Parents' Guide to

Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer

By Erin Bell, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Old-school dungeon crawler encourages persistence.

Game Nintendo DS 2008
Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer Poster Image

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Here's the catch: if Shiren dies along the way, he loses his experience points and items and starts over again at the first town. A warehouse to store items, and an innovative "rescue" system where you can call upon a friend to resurrect Shiren via the Nintendo DS's WiFi capabilities, softens the blow somewhat, but the game nevertheless instills a healthy and decidedly old-school fear of defeat that is becoming more of a rarity in modern games.

Dungeons are randomly generated, meaning replay value is infinite, and certain events will only be triggered if you talk to the same people multiple times -- so it's expected that you'll be starting over frequently. Nevertheless, the downside is that such a severe penalty for defeat discourages experimentation and makes the player all the more inclined to try to rush through each level instead of thoroughly exploring it. Ultimately, however, Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer is an intriguing experience both in spite of and because of its idiosyncratic gameplay conventions.

Game Details

  • Platform: Nintendo DS
  • Available online?: Available online
  • Publisher: Sega of America
  • Release date: March 4, 2008
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: E for Mild Fantasy Violence
  • Last updated: November 4, 2015

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