When Wands launched on the Quest back in 2019, it offered an experience that felt like it could ONLY be achieved in virtual reality. Competitive magical duelling where you have to perform your attacks with the flick of a wand? It felt super immersive and fun, and let players live out fantasies they might have had after reading the Harry Potter books back in the day.
Wands Alliances looks to ramp up the tension and pizzazz by offering the same sort of competitive experience, but this time bringing six players to the battlefield in team-based showdowns. It helps bring more strategy to the fray (as do the expanded gameplay mechanics) and ensure that the game stands out as one of the platform’s more impressive multiplayer titles.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Wands Alliances sees players venturing through a land known as the Beyond, where they’ll compete with other players in three-versus-three showdowns spread across three different maps: The Gateway, The Rookery, and The Maetropolis (each of which look fantastic thanks to the game’s wonderfully stylish and sharp visuals). Each team will have their own specific role to play in a match, with these alternating every four rounds.
The Attackers are tasked with taking a special contraption known as the Omega Device to one of two specific points marked on the map – when planted, a countdown will kick in, with the Attackers proving victorious if they manage to then defend the Omega Device and ensure that the process isn’t interrupted. On the other hand, the Defenders have to stop the Attackers from planting the Omega Device by eliminating them or by defusing it if it is activated. It’s a simple tried-and-tested formula that players would have seen replicated in plenty of other competitive multiplayer titles, so it should feel familiar to most.
Players are able to take one of six different characters into the battlefield, with each having their own class and playstyle that helps differentiate them from one-another; they have their own unique spells too, which can be a gamechanger when determining who you want to play as. There is plenty of room for player customisation, with each character armed with two different wands that can be equipped with two different spells each. If you find something isn’t working for you, it’s easy to switch things out and experiment a little, with a lot of flexibility found within Wands Alliances’ gameplay. Whether you want to focus on dishing out damage or playing a support role and healing your allies, there’s plenty of variety with the magic offerings in the game for players to be the wizard that they want to be.
“There’s a lot of side stepping and crouching to avoid incoming attacks, which feels GREAT from an immersion perspective, but might catch some players off-guard if they were expecting a more stationary experience.”
And believe me, having a good variety of roles on your team is important in Wands Alliances. Whilst it’s easy to think that simply playing on the offensive will get you the most success, it’s also vital that you have someone on your team that’s able to heal or shield their allies from incoming attacks. If you die, you’re out until the next round, with a lack of respawns adding a real amount of risk to each battle where you can’t afford to make mistakes or not play strategically.
It is worth noting that there isn’t free movement or even traditional teleportation mechanics in Wands Alliances where you can move anywhere – instead, there are fixed lanterns across each map that players can teleport directly to. Whilst this can limit the player’s freedom of movement when traversing each map, it also brings with it a strategic element where players can set traps, defend specific points, or simply try to act as a distraction. It can simplify the process of getting around, but it also helps deliver more strategic action where players are more likely to stick together and where teamwork is imperative to both attacking and defending in the game. I’m normally the sort of player that loves free-movement in virtual reality, but the lantern-based teleportation here really complements the experience.
It all comes together to make for a multiplayer experience that’s super addictive and fun. Whilst it would have been nice to have had a couple more maps to play across, each on offer here is varied enough to ensure that each match can play out completely differently. That aforementioned spell variety ensures that each round of a match is unpredictable, whilst the strategic elements of the game ensure that you’ll always be kept on your toes whether you’re attacking or defending. I’ll admit, early on I did worry that the game might feel a little limited and run out of gas, but I’ve spent over ten hours with it so far and still find myself itching to play more. It’s just a lot of fun.
Check out some screenshots down below:
It does help that there’s a decent progression system in place, with players unlocking new spells and characters as they play. There’s plenty to earn across each of the different playstyles, which encourages players to do something a bit different and not simply stick to what they feel comfortable with all the time. Wands Alliances is often at its best when you’re experimenting with new magic and seeing how creatively it can be utilised in battle, with some of my most enjoyable moments in the game coming when I was testing out different magical combinations.
Be warned though: you do have to be pretty mobile when playing. There’s a lot of side stepping and crouching to avoid incoming attacks, which feels GREAT from an immersion perspective, but might catch some players off-guard if they were expecting a more stationary experience. On the flipside, you don’t have to do any hand motions to perform individual spells, so at least you don’t have to overthink what you’re trying to do in the heat of battle (even IF I think it would have been a cool idea).
As with a lot of multiplayer titles, Wands Alliances’ long-term appeal will ultimately come down to how active its community remains. I didn’t have any problems finding matches during my time playing so far, but there were occasions where some spots had to be filled with bots. It’s nice that bots are an option, sure, but it isn’t quite the same as having a human opponent. But hey, it seems like there are plenty of players so far, whilst the promise of additional content and platforms (as well as cross-play multiplayer) in the future ensures that the game should stay buzzing for some time.
Wands Alliances Review
Wands Alliances is an engrossing multiplayer experience that brings with it an abundance of cool moments across its competitive magic-blasting gameplay. There’s plenty of room for experimentation thanks to the multiple characters you can play as and the robust selection of spells, whilst the emphasis on teamwork and tactical player-positioning across maps can make for some truly epic battles as you try to unleash attacks whilst swiftly avoiding incoming threats.
It’s just a really fun multiplayer game and one of the most enjoyable I’ve played on the Meta Quest 2. Its long-term longevity will ultimately be determined by how active the community is, but from what I’ve played so far, I can see myself coming back for more Wands Alliances for a long, long time.
Developer: Cortopia Studios
Publisher: Beyond Frames Entertainment
Platform(s): Meta Quest 2 (Reviewed)