Crimson Shroud
Image: Level-5

For the month before the 3DS and Wii U eShops close for new purchases on 27th March, each day we're going to highlight a specific eShop game for one of those consoles and give a short pitch as to why we think it deserves your love and attention — before it's too late. The chance to add these to your library will be gone for good soon and, for one reason or another, these eShop-exclusives are close to our hearts.

Today, Alana nominates Crimson Shroud, an oft-forgotten Level-5 game with a huge name in the RPG world attached to it...

So, what's it called again?

Crimson Shroud. That doesn't give much away, does it?

Who made it?

Level-5 — that's right, the Professor Layton, Ni no Kuni, and Yo-Kai Watch creators — with help from Nex Entertainment, which helped out on games like Bayonetta, Children of Mana, Resident Evil: Code Veronica, and Shin Megami Tensei: Nine.

The lead designer, though, is none other than Yasumi Matsuno, the director of Ogre Battle, Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story, and one of the writers on Final Fantasy XII.

What's the premise?

The game is part of Level-5's 'Guild01' series, comprising four completely different games — Liberation Maiden (from Suda51), Aero Porter, Weapon Shop De Omasse, and this one. They are unrelated to one another, but are all interesting little experiments for the 3DS.

Unlike a lot of other Matsuno games, Crimson Shroud is more akin to a tabletop RPG. It is still an RPG of course, but instead of the number crunching in the background, you're the one actually rolling the dice this time. Every single character looks like a little board game figure, and the production values are stellar.

Navigating the world with a map on the bottom screen, your group of 'chasers — Giauque, Frea ,and Lippa — hunt criminals and treasures. But one day, they come across the legend of the extremely powerful Crimson Shroud, said to be where all magic originates from.

Why should I play it?

If you're a fan of Yasumi Matsuno, this should be a must play. It's one of the most unique games in the legendary creator's ouvre. The pacing is slow and deliberate, meticulous and refreshing, and despite the dice-rolling, nothing is ever left to chance, so there's no need to be intimidated by a "nat 20" incident. Unless you're trying to get some equipment to boost your defense or your power (as there's no levelling system here).

Moreover, can we mention the production values again? This game looks and sounds lovely (the music is from long-time Matsuno collaborator and composer Hitoshi Sakimoto), even if it's a bit low-budget, and we love how it really feels like a tabletop game, with a DM narrating your every move. And unlike a lot of other RPGs, this is a breezy little adventure that won't take you longer than 10 hours if you're not going for absolutely everything.

If you're curious about the Guild01 games in general, this trailer shows off a snippet of three of them, but all four are available in the 3DS eShop.

How much is it?

$7.99USD / £7.19 / 7,99€. In fact, all four games in this series cost this much, so you're getting four games for just over $30 if you want them all.

We'll be back soon with another 3DS or Wii U eShop recommendation. Let us know below if you've already got this in your collection and share your thoughts. Also, feel free to nominate other games — we just might highlight those in the coming days, too.