We've run through Pokemon Mystery Dungeons, Chocobo Mystery Dungeons and even Gundam Mystery Dungeons. Released today for the PlayStation Vita, Shiren The Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate is just like those, only without the licensed characters. Spike Chunsoft's Mystery Dungeon has been sending players off to die in roguelike fashion since 1993. The first of nearly 30 games in the series was Torneko no Daibōken: Fushigi no Dungeon, featuring a merchant character from Dragon Warrior IV. The second game was 1995's Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer for the Super Famicom.
The only original property in the entire expansive Mystery Dungeon franchise, Shiren the Wanderer has been chronicling the adventures of the rōnin Shiren and his talking weasel companion, Koppa, through nine different games, only three of which have made it to the West -- the original game's 2008 Nintendo DS re-release, and the third numbered game in the series, released on the Nintendo Wii as Shiren the Wanderer in 2010.
And now we have Shiren The Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate for the Vita. If Spike Chunsoft wants this series to take off in the West, they have been picking odd platforms to try and make that happen. The Wii release was lovely, but it was on the Wii as system that by 2010 was already on its last legs.
For what it's worth, the new Vita game is lovely. The music is excellent, the challenge is what one expects from a Mystery Dungeon title. It's roguelike exploration and adventure at its finest, and it doesn't need any licensed characters to lure in players. Just a man and his weasel, making their way up a legendary tower, attempting to change fate.
Shiren The Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate is out now for the Vita in Australia from Aksys Games.