Wander Wonder is a unique overhead 2D Action-RPG developed by Compile and released Oct. 13th, 2000 for Windows PCs. The gameplay of Wander Wonder is very similar to Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) or the Neutopia series (TG-16/PCE) and probably the most like Alundra (PSX) if you've ever played that one before. It has all the elements of a good solid Zelda clone, swords, hammers, bombable walls, secret passages and caves, dungeons filled with puzzles that you have to unlock little-by-little, it even has a lost woods section later in the game as a obvious homage to Zelda 1 (NES), but after everything is said and done, it's certainly unique enough to step out of the Zelda-clone mold. One aspect that sets it apart and pushes it closer to being more similar to Alundra is the jumping/platforming aspects to the game. There are tons of places to jump around on and many secrets to find if you are smart enough to figure out your next plan as an RPG "urban runner" hero. The other thing it shares with Alundra are the types of puzzles you will encounter. There are tons of puzzles in this game. Switches, block puzzles, elevation puzzles, stacking puzzles, floating platform puzzles/timing, riddles to solve, certain items that must be used in certain locations to proceed with your progress. Even some of the bosses have unique take down strategies using an item or combination of items that you may have recently picked up, bringing it back to what you might experience of a boss fight in Zelda. You'll be able to tell while playing it, that the developers certainly put a lot of thought into this little game that not many people have heard of.
Instead of having only one or two weapons to choose from, Jino will use what he finds on his journey and they will have a number of uses before they break and need to be repaired by the town blacksmith. The weapon drops are pretty randomized and plentiful enough to where you can sell quite a bit of them for money and keep the ones that have better stats, and save the ones that have great stats for tougher enemies. There are daggers, swords, axes, hammers, bombs, shields, a bow an arrow, etc.
Overall the gameplay may not be quite as polished as Zelda, but it's still very enjoyable to play and really stands on it's own for anyone that enjoys good action-rpgs and solving puzzles. It really does offer a well balanced blend of the two. Wander Wonder also comes a gambling-type puzzle mini-game called Wander Number, which featuresJino as the main character.
Art / Style
Wander Wonder also has a very nice art direction and wonderful use of color and style in my opinion. When I first got the game, I was mostly impressed with the visuals of the game and the cover art! I mean, just look how nice this illustration is!
I can't really comment too much on the story of the game as my Japanese was (and still is) not good enough to understand most of what went on in the game. From my understanding of the game however, the game starts off with a story told to the main protagonist, Jino Brodiaea in a flashback sequence where his grandfather is explaining some kind of legend related around a mythical and powerful stone/crystal they call Orichalcum. The scene ends and Jino (now 14 years of age) is standing over his grandfather's tombstone and I can only surmise that Jino has taken upon himself to seek out the stone that his grandfather once spoke about.
On his journey, he collapses of hunger and is rescued by some nearby villagers, who take him in and allow him to stay at the town inn while he has business there. The town serves as a hub for a large portion of the game, but eventually Jino will become strong enough and better equipped to journey to many locales, such as ruins and the nearby capital city. While he is there he befriends a girl named Tia, who seems to have a strange air about her as well, and after awhile, Jino discovers that he's not the only one after the Orichalcum's power. A strange sorcerer who is simply referred to as the "Mystery Man" in Japanese appears to be searching for the stone and does not appear to be up to any good. It's up to Jino and Tia to find the Orichalcum and either harness or destroy it's fearsome power before this man can achieve his goals.
Here is a collection of some Wander Wonder related points of interest if you are curious to learn more.
Wander Wonder D4Enterprise / Project Egg Promotional Flyer
HTML Game Manual - This is included with the game and I say it's an "HTML" manual because it was meant to be opened on a local computer that could read a very archaic HTM/HTML format and much of it was referencing capitalized files which would not show up in an online web browser without some editing overhaul. Fortunately, I've already taken care of that and it's now fully readable in a modern internet browser. It would be nice if we could translated this so that an English version of this exists.
Box / Manual scans
Scanned Color Manual
Full Play-through Video of Wander Wonder on Nico Nico Douga (*Requires a Nico Nico Douga account to view)
Mkjpg's RPG World - Japanese Website with a lot of Wander Wonder information. By far the most information on the web. I've made an archive of this website in case it should ever go down which can be downloaded here.
An interesting Japanese fan-site with lots of interesting Wander Wonder fan art, icons, short comics, and music. Be sure not to miss this page.
My Collection of Game Saves... All 48 of them, individually labeled as to where they put you at in the game.
Where can I get the game?
While it can be pretty rare to find a physical boxed copy of the game, especially nowadays, you can find it on Project Egg very easily be visiting this link. While it is unknown if this will always be the case, currently at this time of writing this, it is a free game to download for all Project Egg members. If you've not used Project Egg before, it is a subscription service that you sign up for, and after you have signed up any games you download or purchase from that point on will be something that you can download and play for as long as you like even if you cancel your membership with Project Egg. With the exhange rate as it is currently, $4.45 is all it took for me to get Wander Wander and a bunch of other neat Compile games by joining up for a month of service and then cancelling if I wish. Not a bad deal at all, and the best part is, this is not an emulated PC game. They are actually delivering the PC game that can be modified / patched, dumped or extracted as far as we (Xalphenos and I) have been able to determine so far.
How to use Project Egg?
While Project Egg does try to cater a little bit to English speakers, there are still plenty of places that remain in Japanese only (such as their cancellation page lol)
If you need a guide, please see below. However it does assume that you've already created an Project Egg account, but have only set up a free account that allows you to log in with a username and password. Once you have that, please proceed with the steps below:
1. First click on the Log In button/hyperlink written in red:
2. Next, once you are logged in hit the big orange button:
7. On this page here.
How to Cancel Project Egg?
Simply go here
Then you just have to hit the button that says "サービス利用停止" or "Terminate Service" and follow any remaining steps.
Edit: After following these steps at the Project Egg website, it simply tell you that if your payment method was via PayPal, you have to cancel your auto-payment / subscription service through PayPal.
How do I setup/play the game?
Wander Wonder was originally developed to be played on an OS around the year 2000, so stuff like Windows ME (Mistake Edition) or Windows XP would normally run the game just fine as long as it was run with the Region and Language Settings turned to Japanese inside of the Windows Control Panel. Nowadays with newer OS' it really needs to be run in compatibility mode for Windows XP. I normally accomplish this by right-clicking on the Wander.exe file and choosing Compatibility settings and choosing a checkmark box next to Windows XP Service Pack 3.
Also, if you are not running a Japanese version of Windows, you'll need to install the Microsoft AppLocale program and run the exe file inside of that set to Japanese as the native language for the software.
I run Windows 8.1 and I can play the game full screen just fine with AppLocale. However I do remember there were some tricks with getting AppLocale to install at all, but it definitely can be accomplished and quite useful anyone who wants play older Japanese PC games on a newer machine / OS.
You can also setup a launcher for the game that resides in the Microsoft AppLocale directory:
How would I take screenshots?
Personally I would recommend using a tool called DXWnd and making a configuration for the Wander.exe file that looks like my screenshot below:
*Note, in this screenshot I'm currently using DXWnd DLL version 2.02.87. You can download my copy if you like, or try to see if you can get by with a different version.
Then as long as you have DXWnd running in the background, if you launch Wander.exe through AppLocale, it will take in the DXWnd settings and force it to appear in a window size of your choice. *Note however that not all custom resolutions will work and many may result in a black screen with only audio playing. It may be different depending on your monitors resolution / capabilities, but for my 22 Inch HP2207W, I can get away with a nice 4:3 view of 1280 x 960, which looks nice when you take in-game screenshots.
You'll have to use ALT + TAB to select a different program outside of Wander Wonder when it's running, but it should still sit there on your desktop allowing you to PrtScn and paste it into Paint, or do what I prefer to use, Snipping Tool which is built in to Windows. If you absolutely need to exit the game, the command to do that is F9, which will bring up a "Are you sure you wish to quit? Yes/No" message in Japanese.
I've been wanting to be a part of a translation project for Wander Wonder ever since I finished the game many years back. I approached a few translation teams about it, and never had any bites. I think most just never really knew the game well enough to even consider it. Xalphenos and I both have a vision of seeing this great game in English one day, so I can't think of a better place to open a project workshop for this title than right here at the Heroes of Legend Romhacking community.
I would love to see if it is possible to make this fully playable in English. It's a game that really does deserve to have a translation.