What is Shiren The Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate?
Shiren The Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate is a dungeon crawling role playing game of an infamously tough sub-genre known as a rogue-like. The story here follows the adventures of wandering Samurai Shiren and his talking ferret companion, Koppa, as they join a devoted fiancée in climbing a huge tower to try and save his partner's life - with his fiancée's life destined to end at the hands of a fatal illness, his only choice is to talk to the God that resides at the top. Only by working your way through the tower's many maze-like dungeons, fighting enemies, dodging traps and trying not to die, can you hope to reach the top and bargain for her life.
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How do you play Shiren The Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate?
Shiren The Wanderer is a hardcore dungeon crawler that's intended to be quite tough going. While in traditional role playing games, experience points you earn stick with you for life, and your character will grow stronger, here, each new dungeon you enter resets your level to level 1, meaning that your only real hope of defeating enemies in the harder levels is by keeping hold of your best equipment. That's also easier said than done, as should you die in a dungeon here, you'll lose all your items, equipment and money in the process - not to mention the fact it'll send you right back to the start of the dungeon. Healing and escape items are also limited or pricey, meaning you'll want to be as conservative as you can.
As you're climbing a tower with the intention of negotiating with a God, your objective on each floor of the dungeon is simply to locate the stairs to the next level - but it's not exactly made easy for you. Not only is your stamina constantly decreasing with each step you take (which must be replenished by eating before you collapse), but all kinds of enemies lurk in the shadows, ready to jump on you when you least expect it. For every step you take in the randomly-generated dungeons, all the enemies on the floor move with you, which can make them a bit tricky to avoid if you don't move strategically. When engaging them in battle, it switches to a simpler take-it-in-turns format instead, where you can whack them with your weapon or unleash magic spells from scrolls you've picked up along the way.
How easy is Shiren The Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate to pick up and play?
Arguably the most challenging aspect of Shiren The Wanderer is its difficulty, as a fine example of a genre which is prized for being unrelentingly punishing. It's very hard to make a lot of headway if you die too much, as you'll lose all your items, money and equipment each time, which not only leaves you at a disadvantage when it comes to facing off against monsters, but also ends up preventing you from buying new bits and pieces to make your journey easier too.
And given that your level resets to level 1 each time you leave a dungeon, having a decent range of equipment is often your only real way of getting an edge over your opponents. There's also a heck of a lot of different mechanics, quirks and tricks to master along the way - and exploiting these is often necessary for success. If you're new to rogue-likes, the starting village, Inori village, has a 'Beginner House' that will take you through them all, step by step, although it will take several hours to plough through the reams and reams of tutorials.
With that in mind, for the youngest of players, it's also worth noting that Shiren The Wanderer is totally unvoiced, and most of the story is told through text only. While back-story isn't so essential here, a decent reading ability is still recommended, if only for tutorials and exploration-related notifications.
- "Have you heard that the tower in the land of hermits can change your destiny… It's the god Reeva's Tower of Fortune."
- "Give me a Identify Scroll and all items in the store will be identified. Proceed?"
- "Tao did 15 damage to Zalokleft. Zalokleft is checking the situation."
Generally speaking, Shiren The Wanderer is pretty tame - there's no blood and gore, sex scenes or too much untoward going on. Battles see players attacking various enemy creatures, such as giant insects, monsters or animals, with swords, fists and boomerangs, accompanied by impact sounds and occasional cries of pain. There's no blood spurts and defeated enemies simply fade away when beaten. As for bad language, it's pretty few and far between, although the words a*s and b*stard are both heard at times.
Format Reviewed: PS Vita