Shiren The Wanderer 6 – not a roguelite (Image: Spike Chunsoft)

GameCentral evaluations the very reverse of a roguelite, with an endearingly old skool dungeon crawler that makes fixed defeat appear enjoyable.

We appear to have reviewed an terrible lot of roguelike video games not too long ago, however that’s okay as a result of they’ve all been apparently completely different. Pacific Drive mixed the concept of randomised ranges and shedding every thing you’ve got if you die with a spooky automotive survival sport. On the identical time, Splatoon 3 DLC Side Order blended the roguelike idea with Nintendo’s standard third individual shooter collection.

Each video games play quick and free with the idea of a punishingly onerous dungeon crawler, particularly when it comes to you not having to start out from scratch every time. Shiren The Wanderer, nevertheless, presents the unique concept in its uncooked, however not essentially unrefined, kind.

The Thriller Dungeon collection this is part of solely stretches again to 1993 (Rogue itself dates again all the best way to 1980) nevertheless it feels older and, over the many years, has fiercely resisted change, even regardless of the present style for the style. It’s unapologetically old skool and that’s going to place lots of people off, however on the identical time you may’t assist however admire its dedication to custom… and the truth that regardless of the inherent frustrations it stays fiercely addictive and loads of enjoyable.

The historical past of Thriller Dungeon is lengthy and really difficult however, to state issues briefly, it began life as a Dragon Quest spin-off on the SNES, with the primary Shiren The Wanderer truly being Thriller Dungeon 2. Issues solely get extra difficult from there, with a number of extra spin-offs and crossovers, essentially the most profitable of which have been the a number of Pokèmon Mystery Dungeon video games.

There’s a free chronology to the Shiren video games (this one counts because the sixth mainline entry however takes place earlier than the occasions of Shiren the Wanderer 4) however you don’t want to fret about all that as that is very a lot a standalone journey. You play the titular wandering rōnin, who’s accompanied by a speaking ferret referred to as Koppa. The pair journey throughout medieval Japan, doing good deeds, and on this case making an attempt to save lots of a woman who’s been eaten by an enormous monster.

You begin the sport off dealing with in opposition to the ultimate boss however, in true roguelike custom, you’re defeated and get up with no reminiscence of what occurred and, crucially, not one of the gadgets or stat upgrades you had acquired as much as that time. Koppa is aware of what occurred however that doesn’t actually matter as a result of the one factor you are able to do is simply attempt once more and plunge your self into the varied dungeons of the titular island, till you’re robust sufficient to tackle the large dangerous once more.

When you’re in a dungeon motion and fight are primarily turn-based, as you progress across the grid-based, top-down atmosphere. Each time you are taking a step or carry out an motion so do all of the monsters, so you may keep the place you might be and none of them will ever transfer however the second you step ahead they take their flip as properly.

Fight is so simple as stepping as much as a monster and attacking it with a melee weapon, though there are ranged weapons with restricted ammo and quite a lot of spells that do every thing from disorientate a monster to set it on fireplace. You’ll choose up an terrible lot of things as you discover however your stock house may be very restricted, so it’s a must to make tough choices to optimise your loadout.


The sport is tough nevertheless it’s not fairly as heartless as you may think, primarily since you regain well being surprisingly shortly simply by strolling. That doesn’t make issues fairly as simple because it sounds as monsters will chase after you, or simply randomly stumble upon you when you’re strolling on the spot, but when you will get away whereas the getting is sweet it’s attainable to outlive a combat that isn’t going your manner.

Regardless of this, the sport can usually appear unfair, particularly the hidden traps and the randomised maps with unfavourable layouts. You will get a spell to detect traps however there’s nothing you are able to do besides depart and are available again if the map is a nightmare.

As you discover the island you unlock a central map and the occasional shortcut, plus you may retailer unused gadgets in a warehouse however aside from that you’re virtually fully ranging from nothing every run, no less than when it comes to stats and tools.

Nevertheless, the storyline of the sport progresses regardless, and typically due to, your many deaths. Your preliminary amnesia lessens over the course of the sport and as you meet the varied characters and study their backstories you may recruit them to grow to be allies that observe you round, probably for the entire of a run.

On high of that is a web based choice the place you may ask actual human gamers to rescue you, though taking part in the sport earlier than launch we weren’t capable of check this out. It appears you may provide to assist others as properly, though we assume you die like traditional if issues don’t work out.

Shiren The Wanderer 6 – you don’t play it for the graphics (Image: Spike Chunsoft)

As an alternative of a roguelite like Useless Cells, the place you’re continuously unlocking issues that you should use in your subsequent run, what you achieve after every loss of life in Shiren is the talent and strategic expertise wanted to do higher. The sport appears virtually laughably easy at first however there’s much more to it than you’d initially think about, as you utilize the structure of maps to shepherd enemies round or guarantee just one can assault you without delay.

At first the huge vary of spells and gadgets appears unnecessarily complicated however over time you study the nuance of every one and when and the place to make use of it. And whereas Girl Luck could also be in opposition to you in some situations she’ll additionally typically smile in your favour or… a Behemoth Gate will randomly seem in a dungeon, which spawns giant-sized monsters. In Shiren The Wanderer nothing is for certain.

The one factor we actually don’t like concerning the sport is the graphics, which not like all of the earlier entries are 3D. This can be very fundamental 3D although, that appears extra like a high-res PlayStation 2 sport. It will get the job performed, and a number of the monster designs are cute, however we a lot most well-liked the sprite-based visuals of the earlier video games. Given the excessive asking worth it’s not unreasonable to count on higher presentation than this, particularly because the music can be disappointingly forgettable.

Shiren The Wanderer isn’t making an attempt to be innovative, or something near it, however typically there’s worth in going again to fundamentals. As roguelike components are added to increasingly more video games, lots of which aren’t role-players, it’s enjoyable to see what the idea began out as. And moreover, inside its personal tiny area of interest, this entry does have some neat improvements, that make the method of dying and shedding every thing surprisingly entertaining.

Shiren The Wanderer: The Thriller Dungeon Of Serpentcoil Island evaluation abstract

In Brief: A hardcore roguelike that has not one of the niceties of most fashionable equivalents and but its old skool allure and small improvements make it pleasurable regardless of itself.

Execs: The core gameplay loop is very addictive, with an excellent sense of ‘another go’. The persistent story components and ally recruitment are a neat concept and there’s much more depth to the sport than it first appears.

Cons: Very fundamental graphics and never very completely different from any of the earlier video games. The random components, together with the dungeon layouts, can typically throw up unfair conditions. Costly.

Rating: 8/10

Codecs: Nintendo Change
Worth: £54.99
Writer: Spike Chunsoft US
Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Launch Date: twenty sixth February 2024
Age Score: 12


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