Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer (DS)

And here’s one of my posts about a new game. I started playing Shiren the Wanderer a few days ago, and I’m already hooked.

You can look at the game as one of two types. It’s either a shockingly difficult RPG, where dying means starting all over again, or it’s a simplified and easier Roguelike, where you can stockpile items for later games. It just depends on how you’re playing it, really. This, however, is clear: completing it without preparing for death and later attempts is highly unlikely.

The game is, mainly, a dungeon crawler with turn-based, tile-based navigation and combat. You find items, weapons, magic staves and spell scrolls as you progress through the randomly generated mazes. Along the way, there are a few villages that provide respite, and storerooms where you can stash goodies to be used on a later runthrough. Should you use your new powerful sword to press on now, or store it for another time? Decisions!

If you’ve played a Roguelike (such as my favourite, Angband), Shiren will be somewhat familiar. OK, so you don’t have character classes, you don’t loot corpses or chests, you have the plan-for-later stuff, and it isn’t all in glorious ASCII, but the soul is the same.

So far, I’ve managed to reach area 25. According to one of the characters in the game, there are 30, but at 25 it all got terribly terribly difficult. I’ve therefore spent a few attempts trying to shuffle supplies to later villages, and obtain some decent starting equipment by completing Fey’s Puzzles – a set of short dungeons you can complete from the opening village.

Overall, it’s no Angband, but since I’ve become allergic to playing computer games in recent years, it’s a great, simple, alternative.