Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate
Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Available on: PlayStation Vita (reviewed)
Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate for the PlayStation Vita marks the fifth entry for the series over its 20-year history, although it’s only the third to reach North American shores. The punishing rogue-like began as Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer on the Nintendo DS back in 2008, which was a remake of the 1995 Super Famicom release that was exclusive to Japan. Later in 2010, Mystery Dungeon – Shiren the Wanderer 3: The Sleeping Princess and the Karakuri Mansion made its way stateside on the Wii as simply Shiren the Wanderer.
Although I dabbled in the Wii version a few years back, I have no attachment to the series whatsoever. I’ve played my fair share of rogue-likes in the past, and while they’ve never been my favorite genre, I’ve always understood how they’ve managed to carve out a niche audience looking for games that are deep, punishing, and rewarding.
Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate is no different, offering an experience that’s complex, dense, and somewhat rewarding, while also infuriating me to my wit’s end. No matter how many times I tried, how many 30-minute breaks I took, I just couldn’t connect with the diabolical nature in which it punished my failures, but there’s no denying its sheer amount of content, beautiful sprite work, and wonderful soundtrack.
It may not be for me, but I do understand the series’ appeal a bit more.