The ILG Coint & Plick Awards

Coint & Plick 2008 #68b: Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer

Posted in 2008 by trdn89 on February 22, 2010

6 points, 1 vote

Official game site

Iroquois Pliskin: What’s remarkable about Shiren is how much unlearning it foists the player inured to the conventions of traditional-RPGs. All the trappings of the game bespeak RPG standbys: there’s an inventory full of swords and spell scrolls, recovery herbs, and the like. There’s experience points and levels and so on. But Shiren the Wanderer swiftly undercuts this expectation; all the elements of the RPG language are there, but the basic syntax of the game is radically different. It all turns on the game’s attitude towards progression. In the classic Role-Playing Game, core appeal of the genre is the progressive empowerment of your player-characters over the course of the game. Whatever the setting, you expect to continually gain levels acquire better weapons. When you die in Shiren, there is no progress-saving resurrection item on offer. Every time you fall, you irretrievably lose all of your levels and items. You start again from level one in the starting town. There are persistent elements of the game, which progress and improve between playthroughs, but your character isn’t one of them.

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