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Wanderlust Adventures

Wanderlust Adventures is a procedurally generated online co-op action RPG with four classes. Players work together to defeat the lich and save the lands.

Publisher: Chucklefish
Playerbase: Low
Type: Action RPG
Release Date: August 10th, 2015
Pros: +World is everchanging. +Classes each feel different. +Almost every monster in-game available as a companion.
Cons: -Combat is tedious. -Crusader could be considered overpowered. -Blocking is too easy. -Leveling companions is expensive and tedious. -World is uninteresting. -Some lag issues.

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Overview

Wanderlust Adventures Overview

Wanderlust Adventures is a co-op action RPG by Yeti Trunk. The game is best described as an online multiplayer halfway point between Gauntlet and Diablo. It takes place in a procedurally generated world that changes various elements each playsession. Random events, such as ambushes and player-activated shrines can block your path and offer great rewards. Players must band together to visit multiple outposts and kill thousands of enemies on their way to stop a lich that is terrorizing the world. Along the way, they will uncover sinister plots that have come about as a result of the lich. They will be aided by friends and one of dozens of companions that can be unlocked. Difficulty scales as more players join the fight to free the land.

Wanderlust Adventures Key Features:

  • Procedurally generated world - the layout of each zone changes when you load the game and the world map changes every time you defeat the lich.
  • Random events - stumble across a shrine and activate it for rewards or fall victim to ambushes.
  • Companions - for a cost, you can make almost any monster in-game a companion.
  • Challenging opponents - face reknowned monsters for the ultimate in-game challenge.
  • Scaling difficulty - difficulty scales based on how many players are playing the game.

Wanderlust Adventures Screenshots

Wanderlust Adventures Featured Video

Full Review

Wanderlust Adventures Review

By, Matt Chelen

Yeti Trunk’s Wanderlust Adventures is a procedurally generated co-op action RPG in the style of games like Diablo. A sequel to their 2012 game, Wanderlust: Rebirth, the game looks to expand on its predecessor’s gameplay with a larger world and more varied content.

The World

One of Wanderlust Adventures’ biggest faults is that the world simply isn’t that interesting. Setting an open world game, in which you must explore countless amounts of land, in a generic setting with very little context causes the experience to falter right out of the gates. The story consists of your character—and the characters of any friends who join your session—being an Adventurer’s Guild recruit who, for some inexplicable reason, must travel from outpost to outpost helping to restore order after a lich wreaks havoc on the world, only to work your way towards defeating him in the end. Beyond that, you don’t really get much story. Each individual story quest gets some sort of tidbit about why exactly you are collecting what are essentially giant mosquitoes, or why you have to go check on the caravan that is less than half a day’s walk away, but the amount of text that actually figures back into the core storyline is miniscule and often leaves you wondering what good you’re doing.

The world itself is split into “tiles.” Much like the first Zelda game, you start within a tile and move to the next one by reaching the edge of it and watching the camera scroll over before gaining control over your character in the next tile. On a 1920x1080 screen, the segmentation felt awkward. Each tile was larger than the screen but not by enough that it felt necessary, with the screen showing more than a fourth of the tile you’re in, regardless of where you are standing. I imagine their size was optimized for a smaller screen resolution.

The locales don’t really help either, providing only the most basic of desert, haunted woods, and jungle settings to spend the majority of your time in. Until you reach the jungle even the layout of each individual area is fairly uninteresting. It’s almost as if it were a standard that all four sides of a tile will have exits accessible from each of the other four sides. The jungle zone attempts to fix this by blocking off entire portions of some tiles from others with thick brush, but the tiles that use this are few and far between. In most jungle tiles the brush makes it harder to get around rather than blocking anything.

Perhaps the reason for this is the procedurally generated world. Of course, keeping the story light, the world split into tiles, and the settings means that any number of world configurations remain logical within the bounds of the game world. The problem is that the core design is set up in such a bizarre manner. When you start a game, you create a “session” in which the game generates an overworld map and places all of the story elements leading up to the player fighting the lich at the end. You are stuck with this map, no matter how many characters you create, until you defeat the lich. Dungeons are randomized every time you enter them but these are but a small part of the world.

The overworld isn’t just a static map, though. Every time you load up a session, each tile, barring the important locales, will have a different layout. If you walked through a desert area with a small plateau last time in a tile, it could be entirely flat this time. It’s a bit hard to get used to at first. The first few times you play the game you will probably wonder if you’re just imagining that it’s different. It’s likely that this was designed to keep the world feeling “new” despite the lack of a new layout, but it failed in that regard for me simply because important locations don’t move. I am always going to the same tiles and branching out from there. The travel time is the same, the destination is the same, and the road simply isn’t different enough.

Characters

Characters in Wanderlust Adventures are one of four classes: Warrior, Assassin, Crusader, and Sorcerer. These are essentially the stereotypical MMORPG lineup of tank, melee DPS, healer, and ranged DPS respectively. The same sort of holy trinity concepts apply here despite the game being a co-op action RPG.

These characters lack almost all forms of customization. Beyond choosing from a single male or female model, labeled 1 or 2, the numbers of which change from class to class, you’re given the option of changing the color of your character’s clothing. Nothing in-game changes your appearance later and you are stuck with it, regardless of whether you like the character you have created or not.

Combat

Combat is a crucial component of action RPGs, usually taking up the largest amount of time spent in-game. Wanderlust Adventures is no different, as you will find yourself constantly fighting enemies, sometimes even in places you just visited. This wouldn’t be too much of an issue but I often found combat to be tedious.

Combat in Wanderlust Adventures consists of a few core elements. You have three ability buttons for when you aren’t blocking and three for when you are. These abilities are set from your skill tree, and consist of a small number of abilities that your class can use, the pool of which only grows slightly as your character advances. As you might have guessed your character can block.

While this is simple enough, there are a number problems with the combat system. One of the most glaring flaws, I experienced was as a Crusader. Save for the Sorcerer, which must have the option set—should you want it—players are forced to aim their attacks in the direction they are facing. While this might be fine for the Warrior and Assassin, who are entirely melee-capable, the Crusader is a healer with a number of ranged attacks and this system made aiming them incredibly awkward. There is also the fact that you're “resting” orientation can only be up, down, left, or right. You cannot stop on a diagonal, meaning you must be moving in order to use a ranged ability diagonally. As the Crusader this lead to a large number of missed healing opportunities and, ultimately, more deaths than there should have been.

Conversely, I found blocking to be overly comfortable. Whereas most games have directional specific block, in Wanderlust Adventures blocking is far less involved. Instead, holding the block button will block any attacks that hit you from any direction and will mitigate all damage taken. The team behind the game clearly attempted to counter the ease of use of this system by putting a limit on the amount of attacks you can block in a short period of time and setting it so that they regenerate one by one over time, but there’s a bigger problem. As the amount of blocks you have is determined by your gear, and enemies attack fairly slowly but tend to pack more of a punch, if you have any sort of dodging skills at all you will have more than enough blocks to counter most enemies. If you find yourself getting swarmed frequently, have a friend jump in as a Crusader and use the knockback ability when needed.

Once you have a Crusader that has the passive healing aura ability, all of this adds up to combat that isn’t really difficult but tedious. Encounters often come down to defeating swarms of monsters or damage sponges in the form of “renowned” monsters. Those that aren’t simple enough to defeat head on end up as a 5 to ten minute battle where the player either repeatedly kites the renowned monster or runs up, smacks them, blocks, and runs away while their blocks recharge. Failing to do so correctly even once or twice could lead to death but it never feels all that risky. It simply feels tedious.

The boss experiences attempt to fix this but they fail to bring on a sense of danger or urgency. All of their attack patterns are incredibly simple and the majority of the game’s bosses rely far too much on support from lesser mobs. I also found that openings in their attacks were a bit too wide and led to simple patterns of movement that were easily repeated as the boss fight went on.

Skill...Blobs

It would be fairly hard to call Wanderlust Adventures’ skill progression a skill tree because it lacks most of the defining features. Instead, it simplifies progression into a few tiers that are unlocked at various skill point spending milestones, and lets you distribute your points freely among any skills in any of your unlocked tiers. There’s never a point where you’re concerned about spending points on the HP upgrade instead of the SP upgrade because, so long as you can manage with your build until you level again, you can put points into both.

Of course, this isn’t an issue because you can only put three points into each skill anyways. Regardless of whether you choose to unlock a larger amount of skills with less points or the inverse, your available skills never change. You also do not have to spend a specific amount of points on one skill to unlock another, as the next skill up is always unlocked with the next tier. This ultimately led to progression feeling flat and without a real sense of specialization.

Companions

I would be remiss to call the companions of Wanderlust Adventures “pets” because the category encapsulates humans as well. Upon killing an enemy of a specific type there’s a random chance they will drop a contract. If you turn in the contract, and pay what seems like an obscene amount of money, you can use that monster as a companion; give it a name and have it fight by your side in combat.

The problem with the system is that regardless of how much each contract ends up costing you they all scale in exactly the same manner. Every single companion has 5 * level attack and has a 2000 * level + 1 experience requirement to get to the next level. The only way in which they differ is abilities. For example, the starter companion—the dog—only has a basic melee attack, as many companions do. Obtaining and paying for the Bandit Ice Tosser will get you a ranged companion, no matter how slow his attacks may be, with a chance to freeze the target upon being hit. Each companion will still do marginally the same damage, and it will be up to you to decide whether the slower attack speed is worth dealing with for the extra effect that they may have.

I am not happy with the manner in which companions level. Rather than watch them grow slowly as they fight by your side and gain experience from kills, you have to gift your companions an egregious amount of crafting materials to slowly level them, generally 500 or 2000 experience at a time. By the time they hit level 8 or so, you are forced to gift them upwards of ten items per level. It’s a costly process and the system feels like it would have been better suited to a traditional experience-gaining process, as the player has.

The Soul Charge Conundrum

Soul Charges are slowly built up over time as players collect the energy needed to get a full Soul Charge through killing enemies. You can have a maximum of three Soul Charges at any one time and it takes quite a bit of killing to get a full one. These Soul Charges have two primary uses: activating various altars and resurrecting the team on the spot.

The issue is that three Soul Charges may be too many. Even if you don’t save them—ignoring altars along the way—and don’t die during a dungeon, you can easily defeat the boss even if you are killed multiple times. I found that my party would wipe two times during a boss fight but almost never three. I had mixed feelings about this because, sure, I earned the Soul Charges by not dying before but I also died twice during that boss fight and I wasn’t penalized at all.

Final Verdict - Fair

Wanderlust Adventures is a solid experience with a nice art style and a focus on cooperative gameplay. There are a number of design choices I wasn’t happy with in regards to the combat system, but the combat alone doesn’t ruin the game. Instead, it is paired with a bland world, an awkward form of procedural generation, and progression that doesn’t feel particularly satisfying to level your character or your companion(s). It’s a decent romp through a procedurally generated world using systems that feel like a midway point between Gauntlet and Diablo, but it doesn’t feel substantial enough to hold your attention beyond the first playthrough, which will last somewhere around ten hours.

Screenshots

Wanderlust Adventures Screenshots

Videos

Wanderlust Adventures Videos

System Requirements

Wanderlust Adventures System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8
CPU: 2.0 Ghz
Video Card: 128MB VRAM
RAM: 2 GB
Hard Disk Space: 300 MB

Additional Info

Wanderlust Adventures Additional Information

Developer(s): Yeti Trunk
Publisher(s): Chucklefish

Lead Designer(s): Matthew Griffin, Jason Gordy
Concept Art: Lauren Feehery
Composer: Chris Christodoulou

Release Date: August 10, 2015
Steam Release Date: August 10, 2015

Development History / Background:

After the relative success of their 2012 game Wanderlust: Rebirth, Yeti Trunk announced a sequel, Wanderlust Adventures, in June 2014. This sequel set out to expand upon Rebirth’s formula and fix some of the issues with the single-player experience. It released on August 10th, 2015 to positive reception and currently holds a 70% positive rating on Steam.