[Nintendo Switch] Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island Review

by EdEN, Owner

Roguelike RPG Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island from Spike Chunsoft is ready to challenge you on Switch. Check our Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island review!


Roguelike RPG Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island from Spike Chunsoft is ready to challenge you on Nintendo Switch. The Shiren the Wanderer franchise is a sub-series from the Mystery Dungeon series, and it got its first game back on the Super Famicom – that would be the Japanese version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System – way back in 1995. It didn’t make its way outside of Japan until much later… in a different form.

I got my first taste of Shiren the Wanderer on the Nintendo DS in 2006 with Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer. This game was initially designed to be a port of sorts of the original on the Super Famicom, but it ended up being as more of a remake after all the work that needed to be done to the content from the original game. We even got some extra content that was cut from the Super Famicom version and presented as a bonus dungeon!

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I later got to play through Shiren the Wanderer on the Nintendo Wii in 2010, which was more of the same, as well as new stuff thrown into the mix. It also added a new difficulty setting that eases up on the roguelike side of things. You see, when you’re defeated, you lose everything you had on you and must start from scratch as you once again explore the dungeon. That extra difficulty setting? You get to keep your stuff if you end up being overwhelmed by the monsters.

Then we have a 13+ year gap, and here we are with Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island on the Nintendo Switch. Yes, I do know we previously got a Nintendo Switch port of Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate, which was originally released on the PlayStation Vita back in 2016, but this is the latest main entry in the Shiren the Wanderer series with all-new content.


The game takes place after Shiren has left Tsukikage Village, as he and his companion, Koppa, one of the last remaining talking ferrets, well, wander through the land. They spot a group of villagers who are not looking very good, and when they ask what’s going on, they mention they’re terribly hungry. After Koppa and Shiren share some of their food with them – and once they’re done chomping at the plate of onigiri in front of them – the group decides to open to the pair.

Everything around them is dry as it can be, with no rain in sight. There’s a local legend known as The Sun’s Ire. The god of sunshine, who goes by the name Kokatsu, got angry when the clouds blocked his sunlight, so he banished all of them away. The ongoing drought is happening because of Kokatsu’s anger, and now that the villagers have a bit of food, they will offer some of it to Kokatsu to try and win his favor. The pair continues on their journey toward the sea since they want to travel to the titular Serpentcoil Island. It’s supposed to be packed with tons of treasure since rumor has it that the pirates hid loot all over the place!

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On top of that, in the island’s depths lies a monster that hides even more treasure in its belly. Except that both Shiren and Koppa have a vision of this larger-than-life monster and of what lies within its belly: a girl that is crying out for help! Is the girl the rumored treasure you’ve heard so much about? Only one way to find out! As you can probably imagine, defeat is going to be part of the gameplay loop since you won’t be able to complete your adventure in one go.

This is a roguelike, so you’ll have to take on multiple runs so that you can obtain more information about the many monsters you’ll be going up against, find more powerful weapons to exploit, and learn from your mistakes so that you don’t repeat them. While each run will feature a different layout, you’ll at least be able to use your experience to find the best way to progress further as you obtain new items, weapons, and other pieces of equipment.


Once you enter the dungeon, you’ll control Shiren with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, attacking monsters by pressing the A button. As you move through a floor and attack enemies, your Fullness bar will diminish. If it’s completely drained out, Shiren will start to take damage with every subsequent action. This is why it’s important to always have some food on you for when things get tough.

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You’ll collect a ton of items during your time with Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island, so every now and then, you’ll have to open up your inventory by pressing the C button to use an item. Some examples of these items include the delicious onigiri that will allow you to recover 50 Fullness while also boosting your max Fullness by 3 if eaten when full; strength grass, which can boost your max strength by 1 point; or a confusion scroll, which will make every monster in the room be inflicted with confuse, which makes their movement and attack direction become random, to name some examples.

Since you can lose items when defeated, you might want to make the most of the warehouse. You can store items there to keep them safe since not having them on you means you won’t be able to lose them during a run. Just be sure to remember what you have in the warehouse so that you can take them with you as needed! It’s a long journey to the top of the mountain, so you will find some towns along the way where you can… as well as a series of dungeons.

The gameplay is of the turn-based variety. What this means in Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island is that whenever you move a step or attack, your enemies will take a step or attack. This is very important because if you don’t pay attention, you could end up surrounded by enemies attacking you in quick succession without any chance to retaliate.


As you defeat enemies inside of a dungeon, Shiren will gain experience points. Once he obtains enough, he will automatically level up. When this happens, he’ll get a boost to his overall HP while also fully recovering his health. The more HP he has, the easier it will be to trade blows with enemies as you try to make it to the exit that leads to the next floor in the current dungeon.

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You will also collect money as you defeat enemies. You might even find some in a dungeon just waiting for you to collect it! Money can be used to purchase items at the merchants you find along the way so that you can always be ready for what you might run into during your journey. Money can also be spent at the blacksmith to upgrade your equipment in order to receive a solid stat boost.

While playing the game online, you have a chance to be rescued by another player from around the world so that you can continue with your current run and not lose everything on you right away. This also means you can help others by going on a rescue mission. On top of that, you can also rescue yourself… which sounds weirder than it is! Rescuing others will reward you with Aid Points, which you can then use at the

During your journey into the dungeon, you might end up finding what are known as Sacred Items. These are easy to spot thanks to their glow, which will instantly draw your attention. Sacred Items are going to be better when compared to their regular counterparts, and you can even find Sacred Items with special runes that can really make a difference during that particular dungeon floor. If you have some extra protection against, say, dragon monsters and fire attacks, then taking on a floor packed with dragon monsters that deal fire damage will make a big difference.


Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island is a solid roguelike RPG that stays true to its roots while also giving us some 21st-century quality-of-life improvements. You’re getting a full-fledged story mode in which you’ll get to meet a variety of NPC, visit different towns, and work your way closer and closer to reaching the monster holding the big treasure: will it be the girl that Shiren and Koppa saw in their vision? Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island launches on Nintendo Switch on February 27 with a $59.99 price tag.

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Disclaimer
This Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Spike Chunsoft.

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