through multiple such hoops to get to Woodstock in the ’60s. In short: it’s difficult, and has a ton of moving parts that may tax critical thinking skills.

Image courtesy Oddboy, M-Theory

While some of these left me wishing for an easy win, personally I’d much rather have to waste time retracing steps, turning the game upside down, and coming up with an organizational method for a literal mountain of stuff. It feels more authentic and rewarding, playing stark contrast to games in the genre that lean on tropes like overly helpful robot buddies that essentially tug you by the ear from point A to point B.

Ok, there is a robot buddy. But thankfully your ever-present wristwatch companion Sam is there to help by not only being a clue dispenser when actually needed on demand, but also a useful tool that acts as the game’s inventory. On top of that, his voice is a dead ringer for Matthew McConaughey. (Murph!)

Sam also is the basis for the game’s teleport mechanic, which makes for a novel and fun way of using key items you find throughout the game and using them to travel to new and interesting locales which are always brimming with new items that you might just find a use for in other worlds.

Traveling to other time periods is accomplished by grabbing key items and inserting them into a disk where the clasp of the watch would usually be. Those piece rumble in your hand, so the whole process has a tactile feel that I really appreciate.

In the end, Wanderer basically delivers despite some built-in clunk endemic of this sort of step-by-step gameplay that relies on a large set of interchangeable objects.

You have to not only think practically about every item you’ve encountered and remember where it is in time, but hope it’s the right item that the game intended you to use. Blowing up a bomb where you shouldn’t, or shooting an arrow into the head of Nikola Tesla will result in you being kicked from the timeline to try again. That’s a bit of a downer if you have an obvious alterative solution (ok, not shooting Tesla) and you’re punished for using it.

All of this is punctuated with arcade-style interludes, like a Guitar Band-style rock sequence where you play the drums to the beat. I was left wishing for more of these because they made for a welcome break from doing things like literally fixing and restarting an entire hydro-electric power plant, which includes plenty of grunt work of finding parts, replacing them, and hoping the game doesn’t throw a curve ball your way by, say, leaving a control panel back with a bunch of literal Nazis in another time period.

Image courtesy Oddboy, M-Theory

In the end, it took me around ten hours to complete. I should note that I experienced several bugs which required me to restart to the latest chapter because of how much they broke forward progress. These are functionally small things that will probably be addressed in future updates, however day-one players may experience things like puzzles not activating when they should, which can add to the frustration of retracing your steps in vein before deciding its the game’s fault and not your own.


Immersion is a bit of a mixed bag with Wanderer. On one hand, you’re served up some truly gorgeous, well put-together set pieces. It’s the level of care and visual finesse that, if you squint, you’ll swear you’re somewhere else. The team’s ability to layer their world with a vast array of textures and objects that feel real simply can’t be understated.

Both the game’s script and voice acting are giant highlights too. There’s nothing worse than a character with an obviously fake accent delivering a cheesy line when it comes to maintaining immersion, but the level of voice talent and writing expertise in Wanderer is top-notch. Case in point: you interact with Sam for literal hours, and he over that time he starts to feel more like a buddy than a timepiece only capable of delivering quips and puzzle hints.

Image courtesy Oddboy, M-Theory

And then you have an invisible walls that stop you from walking too far for no apparent reason. Or a host of objects on a table, half of which can actually be picked up.

That would be less of an issue if the game’s level of object interaction felt like it belonged in 2022 instead of ostensibly time-traveling from 2016, a time when all games basically forced objects to automatically snap to your hand in one relative position. Another issue is that force grab makes manipulating things less simple by stopping you most of the time from physically grabbing something that’s right in front of you.

Needless to say, the game’s not-awesome object interaction makes for a constantly frustrating experience when it comes to manipulating Sam. I found myself selecting an item with my outstretched finger, and then with that same finger trying to eject it from Sam’s menu, only to close the menu because the game counterintuitively wants you to palm the tiny one-inch icon.

If Wanderer had the same finesse with object interaction as it does much of the rest of the game, you might even make some comparisons to Half-Life: Alyx in its level of polish and immersion, although it’s most important mechanical feature somehow falls short.


Wanderer has the full range of standard comfort options, including variable walking speeds and snap-turning angles to go along with smooth turning locomotion and teleportation.

There are very few moments when you’re not on level ground, so moving around the world is almost always a comfortable experience. The only issue I had was the game’s seated mode, which didn’t seem to work at time of review.

‘Wanderer’ Comfort Settings – January 27th, 2022


Artificial turning
Adjustable speed
Adjustable increments


Artificial movement
Adjustable speed
Adjustable strength
Swappable movement hand


Standing mode
Seated mode
Artificial crouch
Real crouch


Alternate audio
Languages English
Adjustable difficulty
Two hands required
Real crouch required
Hearing required
Adjustable player height

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.

  • 360

    I appreciate the breakdown of comfort options you include at the end. Also, disappointed to learn it doesn’t have controller directed movement. Besides the fact that every game should include it, it’s even more egregious in a game like this where you’d want to walk around and take in the sights.

    Still gonna get it, but I wonder if it may be worth waiting a week to play it, so they can iron out those little bugs (and hopefully add controller-directed walking).

    • Orogogus

      it’s even more egregious in a game like this where you’d want to walk around and take in the sights.

      I’m inclined to disagree. In my experience the puzzles in VR and non-VR free movement adventure games (usually “walking simulators” on Steam, like Gone Home, The Painscreek Killings, The Suicide of Rachel Foster) tend to be less interesting, and there are less of them. Adventure games with teleportation (e.g., Dead Secret, The Room games, the Rusty Lake games) usually cram a lot more items into the limited number of locations, and can be more subtle about it. The walking simulators often end up feeling like ransack simulators where you’re mostly rolling into rooms and opening drawers, boxes and cabinets to look for extremely obvious keys and notes, because it’s kind of unreasonable to make players search an entire beach or an enormous dining room for a black pearl or the hand from a statue or what have you.

      The two types of games have different strengths — free movement adventures games tend to have stronger atmosphere and immersion — but I feel that insisting that point-and-click style adventures include free movement could hurt them as much as forcing them to include multiplayer or NFTs.

      • Sven Viking

        This game does have free movement, it’s just based on head direction with no option for using the controller direction. I also prefer controller-based movement so I can look around as I move.

        • Orogogus

          Oh, like the Rift before the Touch controllers. Yeah, that’s not so good.

      • 360

        I didn’t mean smooth locomotion. It has that and I’m glad. I could see your point for flat screen games, but I don’t want teleport only movement in any VR game (luckily that’s rare now) because in VR I always want immersion…unless it’s a more abstract puzzle game. Anyway, I meant smooth locomotion with “forward” being based on controller orientation rather than head orientation. I want to move forward and look around. The only time I MAY choose head orientation is in games with a lot of off-hand melee/shielding where it’s not always easy to keep your off-hand oriented forward. Which would not be the case here.

        …I think it’s time I finally try out that decamove app + android phone (hip tracking) solution.

        • VR5

          I was going to respond to your original reply due to the vagueness of the statement “where you’d want to walk around and take in the sights” but then couldn’t be bothered, lol. I see you now explained what you meant by that and in a convincing and exhaustive way too.

          Though you did kind of do the work and defeated another statement from that same sentence: “every game should include it”. As you say, in “games with a lot of off-hand melee/shielding where it’s not always easy to keep your off-hand oriented forward”, allowing to choose controller orientation, while adding to the experience at first, will later require players who have chosen it to go back to the (immersion breaking) menu and revert to the clearly better option for that type of game.

          So it might be better for the dev to make that choice for the player and only allow what fits the design of the game.

          A hip tracker would solve the problem for those kind of games too but the added friction of having to put yet another device on your body isn’t something that a medium that wants to break through to the mainstream really needs or wants.

        • Brianna Young

          I have even got paid $17230 in no more than three weeks through working easy jobs from apple laptop.~t0q34~As I’ve lost my last post, I was so disconcerted but finally I’ve came across this online project now I can figure out how to receive thousand USD just staying at home.~s0w69~Each individual can certainly start this best work and can get extra greenbacks online by exploring this site.

          >>>> https://­t­.­l­y­/tTrG

  • Comedykev

    Your review states no seated playing, this is false, I’ve just played for an hours sitting down and no issues whatsoever.

  • Lucidfeuer

    Time-travel is going to become a trending genre in coming years and I’m all for it.

  • NotMikeD

    It seems like this review attracted comments from the only 4 people on the planet that prefer controller-based movement orientation. Maybe on paper that sounds good, but your movement falls to pieces the moment you start actually doing anything with your hands with that scheme. Trying to reload in a shooter while moving? Good luck. HMD based movement orientation 4-eva!

    Contrary to (un)popular belief, it’s very easy to look around while waking with HMD orientation—just roll your thumb on the stick to the forward position while you look around. Very simple, and you won’t lose your sense of direction when you use the controllers do actually, you know, do motion stuff in the environment!

    • VR5

      The number of people asking for a feature shouldn’t be relevant for it getting implemented or not though, otherwise us few VR gamers won’t get VR modes either. Sometimes a dev will not want to implement a feature because it doesn’t mesh well with the design they’re going for, sometimes they wouldn’t mind including it but it isn’t yet on, or isn’t high on their priority list and they have other things they need to tend to.

    • DickDastardly

      Just as you can change the angle of your joystick to (partially) compensate for the unwanted movement of your avatar which is induced by looking around whilst walking when using head based locomotion, you can similarly compensate for the unwanted avatar movement induced by moving your non-dominant hand when using controller based locomotion.

      The difference is that in almost all games you spend vastly more time looking around whilst moving than waving your off hand about whilst moving (think, for example, of just about any first person shooter where the majority of your time is spent scanning the environment for enemies whereas typically less than 1% of your time is spent reloading), and in games like Wanderer (where you’re generally stationary when doing anything at all with your non-dominant hand but constantly looking around when moving to spot clues or objects you need) it makes even more sense to favour controller based movement.

      Having said all that, I’m obviously not saying devs should remove the option for head based movement when adding controller based movement, just that it would be nice if they included both from the start (particularly when the one they omitted has such a significant advantage).

  • benz145

    Thanks for reading our review! Please note the following before commenting so that we can have a thoughtful discussion:

    • We scored this game 7.9/10 – ‘Good’ by our linear scale.

    • Even if the text of the review focuses more on critique than praise, or vice versa, the score aims to boil down the reviewer’s overall opinion of the experience.

    • If you haven’t played the game, understand the limits of your knowledge.

    • If you have played part of the game, your experience may differ from those who have completed it in its entirety.

    • Road to VR does not ever accept payment for reviews or any editorial content.

  • Ragbone

    Deleted due to bugs and errors. An item dissappeared that was required to progress in the story.