Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate Review
Over the past couple of years, Aksys Games has delved into a number of forgotten properties with successful results. These can include the fantastic reboot of Guilty Gear (and it’s recently released sequel, Revelator) the numerous BlazBlue entries and the recent handheld Xblaze’s. Now the company is continuing in the same direction of the latter, but with a much farther base to back it up.
Why? The franchise first made it’s appearance in the pre SNES days, and revolutionized the early persona and traits of the then still developing roguelike genre. Yet, some of it’s greater elements were missed by the modern age. The first games were turned base, so I was looking forward to how Aksys would relive that magic. Short answer, it’s there, but a lot more different than what you would expect.
Roguelikes rarely supplement or weave story into their gameplay (one of my recent favorites, Spelunky, completely throws this out of the window) but Shiren the Wanderer does the contrary, and in a way that is reminiscent of some of more creative role playing games in the market, such as Undertale. This main component, mixed with great writing, a pinch of humor, intriguing conversation, and even philosophical backing, pack a great punch to everybody who wants to keep playing.
With aspects like these that add to the game’s addicting exploration, it is possible that it may need more to hold it together. Thankfully, the developers knew exactly what they were doing. The game may deviate from what has been seen in the franchise in the past, but keeps the great player mentalities that rogue-likes have juggled before. A great combination of efficiency and resourcefulness is always the key.
Story & Design:
You don’t have a good roguelike if you don’t have a good and substantial difficulty curve, and Shiren The Wanderer doesn’t fool around with this rule. Just when you think the game is getting easy, a new trick will arise, but you always feel as if it’s a challenge you can persevere through. The game also restricts you in certain places but can give you rewards at the same time, which is always how a rogue-like should feel.
In terms of the game’s narrative, there are some downsides. While I do appreciate the choice of characters, the main objective covering it isn’t too mind-blowing. This is particularly because the chemistry around the main roles is overshadowed by the gameplay, but at least that’s strong in the first place.
Presentation/ Visuals & Audio:
Shiren The Wanderer adapts the pixel art-style we’ve seen more times than we can count, but I didn’t find it too grating considering how the game attempted to settle for a wide variety of colors. This isn’t present always in what’s been randomly generated (you’ll see some texture issues) but without any major technical issues, it’s easy enough to avoid.
Shiren the Wanderer may have a long subtitle, but it’s the smallest nitpick I could provide of this otherwise fantastic rogue-like. It’s the proper way to reintroduce the lesser classics to a new audience, and in a way that everybody’s familiar with. There’s no hardcore pandering here, just good plain fun.
Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate gets a 8/10 (Very Good)
We’d like to thank Aksys Games for giving us a code!
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