This morning, Shiren the Wanderer 2 on DS (Fushigi no Dungeon: Fuurai no Shiren DS 2 - Sabaku no Majou) dropped through my letterbox from Japan and I've put around an hour into it, so time for a few first impressions.
The first thing you'll notice is that this is much more story driven than the last game. The graphics have been polished up, and Shiren, the backgrounds and the monsters all have more detail.
The game starts with Shiren and his trusty sidekick Koppa wandering across the desert, when, crippled by fatigue, Shiren collapses. He is then found by guards and taken to a fortress in the sands, where he and Koppa are chained in a cell.
A princess then appears through a secret entrance, unlocks their shackles and flees.
Shiren is in the cells on the 6th floor and has to get to the first floor to escape. Without any items in his inventory, this series of dungeons involves a chasing pack of guards. Diagonal movement and careful avoidance of traps is key to getting out.
This serves as a brief tutorial about movement and, if you're careful, you'll escape from the fortress easily.
Then it's on to a nearby village, where Shiren meets up with his fat old chum from the first game - Pekeji. Yes, he's back and it doesn't take long for this troublesome character to convince Shiren that within the desert fortress, there is treasure to be found.
So off they set in the dead of night, and within a few paces of setting foot in the place, Pekeji falls down a pit. So Shiren and Koppa head off to find him.
Within the first dungeon, a few things become apparent. First is that underneath Shiren's health bar, there is a hunger bar. This is very useful, as before, you had to go into the menu screen to see how hungry Shiren was.
Also, along with creatures such as old favourites Mamels, there are new creatures, including a hog, who, after levelling up, killed me in one hit! It's good to see some things don't change.
Going back in the dungeon for a second time I found a scroll I didn't recognise. I read the scroll and was warped out of the dungeon and landed back in the village with all my items.
I haven't had a proper look around the village yet, but if there are storehouses, these scrolls could become incredibly useful for escaping from dungeons and storing valuable items.
So far, so good, but I'll post back on how my adventure is going.