The Vita is home to a large number of role playing games, with each one doing something different. You can either have a more traditional role playing game experience with a title like Persona 4 Golden or something more action focused like Ar No Surge Plus.
Wanderjahr is a title that is quite unique to the Vita’s library of role playing titles with it blending touch screen mechanics and using micromanagement to ensure your team victory. It offers a lot of fun with the concept but can these simple mechanics carry the entire game? Or does the game get stale over time?
The plot is bare-bones for a role playing game; the world was in chaos in the past but thanks to an evolution with technology, the world is at peace with a special hero system in place where you can summon heroes to defend the world.
Your character is tasked with leading a large team of heroes across a number of locations in the world to fend off wave after wave of creatures trying to harm citizens. That sounds simple and it is but the charming writing helps make this simple set-up have some personality, which adds to the whole experience.
Outside of some simple charm though the story is not very strong despite the charming writing giving the game some personality at various points during your adventure.
Design & Lasting Appeal
The game is set up with a simple interface; you can move around with the analog stick or tap objects with the touch screen to interact with icons for the shop (to get items), set up your team and level them up with stars you collect in battles and select which mission you want to tackle next.
You have a set number of missions to complete across the games large number of worlds, making the game have plenty of content to experience. In addition you have access to a large number of party members you can use in battle, ensuring that battles can be tackled in different ways.
Each level has a ranking system where you get special stars for how well you completed a level (no deaths, high score count, fast level completion, ect) and this encourage’s replay’s of the games many levels. You also have access to some bonus features like story logs and creature biographies, ensuring you can learn a bit more about the games world.
Overall the game offers a lot to players that want to invest time into the game, meaning that if you enjoy the gameplay a lot, you will have a lot of content to play through.
This is very simple in this department, with all you are doing as the player, is dragging/dropping party members and items that they can use. Wanderjahr is touch-screen focused RPG where you place units on the battlefield and the AI controls what actions they do when enemy’s come on the screen.
The main strategy is which units you place on the map and later in the game, things can get very hectic with you switching party members often to avoid death and tackle new foes coming on the screen. Even early in the game it is a bit clustered but the simple controls (either using the Analog Stick and X Button or just the touch screen) is responsive enough to ensure placing units/items on the map is a non-issue.
Sadly, this gameplay is too simple as outside of the game throwing more creatures on the screen to fight and replaying levels to level up your party members, there really isn’t much to the core gameplay. Unlike in a traditional role playing game where you have to carefully select skills & actions for each turn or a turn based strategy game where specific placement of units on the map can make or break a battle, this game is too simple.
When you place party members on a battle map, they move on there own with no control from the player. This includes the actions they make as well. Again, this simple gameplay style is fun in short bursts and with the high amount of content in the game, you will have a lot to enjoy. But playing this for long stretches of time gets repetitive and that can drag long play sessions down.
Wanderjahr is a title that looks nice on the Vita, with menus and character sprites having a lot of expressive designs. The music is also quite enjoyable and it matches with the games colorful visuals. But once you enter battle, the party members and enemies you fight look stiff and choppy when moving around.
This is odd considering the game runs at a solid frame rate and at native resolution on the PS Vita, but you get used to this as you continue playing the game. Even when action gets hectic, the game never stutters and even though the animations are choppy, the chibi character designs when in battle are charming.
While the overall presentation could have been a bit more polished, it still is a nice looking and colorful title for the PS Vita.
Story – 3 out of 5 / Design & Lasting Appeal – 4 out of 5 / Gameplay – 3.5 out of 5 / Presentation – 3.5 out of 5
Wanderjahr is a game that offers a fun simple experience that can be very enjoyable in short bursts. But playing this for long periods of time shows reveals the games biggest issue; it is too simple. That is not a bad thing, as with the games high amount of content and colorful presentation, you will be playing this often if the gameplay appeals to you. But overall, it is not the best role playing game for the PS Vita despite being enjoyable in short bursts.
Overall: 3.5 out of 5
This title was reviewed on the PS Vita platform with a review copy provided by the developers. It is currently out now on the NA and EU PSN Storefronts.