As someone who never really took Wands due to the 1v1 approach the game took, I was pleased to hear Wands Alliances was coming with a 3v3 model. I’ve now been getting my inner Harry Potter on and taking to the magic duels in the Meta Quest 2 version of the game – but did it feel magical?
As aforementioned the gameplay is based around 3v3, with the main focus being on the online PvP model, however, if you are unable to fill a lobby it will be filled with bots to make up the numbers.
First up the game will ask you to complete a tutorial that will introduce to the basics like using spells, the movement system and the overall objective of the game mode. The game mode sees you taking the role of attackers and defenders for four-rounds each, swapping roles after 4 rounds are completed.
As an attacker your role is to take the Omega Device to two possible planting sites which are marked on the map with A and B. Planting the Omega Device will start a count down, once this is completed it will explode and you will win the round. However, you need to plant it within the round time.
As the defender you need to stop the opposing team planting the Omega Device before the round time is over. If the Omega Device is activated by the attackers, you will have to defuse the device to win, eliminating them all when its planted will not make you automatically win the round.
Eliminating the entire defending team will also win you the round as the attacker, but the round time might not be on your side if you decided to go on the offensive rather than aiming to complete the objective.
The fun and tactics really come into play when you take into account the three different classes – which are damage dealer, healer and support. Each of these classes will come with basic spells across the three of them, but then they all get their own set of spells as well, and mixing and matching becomes a very important part of the game and team element of the 3v3 duels. These spells can be useful like placing a blocker as support to cover a vantage point, keeping you team alive as a healer and getting maximum impact as the damage dealer. A good team and good mix can swing a losing game in your favour.
The game does come with a progression system, with your level unlocking new spells and different characters in each of the three-classes. This then brings in your Battle Kit, which a case you can allocate a selection of spells to, which you can switch out onto your wands between each round, unlike you character class which can only be done every four-rounds when your team role switches. With you only being able to assign two spells to each wand at one time, its best to have a mix of good defending and attacking spells in your Battle Kit for when the role does switch.
Moving around the map is done using lanterns, each of the three available levels have these placed around the map, and you will use the grab button to connect to them and be teleported. Again using the positions of the lanterns could be important to you defence and attack. These lanterns also recharge the spells on your wands, so if you decided to lean out or crouch behind cover, your spells will recharge slower. Meaning timing your moves and spell-casting needs to be considered and timed best you can.
The three-maps are based around and alternate version of Victorian London, and have all been designed well to give this feeling and not only feel but look different. I am a big fan of the visual style of while being cartoon in design, keeping some feeling of realistic settings. I can’t really fault how the games looks on the Meta Quest 2 and it really does a solid job of keeping you immersed in each maps setting.
The audio aspect of the game is also well done, with the 3D audio working well and if close to the lantern the enemy teleports to you will get an idea someone has just gone to that lantern. All the sound effects from the explosions, storms and general spell casting noises are solid, and like the visual they give the game a good level of immersion.
Wands Alliances is created with standing play in mind, but, can be played seated. However, seated play comes with a disadvantage as the game was designed around playspace roomscale.
With this in mind the game does not not come with control based turning and ducking. To get the full experience of what the team want to bring with Wands Alliances they expect you to physically turn and dodge the incoming spells. With the roomscale and teleport movement approach the game is suitable for any level of VR legs – and I can’t imagine it will cause motion sickness for people.
This is a hard thing to determine on games that are based around the multiplayer aspect only, as the game will need to keep a playerbase to make people want to keep going back. Although it will fill a lobby with Bots, the main appeal of a game like Wands Alliances is working with other players and getting the tactics right. Personally I would love to see this keep a playerbase, as it is something different to shooters and it has a solid base to build on.
Reviewed using Meta Quest 2
For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a review code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a press code does not affect my judgement of the product.
Wands Alliances has impressed with the amount of spells, the class based system and the way team work is going to be important. Getting your perfect Battle Kit for your classes is not only important to make you effective, but also to give your team the best chance of winning – and getting that correct mix feels rewarding. However, with the game being online PvP based the games success will depend on it keeping a playerbase and the game being updated to keep it fresh – these are things that can only be determined over time. However, at the moment the game has a great base to build on, the 3v3 approach really gives it more enjoyment than the 1v1 model from the original.