Roguelike of the month

Did Darkwood take you back to a great game you played some time ago, or maybe there's a totally unrelated new title coming out that you want to talk about? In any case, feel free to share it here!
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:43 am

Roguelike of the month

Post by Pita » Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:08 pm

Hi, Fifth of Darkwood Wizards here. I have decided to write - or rather to sometimes write - about my favourite games. So to the point.

Shiren the Wanderer.

I will be honest with you. Shiren is my favorite roguelike. I love Binding of Isaac. I have nothing but respect for TOME and I have wasted uncountable hours on ADOM.

But it is Shiren that I will probably play forever. It is a true mastery of narration, mechanics, and replayability. It is randomized but not too random, it is hard but never unfair and it has lovely historical background that mixes feudal Japan with the legend of El Dorado.

I like Dark Souls because if you are a really good player you can finish it without leveling up. Shiren is similar – is you really know how to play, you think ahead and you have a plan it is possible to finish it in a few hours. But beware – if you try to cheat, be prepared that there are some great ways to prevent overleveling (like a blowing wind).

Bonus dungeons, extra mechanics and a complicated quest structure are thoughtfully balanced, and greatly polished - it’s no surprise they have become a standard for console roguelikes (e.g., Izuna, other Mysterious Dungeon games, Azure Dreams etc.). Especially because they were fresh for their time. I am not going to spoil too much, yet I would like to say one thing. The world of Shiren reacts to your choices and deaths. When you die indeed you lose everything - your money and items. Here lies game’s twist - the plot, the characters and the merchants still remember you. Gameplay is unforgiving, however almost always there is some kind of progress. If not in the gameplay, then in the narration.

You can lose your sword, but you won’t lose your friends.

Here, mechanics are more important than visuals. Gameplay is more important than prejudice. I’ve seen many PC-master-race soldiers that truly just loved good games. And even with their hatred for 16-bit graphics and consoles they loved Shiren. This game is a great triumph of gameplay above aesthetics. -- it's so good, that playing it is almost an addiction.

Jeremy Parish wrote a fantastic piece about Mysterious Dungeon series on 1UP and gamespite: ... heWanderer

He probably said better everything that I would love to say about the series. Therefore I will end it here with only one, final statement:

If you love the genre - you should probably play this game.
Thou bearest in Heaven at night,
And more I admire
Thy distant fire,
Than that colder, lowly light.

User avatar
Posts: 89
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:04 pm

Re: Roguelike of the month

Post by Nenjin » Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:32 pm

Tried Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup? That's the penultimate Roguelike in my book. Hard and random but not Nethack hard. Has a wealth of content built over years and years and is still getting active development. If their tileset looked better, I think more people would know about it.

Post Reply