I intended to write up a little post about this topic already, so how convenient that there’s a thread!
Regarding Shiren 5, I haven’t played it really, but the tutorials (which are fully optional so also fully missable) seem really useful for exploring its more esoteric mechanics, many of which are not optional!
But what I really wanted to say was that this year was the first year I actually played rougelikes. I always had this vague idea that they weren’t for me, but the release of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon DX made it really easy to put aside my misgivings and give the whole thing a try, and I have to say, I loved this game.
I didn’t anticipate that at all. I really thought at best it would be OK, but I totally fell for it. It’s gorgeous and the soundtrack is really nice, which helps in the whole “vibe building” aspect, but overall, it’s the gameplay that won me over. My impression of the game was “arcade Final Fantasy Tactics” which is NOT what I was expecting but definitely what I got. I love that it’s fast-paced but you can be slow and thoughtful whenever you want. I love that it’s very mechanics/gameplay based and not just a big mess of half-baked “basically functional” mechanics/ideas like big name RPGs (FF7R I am looking at you!)
Following on from that great success, I took a crack at Void Terrarium which I am LOVING. It has a wonderful mood (you play as a robot, the only speaking character is a demented AI that destroyed humanity, and the goal of the game is to save what is quite possibly the last living human) but it also builds on the Mystery Dungeon framework in very interesting ways. From my perspective, the two main ways are (A) in that it blends a virtual pet/raising sim element and (B) that it doesn’t penalize you so harshly for failure, so you can come to grips with the challenge really nicely and you always feel like you’re inching forward in the game.
And the soundtrack is completely killer. Really, really good, kind of PS1/DC era electronic music. Just lovely.
Overall I recommend this one super highly. I got it for $15 on the eShop during a sale (it is also on PS4) and I’m sure it’ll go back on sale sooner or later (I think it’s regularly $30.)
Now that I am nearing the end of it I am definitely looking forward to giving Shiren 5 a go, too! Though probably not immediately as I don’t tend to do the same genre back-to-back so it doesn’t start to feel stale to me. FWIW, I really like what I’ve seen of it (and I have to admit, the DS-in-HD aesthetic really just ends up looking like a Saturn game to me in a way that really makes me go yeaaaaah)