The classic mystery dungeon series is coming to Wii and hopes to be more accessible than past rogue-likes.
Shiren the Wanderer, the latest in the venerable series, is the franchise's first entry on Wii. Developed by mystery dungeon vets Chunsoft, the game attempts to break free of the typical constraints of the rogue-like genre while still appeasing longtime fans.
The basic plot finds the titular wanderer and his ferret pal Koppa reuniting with Shiren's mentor, who goes by the name Sensei. After receiving the Karakuri key, which - as the legend goes - opens up a mansion where a princess has been sleeping for 1,000 years, Shiren and his party set out on an adventure. This entry is more story heavy, and features a party that eventually has three characters in it. It takes place over a millennium and is steeped in Japanese mythology.
The game is in full 3D with lavish cut scenes, and utilizes an isometric camera perspective. Shiren can wander around towns, and then dive into dungeons when the time comes.
Once in the dungeon, you must travel through multiple random floors. Every move or action you make counts as a turn. So when you are moving around, so are enemies. In the standard mode, which has you controlling one character while the rest of your party is controlled by AI, the turn-based nature of the game is hidden. You can control each character's individual turn if you so desire, but it slows the game down considerably. It is, however, highly recommended for more intense battles.
The character's AI is highly customizable, and you can choose from a variety of different actions, even choosing what items they can use. In total, you can carry 30 items between the characters.
Throughout your struggles in the dungeons you'll collect many different items, including new weapons. However, some of the weapons are cursed and will stay equipped to the character throughout the rest of the dungeon. There are also traps that you can fall into that will reduce one of your character stats until you complete an area.
The main quest should take around 40 hours or more to complete, and there are sadistic challenges to complete after the story is finished. There are 46 achievements to earn as well. They emphasize the use of creativity throughout the game, even when you die.
The title makes use of almost every Wii control scheme, as you can choose from just the Wii Remote (TV remote-style or NES controller-style), the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, or the Classic Controller. There are two difficulties: easy and normal. The only difference between the two is that you can keep your items when you die in easy mode.
Also, in a change from the previous North American game in the series (Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer on DS), you don't revert to level one every time you die. Additionally, while you can't save mid-dungeon, you can suspend the game in the middle of a dungeon and come back to it later.
Shiren the Wanderer is due out on February 9 and will retail for $39.99.