Nairi: Tower of Shirin | PC Review

Nairi: Tower of Shirin is a blend of point-and-click adventure and visual novel. The game is co-published by Another Indie and Hound Picked Games, and developed by HomeBearStudio. This little indie studio was founded by International Game Architecture & Design graduates Joshua van Kuilenburg (Netherlands) and You Miichi (Japan). With Nairi they wanted to create an “adorable yet intrinsically compelling gameplay experience for a wide audience.”

In A City In The Desert, There Lived A Girl

Nairi is a girl of about 12 that lives in the city of Shirin. One day her caretaker says she has to flee the house, because her parents have been taken into custody by the Royal Guard. Nairi, who lived a very sheltered life, has no clue what’s going on, and follows the instructions of her caretaker. This sets her on course for an epic adventure involving smugglers, bandits, gods, masked vigilantes and ancient relics in the desert.

Nairi

A Safe Fairyland Is Untrue To All Worlds

Tower of Shirin is a beautiful game that plays like a visual novel with adventure elements. Nairi mostly encounters anthropomorphised animals and they look absolutely adorable. This may lead you to think that you’re dealing with a game for children, but that is not necessarily the case. While the cute animals and beautiful locations certainly will be attractive to kids, the story is absolutely not childish, and quite compelling. Themes of oppression, religion, death and destiny feature heavily in the game and, like the best fairy tales, are taken very seriously. There’s also some cheeky humor present in the game. This may feel a bit uneven at times. The music is charming and underscores the mood well.

Let’s Go On An Adventure

Nairi plays more like a visual novel part than a classic point-and-click adventure game. The adventure part of the game becomes stronger in the second half of the game. Especially towards the finale there are several puzzles in a row that need to be conquered. The times I felt stuck it was more because I was thinking too complicated, when the solution was quite straight forward. This keeps the game going nicely, and keeps the focus on the story. Should you get stuck anyway, there’s always the in-game hint book you acquire early to help you solve the puzzles.

Nairi

There’s Nothing Like Looking, If You Want To Find Something

Gameplay is very easy. The mouse controls everything and and there is no need to choose commands. It’ll change into an arrow or a door to signify exits, and into a hand or magnifying glass to show interaction. If an item needs to be picked up, it will be automatically picked up. Sometimes it’s not always immediately clear what to click on, but experimenting a bit usually helps. For instance, a window has a frame as well to click on, which might get you the result you’re looking for. Clicking on the scenery is recommended anyway, because during your exploration of the city, you need to find coins that are hidden all over the place. This adds a little side-quest to the main story; it’s actually the one achievement I didn’t manage to unlock!

The Road Goes Ever On And On

Nairi: Tower of Shirin is an easy-to-play game with beautiful graphics and a deep story. If you don’t mind the puzzles not being very hard, and love a good story with cute and quirky characters, then you’ll definitely enjoy this game. It’s a mix of anime and western storytelling that’s only rarely uneven, and it ends with a cliffhanger that comes way too soon. You can say that HomeBearStudio succeeded in creating adorable yet intrinsically compelling gameplay experience, and it deserves to be played by a wide audience.

This review is based on a Steam PC copy provided by Hound Picked Games for coverage purchases and is also available on the Switch.

Nairi: Tower of Shirin

$9.99
8

The Final Verdict

8.0/10

Pros

  • Beautiful Graphics
  • Serious and Deep Story
  • Cute Characters

Cons

  • Easy Puzzles
  • Short Length (though it leaves you wanting more)
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Tomas Becks

1984 was a magical year for Tomas, because that’s when his father brought home the legendary Commodore 64 and a lifelong love affair with games and especially adventure games began. He was late to the party with consoles, but now he uses his PS4 for more than playing blu-rays of Marvel movies. He’s also a fervent mobile gamer, but his heart still belongs mostly to the stories of his beloved adventure games. Besides games and movies he’s also a fan of board games, tabletop roleplaying games, comics, craft beers and liquorice. He’s a long time listener of both the Gaming Outsider and the Hollywood Outsider and made his podcasting debut with the GO crew in August 2018 on his first visit to the US.