Shiren the Wanderer can be quite an intimidating series. Any roguelike can be, after all. You’re going into a dungeon, knowing that failure means losing absolutely everything. All of your equipment, items, money and progress will be gone. You may not even have one of your partners with you again until you reach the floor where you left them. As daunting as Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate can be, this is a game that does offer a few conveniences that can make life easier and better, even when things seem like they could be dire.
The most helpful being Undo Grass or Escape Scrolls. These are items that can occasionally be found in dungeons or shops, though you’ll also get one Undo Grass from the Bank as a reward for one of your first deposit plateaus. Undo Grass and the Escape Scroll have a number of amazing uses in Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate, each one making you wish it was easier to acquire. You can use either the Undo Grass or Escape Scroll at any time to immediately leave a dungeon with everything Shiren has on him. Or, you can keep the Undo Grass as a security net, as it will also activate if Shiren dies, allowing you to either revive in that position or immediately exit with everything on-hand. Each option benefits you, so never, ever pass up on Undo Grass or an Escape Scroll.
Revival Grass is almost as handy. Again, you’ll probably first receive some as a reward for making a deposit in Nekomaneki’s bank. It’s essentially Undo Grass without the option to quickly escape a dungeon. Instead, it allows you to immediately revive after being knocked out. Which won’t be too much help, if you happen upon one of Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate’s Monster House floors, but it will give you a second chance at a point in the game where you can’t start calling for a rescue.
I recommend hiring Tao for your first few adventures as well. Shiren’s constant partner for the first part of the adventure is Jirokichi. He’s okay, I suppose. He tends to stay behind Shiren and only occasionally do his part if an enemy is right in front of him. Tao is far superior. She has a boomerang attack that can hit multiple enemies at once, even if they’re quite far away or happen to be a phantasm or flying enemy that’s lurking in a spot you normally couldn’t reach. Her initial hiring fee is 1,500 gitan, which isn’t too egregious considering the aid she can offer. Especially since her price will go up to 2,000 gitan, should you refuse her aid the first time.
Hunting down any friendly person in a dungeon is another bonus. Some will offer some sort of service for free, before they start charging. The man who identifies items will offer to identify all of one type of item in your inventory for free, before charging a fee per item. Another, named Mekky, will charge a small fee to plate your weapon or shield, keeping it from being degraded. There’s even a little boy searching for his missing sister. Finding and rescuing her will prompt her to come and rescue you if you ever find yourself on the verge of failing a dungeon. Just take caution not to attack any of these otherwise friendly folks, as you’ll lose the opportunity to talk to them and take advantage of their aid.
Keeping all of the pots, hide and hilarious pots aside, is important. Shiren’s inventory is very limited, and these pots are the only means of increasing your space and sorting your inventory. Sale pots can give you gitan in exchange for items you have no intention of using. Synthesis pots let you combine weapons or shields automatically to create a stronger version of one of the weapons or shields put inside of it. My favorite is the Presto Pot, which will change each item put into it into something else, since it’s a great way to get rid of unneeded herbs or rocks. There are even preservation pots that are just handy for keeping things safe and orderly.
Preparing backup equipment is smart too. Once you safely leave a dungeon, you’re bound to come back with one or two pieces of worthwhile equipment. Rather than selling it, store the best few weapons, shields, or bracelets you stumble upon. Then, if you do fall in a fight, you’ll still have something in the hotel that you can work with. You won’t start off from scratch.
But, perhaps the most important thing in Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate is pacing. Shiren starts each dungeon at level one. Don’t rush through a dungeon. Enemies will automatically spawn and regenerate, even if you’ve explored every part of a floor. It’s wise to set a level goal for yourself before proceeding to the next floor. You have to go through the five level Destiny Trail to reach Reeva’s towers. I recommend gaining at least two levels on each of these floors before proceeding to the next, because ones earned here will carry over to the Towers of the Past, Present, and Future. Once you reach those towers, it’s best to gain about three levels per floor, to be sure you’re in a good position. Eat peaches to restore hunger first, since they can rot if left too long and sometimes have an added bonus of boosting defense after you chow down. Consume most herbs, like standard or stomach expanders, to boost Shiren’s stats. Basically, be patient and cautious.
While Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate can absolutely be incredibly difficult, there are ways to slowly and surely succeed. While patience and prudence will always be rewarded, so will stocking up on Undo Grass, Escape Scrolls, and various pots. Especially if you also make sure you put aside 1,500 gitan to hire Tao. Keeping these things in mind as you go about your journey will make it easier to see Shiren come out of a tower with a bag full of goodies and a heart untainted by the shame of defeat.
Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate is immediately available for the PlayStation Vita.