Written by JM Nuqui
Game Title: Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Faith
Publisher: Spike Chunsoft, AKSYS
Shiren the wanderer: the tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate is a Rougelike/RPG game. This was originally released for Nintendo DS and was remastered with additional stuff for the Playstation Vita. Published by Spike Chunsoft (Danganronpa and Zero Escape series) in Japan and Published by AKSYS games in the US.
My Experience with Rougelike
Just a short background, my cousins and I used to play Azure Dreams during the Playstation one era. During that time I was wondering why every time we enter a dungeon, we always start at level 1 but we retain the items and equipment upgrades as long as we escape the dungeon (If you’re lucky to get an escape stone). If in case, we die we lose everything… Even those hard earned weapons with upgrades. I didn't know what type of game this is until just recently. The gaming industry calls the genre Rougelike. It is a sub-genre of RPGS and the aim of Rougelike games is to be aware and strategize your every move every time. Dungeons are randomized, there are traps and even a mob of monsters that can ambush you anytime if you're not careful. If you don’t have the patience and discipline I don't think you'd enjoy the craft.
New to Rougelike? No problem
If by chance you want to try Rougelike games then you'll be welcomed warmly to try Shiren the Wanderer: TTFDTF. Why? As it has tons of tutorials for you to start on Rougelike games. As in tons, around 40 tutorials for the game mechanics and if you’re already a fan of the Genre you'd be familiar with the terms and how the game works. You'd be rewarded though if you're planning to finish all those 40 tuts.
In Shiren the Wanderer: TTFDTF, you play as the lone Shiren accompanied by a Ferret name Koopa. Being a wanderer, they have stumbled upon the Village of Inori that has this Legend that, if you climb the Tower of Fortune and roll the die, you can change your fate. Well honestly you won't give much of a damn with the story. It's not something you'd remember, but the experience of climbing the tower will be the memorable moments in the game.
Graphics and Gameplay
You'll love the art of Shiren the Wanderer. Period. The sprites are beautiful and retro. I just wished that they could have placed more effort with the in game menu. But overall its brilliant and beautifully crafted.
Good thing I have played Rougelike games before and there's another one for the Vita (try Sorcery Saga if you have the patience) anyway, I got a hang of it pretty easily, almost all Rougelike games have the same mechanics. You have the choice to control the game using the DPAD or the Analog Stick but during crucial moments a recommend you use the DPAD as your character might move on a different panel accidentally. Rougelike games is turned based. Every move you do, Moving, attacking, using items it is equivalent to one turn. If you move the enemy and your allies move. If you have speed buffs you have 2 moves advantage from enemies. You have a very limited inventory and the dungeon has tons of items to be picked up. The idea is to take only those of value to you and just treat everything else as garbage.
Dungeons are randomized, Items, weapons and accessories are random as well. If you're lucky, you’d get a nice weapon on your first dungeon run. If not, well better luck next time.
Some tips: There's no SAVE game on this game, be sure to abort the game every time you finish playing for the day or else the system will think that you have died and lose all your items.
You die, you lose everything, even patience
Yes, if you die, you lose EVERYTHING as in items and gold, but later in the game, there's an old man that will teach you how to get those items back. :P
The technique is to get Revival Herbs and Undo Grass EVERYTIME you enter the dungeon. You can buy it cheap in point shops. So that, every time you get mob by monsters and don’t have the items to defend you, you can escape. Surviving is the key to Rougelike games. You need to plan ahead. In Shiren, he gets hungry, so you need food on your backpack. Backpack gets full easily? In Shiren, you use pots as secondary backpacks and mark them as what items are stored on that pot.
There's also a storage and bank system where you can safely store the items and Gitans(in game currency) you have in case you want to use it on a future adventure. Items on the safe and bank don't get wiped out in case you die on the dungeon. Only those you have on your backpack.
Traps can be devastating
There's one moment I got mobbed by monsters and I stepped on a strip trap and got beaten badly. Good thing I have Undo Herbs then just teleported back to town. There are tons of traps in the game, one that strips you of your equipments, downgrades your weapons, and one that takes away ALL OF YOUR ITEMS. It’s like Dying right? I haven't stepped on a trap like that and hope you'd not as well.
Luckily you have allies
There are certain parts in the game where you can hire allies along your Journey, They level up and die as well. But this peeps don't stay with you forever. Some you can hire for free, some for fees, and some are part of the story and needs to be in your party to advance through. It's good to get allies but they are dumber than your enemies. Better than nothing though. In case the ally needed for the story dies well you need to revive them and in case he dies on a certain floor and you don’t have revival herbs to revive him, guess what, you need to go back to town and reenter the dungeon again and you know the drill. You can also team up with a friend via adhoc.
There’s also an online rescue system. If in case you die without revival herbs, you can ask someone online to rescue you on that floor. Likewise, you can also save someone online. BUT in case you die while saving someone. Well, no one is going to save you.
Tons of Bonuses and Challenges
If ever you have beaten the game or just want to loosen up with the story. There are tons of other dungeons and challenges that you can explore and offers awesome rewards (99f dungeon anyone?).
Overall I enjoyed Shiren the Wanderer: TTFDTF, it’s been a while since I've played a game like this. It's a bit difficult to recommend this game to someone who has little patience for dying. You'd rage quit pretty easily. But for those who have the patience to try it out and appreciate the craft. You'd be playing one of the most memorable game the Rougelike genre has to offer.
- One of the Best Rougelike experience.
- Beautifully crafted 2D sprites.
- Let’s you learn what is Rougelike by giving you lots of tutorials.
- Game is balanced and merciful.
- Lots of dungeon to try.
- Difficulty is not for the impatient heart.
You might also like:
Sorcery Saga (PS Vita)
Azure Dreams (PSONE)