Wands was one of the early games that came out on Daydream VR and I finally get to review it here! Wands is a fast-paced online multiplayer game that beams you into large arenas where you battle it out in one-on-one duels using your magic wand.
The first thing you do in Wands is to customize your magic weapon. You get to choose from a variety of different spells but you are only able to equip a certain number of them. Moreover you cannot choose from all of the spells at the beginning but you have to unlock them by winning duels and gaining experience.
Once you have equipped your initial wand you can go down to the basement and test your wand against static and moving dummies that gladly take any beating in order to help you become a better wielder.
Using your wand is straight forward. Your motion controller becomes your magic wand and it follows any of your movements. It’s a great set up and if the motion controller was not part of Daydream it would have to be invented for this game. A click on the app button opens your arsenal of spells that you have equipped to your wand. Activate your spell of choice by a click and you are back in action. Changing weapons is fast and intuitive. And it has to be because battles are fast-paced and can become very hectic.
Once you feel ready for battle you can either join or host a casual match or directly go into the competitive arena that lets you win points that you can exchange for new spells. While in the first few weeks after release it was hard to find opponents and the developers would even volunteer to meet you online for a match, the battle arenas are now well filled and I had no problem whatsoever to find wielders to play against.
You and your opponent are set free in one of several arenas and only the fittest will survive this match of magic spells. You move around the arena with a special teleportation spell that allows you to move to certain waypoints around the maps. The duels itself are big fun and you will have to come up with your own strategy in order to win. Some wielders move as much as possible and make hard targets, but they will lack on the offensive. While others don’t move at all and keep shooting at you with all they have. It will take you a while to find your favourite spells and the right strategy to win.
At times, matches feel unfair when you have to play against an opponent that already has all spells unlocked while you are still on your initial wand. I believe the developers are still waiting for more players before they can introduce a better matchmaking algorithm that will pit you against similar skilled opponents. But while you receive a beating, at least you could already learn about some more advanced techniques and spells to unlock.
It is noteworthy that there is no single player campaign to be found in Wands. It is a multiplayer only affair and apart from battling others in one-on-one matches in order to unlock more spells, you won’t find any other game modes in Wands, which does hurt the long-time replayability of the title.
The game looks great. Wands is one of the most polished titles that you can find on Daydream VR. The developers did a great job of creating this mystical atmosphere of an alternate 1880’s London that is full of magic and where wielders meet in order to compete in deadly duels. The maps are well thought through and offer enough variety to keep duels exciting. Same goes for the different spells that are all very well animated. You will see meteors speeding towards your enemies as well as fire birds and energy balls flying around. It all looks good and it is fun to be in this world.
Wands is great in VR. Wielding your wand and chasing your opponent on the battle field comes with a great sense of immersion. First person games are simply good in VR, especially if the overall presentation feels as polished as it does in Wands.
And since you are mostly stational during your battles and only move around teleporting yourself, you should have no problems comfort-wise as well.
Wands is a polished first person action spectacle that should not be missed by anyone who enjoys online multiplayer battles. Its gameplay mechanics work fine and it is always fun to jump into a match for some fast-pace wand wielding. If the game had a bit more to offer in terms of variety and long-term motivation I could see this get even a higher score. But as it is, it is still a great game that I can easily recommend.