voyage1 Shiren the Wanderer is available for Android now, but Patrick Casey from Peculiar Games didn’t know Chunsoft was creating a smartphone roguelike when he began porting Voyage to Farland. See, Voyage to Farland originally started as a Nintendo DS homebrew game and in addition to adapting the DS code he ended up porting utility libmodplug to use for the music too.


"The controls are always tricky — I tried to replicate the DS buttons on the Android device’s touch screen and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of it," Casey affirmed. "Some people hate virtual D-PADs, but I’m not one of those people.  I loved the quick pace that the DS D-Pad allowed in Shiren and so I tried to nail that for the homebrew version of Voyage and now for the Android version with touchscreens."


As a fan of the Mystery Dungeon series, I asked Casey how he expanded on the roguelike formula with Voyage to Farland. Casey came back with a detailed answer:


To be honest, Voyage started out just as a method to see if I could still do coding. At the time, I was teaching English in Japan, but before that I was a programmer. I’d been obsessed with Shiren DS for several months, so in experimenting with Voyage I sort of followed an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality, at least as far as the core mechanics that I really enjoyed in Shiren.



But that being said, I didn’t just want to clone Shiren, so I took a different path with monster design and attacks, etc. I also added some slightly different mechanics with for example the Vial mechanic, so unlike Shiren’s Bufu staff, the Vial is single-use, and can actually be turned into a weapon AGAINST the player’s character by certain monsters (i.e. the Catapult). I wrote a little about that here on Google+ recently.


The Warp Pouch item is another place I went off and did my own thing. The player can "insert" the Hero into it (!?) and warp to another room on the dungeon floor, or throw it at a monster to make it warp away to a random location — that’s another item the Catapult can toss at the Hero to cause mayhem. And there’s a lot of odd humor in the game, like eating a "Garlic Herb" and breathing garlicky breath on a monster to put it in a sickened state (moving half normal speed), etc.


I tried to borrow from Shiren, but not stomp all over Chunsoft’s game since I respect their work so much. I figured since Mystery Dungeon games are so under-appreciated in the west (at least non-Pokemon MD games), Voyage would be seen as an homage rather than a rip-off. And my thinking has been that if Voyage did well and/or got some interest, I’d be able to work on a sequel to explore some other roguelike mechanics and make less of a ‘clone’. We’ll see!


OK, Voyage to Farland doesn’t pack the same punch when it comes to presentation as the DS Shiren Games Casey admires. However, as a pet project from a lone programmer, it’s a nice tribute to a niche series.


You can download a free version of Voyage to Farland with the first dungeon here and if you like it the paid version with four dungeons is here.

You may also like

More in Android