Shiren The Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate is a roguelike role-playing game that uses classic dungeon crawler mechanics and vibrant, 2D graphics to produce a convincing (and very compelling) experience. As the silent wanderer Shiren, the player — along with a talking ferret named Koppa — must climb the Tower of Fortune to find a God that is capable of changing peoples’ fate. The task that lies ahead is a difficult one; it requires finally honed skills, as well as patients to survive the game’s punishing dungeons.
The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate spends little time on introductions, as it starts the player inside the village of Inori. From there, the player must visit the ‘Beginner House’ to use the ‘Training Facility’ — a small dungeon that contains a series of basic tutorials to help the player become familiar with the game. Completing this tutorial will provide the protagonist with the equipment needed to survive the first couple of dungeons. Once these conditions are satisfied, the player must finish investigating the village before the path to the tower can be opened.
Despite being a roguelike, The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate provides a couple of fail safes to protect the player and their gear. In most towns, there are NPCs that provide special services to preserve equipment, inventory and gold that would otherwise be lost if the protagonist were to die during combat. If the player is successful during a dungeon run and returns to town, they can visit the ‘Storage Owner’ NPC to store, withdraw and organize inventory items from previous missions. This system is vital to surviving the game’s many dungeons. The inventory banking system only works if the player can reach the NPC before dying. Otherwise, every item that was collected during the adventure will disappear. Currency is also susceptible to this rule, and it must be stored with a ‘Bank’ NPC to be preserved. The only thing that cannot be saved is the player’s level; it resets back to level 1.
Relatively new to the roguelike genre is a day and night cycle that increases the game’s difficultly, and changes some of the available game mechanics. For example: the daytime monsters that normally wander the landscape are replaced by creatures that are more predatory in nature. Not only are these creatures more aggressive, but they will also kill each other to increase their own levels. Plus, they can deal triple the amount of damage as their daytime counterparts, making them the hardest adversaries in the game to defeat. Luckily, Shiren can learn special abilities throughout the course of the game that can be assigned to eight different ability slots. When used, these abilities can kill these creatures in a couple of hits.
Combat relies on a turn-based system that is slightly different than most traditional role-playing games. When the player takes a step forward or attacks by pressing X button, the enemies on-screen will either move or retaliate in return. The inventory system is easily accessible by pressing Circle button, and the movement grid for each level can be viewed by pressing and holding Square button. It’s all laid out in a clean format that is easy to understand. Combat tends to be repetitious due to it being sluggish and predictable, but this is common for most roguelike games.
Shiren The Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate is a great addition to the PS Vita’s library of games. While not perfect, its banking system and intuitive day/night cycle are enough to prevent the game (and the experience itself) from growing stale. Just remember to bring your patients along for the adventure; it will be needed often.
Platform: PS Vita
Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Publisher: Aksys Games
ESRB: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
|Impressive 2D sprites and colorful backgrounds.|
|Average sound effects, but a great sound track.|
|The game's day and night cycle increases the game's difficultly.|
|Shiren The Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate is one of the better roguelike, dungeon crawlers for PSVita.|