Have you ever heard of Shiren the Wanderer? I hadn’t until this game, but apparently, this is the fifth game in the series and a spinoff of the Mystery Dungeon games. I had never played any game in the Mystery Dungeon series, not even the cutePokemon ones, as I’d heard they were rather brutal JRGP dungeon crawlers that took lots of time to learn. I heard correctly.
First, the good, Shiren’s retro-like graphics practically pop off the screen, especially on the original vita’s OLED screen. If you like 16-bit or early PlayStation 1 JRPG pixel graphics, you’ll be quite pleased here, aside from the atrocious character portraits that display whenever characters talk – these look like a child drew them. The musical score is easy on the ears, and the characters are likable, such as your sidekick, who is a talking mongoose, or a girl wearing a panda onesie who offers to join you on your journey – for a price. Shiren is also on the Vita, which is a plus for anyone who owns the Vita, since it has so few games released for it these days.
What if I told you there is this game called Loot Rascals made by some of the people who made Hohokum, and featured art by the artists behind Adventure Time and Alphabear? Well I’m telling you now, because Rascals is an extremely colorful roguelike that’s easy to dig into.
Long story short, you’re a space traveler, and your spaceship crashes after a moon shows up out of nowhere moments after your teapot-headed robot buddy malfunctions due to what I can only assume is some kind of demon. On the surface of this moon you run into many zany creatures that mostly intend to kill you. Why? That isn’t quite clear yet, nor is what the end game is if there is one.
I love Nier, so you can probably imagine I was pretty thrilled to find a $20 game that could pass for its spiritual sequel. While playing I kept thinking, “I’m going to call this the sleeper hit of the year — I can’t believe how great this is” until about the last quarter of the game where bosses start to get a bit too cheap.
While not perfect, for the price, this game is a steal.
Imagine if every time you died in a Legend of Zelda game, Link aged a year and, eventually, he would permanently die of old age. Also imagine that Link could be a girl if you so choose. Finally, picture the inventory system of an old-school survival horror game.
Put that all together with a dash of virtual reality, and you’ve got Chronos.