Quite the gamble.
You’ve likely heard of the Mystery Dungeon series before, but that’s probably because you’ve seen one of the many Pokémon or Final Fantasy spin-offs. Though the spin-offs have taken on a life of their own, they owe their origins to the Shiren the Wanderer games, which stretch back as far as the SNES. Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate stands as the fifth numbered entry in that series, and it originally saw a Japan-only release on the Nintendo DS back in 2010. Five years later, it made its way to the west via an enhanced port for the PlayStation Vita, and now it has received a further enhanced port for the Switch. Though the core gameplay remains as divisive as ever, Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate nonetheless proves to be solidly built roguelike that provides challenge and enjoyment in equal measure.
Shiren the Wanderer 5 (let’s call it that from now on, for brevity’s sake) maintains a rather basic narrative premise, one that revolves almost entirely around a simple search and rescue mission. The events begin when the titular hero and his talking ferret, Koppa, first come across a mortally sick girl named Oyu who lives in a village at the base of the mysterious Tower of Fate. Her friend, Jirokichi, is unwilling to accept her impending demise, however, so he sets off to attempt to find the Dice of Fate and to climb the tower to reach the God of Destiny at its top.
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