Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate makes its way to the PSVITA. Originally released on the in Japan on the Nintendo DS in 2010, and the fifth entry from the rouge-like mystery dungeon Shiren the Wanderer series, and I can say this is a pretty interesting title. Even if you’re a hardcore JRPG fan and know your way around the ropes this is one of those titles that will take a lot of time and dedication to master. That being said, let us break down the game and see what it has to offer.
This title is a remake of a Nintendo DS game from 2010, which means, sprite art! Yes, this title has sprite art which evidently sets the mood for the rouge-like dungeon crawler retro gamers are used to playing. The difference though, is that it is not just port artwork from the old game. The menus have been redone, the game is more colorful than ever, the hub has been made in HD along with the portraits of the characters, and the games aspect ratio. The aspect ration makes the port look amazing, not to mention the Japanese themed town are on point. Some of the big differences are when you hit the dialog scenes for the story, that is when the art really shines. The downside is that, when you play a good amount of floors in a dungeon map, they become bland and you eventually realize you have seen the same backgrounds over and over again due to the randomly generated maps. This is something very noticeable after putting some hours into the game. Visually, the game looks good but I can say newcomers might not like the retro visuals, fans of it will enjoy the mood it sets.
One word can describe the soundtrack, AMAZING! This is actually one of those soundtracks any fan of the genre will enjoy, especially any JRPG fan. Weather you’re in a dungeon fighting your way to the next level, making your way in one of the main story towers, or just exploring a town, this soundtrack will set the tone of the game. The game’s sound effects even helps draw players in with the retro sounds of hacking, and slashing from the original game. I really can’t complain much about any of the audio; the game does really well in this category.
So this is where it gets complicated for Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate. This is not a game that everyone will like, and that being said doesn’t mean its a bad game, but more like one that only dedicated players with patience will get into too.
If you are familiar with the Mystery Dungeon games, for example Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, you will be familiar with how Shiren will work. The game is a turn-based tactical strategy game, mixed with a rouge-like dungeon crawler, and all in a somewhat real-time manner. Confused already? Don’t worry, the game will walk you through how the mechanics with its extensive optional tutorial in the “Beginner’s House” in the main village, Nekomaneki Village. After your lessons you are off on an adventure, where you’re intended to explore the dungeon floors filled with different creatures, and eventually end up filling the map which makes the game really hard from the start. Not to mention, once you die you lose all of your items you just found, money, equipment, experience, all to find yourself back at Nekomaneki Village starting all over again. This is where some players may want to drop this title, but players that will have the patience will find out what they did wrong , learn from it, and be off on their adventure again. As players progress they will also realize, not all items are helpful, be weary traps randomly placed on maps, nightfall (because enemies will strengthen up around that time), and be prepared to deposit everything you can once you complete a tower or dungeon because once you’re dead its gone. Players will also run into NPC’s that will join their journey as you progress in the story, but I noticed most of the time I would run into a trap and teleport away from them or vice versa, making my NPC’s useless. Another problem I did run into after hitting a certain point, the game started to make me feel like I never made progression, this actually drew me away , but I did eventually came back. Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate does pretty well in game play, if you like difficult, in-depth games, but that’s the thing with this titles game play, it is hard.
My standpoint for this game is that visually as a remake the title looks good, audio is outstanding, game play is very difficult and will eat up time, but I would recommend this title if you’re a fan of the Mystery Dungeon games or JRPGs. If you are a newcomer, you most likely will be frustrated or overwhelmed with its difficult level.