> # Welcome to GameGrinOS v1.01 > # How can I help you? > # Press ` again to close
Hello… | Log in or sign up
Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island Review

Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island Review

Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island (Shiren the Wanderer: SI from here on out) is the latest instalment of the Shiren the Wanderer franchise. There have been three titles released outside of Japan before this: Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer for the Nintendo DS, Shiren the Wanderer for the Wii, and Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate on the Switch, NDS, PlayStation Vita, and PC. Surprisingly, only one other game had a ridiculously long title like this one. Developed by SpikeChunsoft, the player takes on the role of Shiren — the titular character with a large hat, and his partner Koppa, one of the last talking ferrets. This adorable animal will be the narrator of the story, as Shiren isn’t much for words; he’s more of a silent protagonist.

ShirentheWanderer Koppa

We join the wanderers months after they leave Tsukikage Village; they go wherever the winds of Kron — the God of travellers take them. Their latest journey has them following rumours of pirates who have hidden treasure all around Serpentcoil Island. Also hiding on this island is a huge monster whose belly is full of these valuables. Our travellers believe this isn’t the only thing hidden in there; they have had visions of a girl begging for someone to save her. Being the good guys that they are, the two of them head to the island to help this poor girl.

ShirentheWanderer vision

Once they finally get to the island, they are confronted by monsters who will do anything they can to stop our heroes. Along with them is the powerful Jakaku, who has the scars to prove that he has been attacked many times by other treasure hunters, to no avail. This is a strong monster, and he has no problem taking you out. Our heroes collapse and awake in a place that they don’t recognise. This is an inn where travellers appear once they have fallen into the mystery dungeon. All the gear that they were holding on to during their adventure is gone, and they are back to level one of strength. This is where you will start every single time you fall in battle, so you will get very used to this location.

ShirentheWanderer level1

As you explore this little village, you will meet residents who will give you tips on how to play or give you useful items. I played on the Switch, so A is used to attack, X opens your menu to use items or equip weapons, hold B to dash, and Y allows you to turn without taking a step; it’s quite straightforward. As you explore the village, you will encounter an old man in the one house who gives you an Onigiri every time you visit him. This is incredibly helpful to have on hand when you head out on your adventure because it doesn't take long before your Fullness bar runs low.

ShirentheWanderer fullness

Located in this village is also a warehouse. This spot is empty right now, but it becomes incredibly useful as you progress in the game. I will touch on this more a little later; right now we need to head out towards Serpentcoil Island. Shiren doesn’t remember anything from their battle with Jakaku, but fortunately, Koppa remembers the path that you have to take to get there. It isn’t a short journey, but you have a map that will reveal the route to take to get back to Mount Jatou Summit as you explore and progress.

ShirentheWanderer worldmap

Even though you are constantly starting over with nothing, Shiren the Wanderer: SI will never feel like you are always exploring the same areas. The graphics in the game are very pleasant to look at; from the beaches and forests you travel through to the mountainscapes, there is a huge variety of terrain. The layout of the floors changes every time you visit them, along with the weapons and items you will find. Some runs will be way easier because you will find a strong sword and shield earlier on, while others will end very fast when you are overwhelmed by foes. It's tempting to enter areas with tonnes of items, but sometimes these rooms are full of strong enemies that won't hesitate to ambush you. Is it worth the risk?

ShirentheWanderer rewardsorenemies

Laid out like a grid, for every block you move, the enemy also advances; the same thing happens when fighting; you will also take turns attacking. Each time you move, your health points are replenished by one. This is great; if you need to recover, instead of wasting an item, walk around. Keep in mind that the monsters are also moving, so in some instances, using an herb may be more beneficial to heal you up faster before you're attacked. Your enemy doesn’t have to be directly beside you to attack; they can also hit or be hit if they are on a space diagonal from you, so you will have to make sure to be facing them, or else you may swing and miss your target, leaving an opening for them to damage you. Once you defeat enough enemies and earn XP, you will level up. The game makes it super obvious as you hear chanting to cheer you on; this was such a unique touch and was surprising to hear along with the upbeat, traditional drum and flute music!

ShirentheWanderer movementgrid

There is a map that will be completed as you explore the floor; it will mark down enemies, items, and the exit to the next area. These may be either staircases or a path leading off the stage. The game double-checks to make sure you want to advance to the next floor before you leave. Most of the time, it's worth trying to explore the whole area to find all the items and weapons that are here. Sometimes there are enemies closing in on you, and you just want to get out before they get you.

ShirentheWanderer nextfloor

Besides having to worry about your health running out, you also have a fullness bar to keep an eye on. If this hits zero, you will start losing HP and may collapse, forcing you to start over. To replenish this, Onigiri is a good thing to keep on hand. A basic one will refill 50 on the scale, but this isn’t the only kind of rice treat you will come across. Large Onigiri restores 100 for fullness, and Grilled Onigiri will not only fill 75 but it also restores 40 HP at the same time. If you happen to have your Fullness at its max, you will add to your total, so the base 100, you add three, so it will go to 103 if you eat a plain one. If you increase it enough, you will unlock Sumo Power, which will boost your Max HP along with your attack power. The other bonus to this occurs when you step on a trap; you will break traps that you step on so their intended effect won't happen.

ShirentheWanderer stomachexpand

As I progressed, I found that when I collapsed in battle, I could put out a rescue request. The problem is that you have to wait until someone online agrees to come help you and gets to the floor your character is on to save you. For each run, you have three rescue requests that you can use. In the meantime, you can look at the other requests people have put out and try to help them but don’t forget you start with no items or equipment, so if they are in a more difficult area, this may be hard to do. At least you will earn points in exchange for items and weapons you collect, along with the number of floors you were able to successfully complete. If you are impatient, it may just be easier to restart from the beginning again, as it could take a long time to get rescued.

ShirentheWanderer rescueboard

If you decided to just start over, hopefully, you took advantage of the supply drop. Making use of the warehouse system is sure to make your future runs less frustrating. Whenever you visit a town, you can place items inside the warehouse that, even if you die, will remain there for you to pick up and use on your next run. It is so much easier to start with a good weapon or shield instead of punching your enemies. As satisfying as it is to hear the sound effect when you slap a fish, I would much rather go in prepared for battle. No one wants to be ambushed by enemies and taken down in the first 12 seconds of a run; trust me, it’s very embarrassing!

ShirentheWanderer death

One other important thing that I discovered for my numerous runs was to look for the local blacksmith. If you happen to have $1000 and are in a village, it is worth finding this metal worker. He can upgrade your sword or shield by one point to make it stronger. It is definitely worth the money to get a bit more of an edge on the enemy! Though hopefully, your luck is better than mine, there were a couple of times when I upgraded my sword, and then the next floor had a sword lying on the ground to pick up that was already better than the weapon I had.

ShirentheWanderer upgrade

I have played mystery dungeon-style games in the past — Pokémon Mystery Dungeon being the one I spent the most time with — and I found Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island to be challenging and addictive, just like that title was. I loved that they had Koppa tell the story as you progressed. That ferret is so cute; it was great having it as my adventure partner. If you have tried any of the Shiren the Wanderer games in the past, you know exactly what you are in for, so you know this will test your patience and skill to progress. This title will surely keep you busy for a long time.

8.00/10 8

Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

This game is fun and addictive, but damn, it can be frustrating when you have a great weapon and items and then die, making you have to start from the beginning with nothing.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Alana Dunitz

Alana Dunitz

Staff Writer

Lover of all games, old and new!

Share this: