Game: Nairi: The Tower of Shirin
System: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Another Indie, Hound Picked Games
Age Rating: USA E| Europe 3+
Price: $9.99 / £8.99 / €9.99
Release Date: November 29th 2018
Also Available on Crytivo/Steam
A review code was kindly provided by PR Hound.
Needless to say I was excited to get a review code for Nairi: Tower of Shirin as my first official review on LadiesGamers! Admittedly, this was my first point-and-click adventure puzzle game, so these opinions are coming from a newcomer to the genre. Nevertheless, I’m eager to tell you all about what I think of the game, so let’s get into it.
The Story and Your Role In It
We start out as a young Nairi, a high-class (perhaps royal?) and not so inclined to commit to her studies as she naps rather than read about the history of Shirin, her home. Almost immediately as she drifts off into sleep, Nairi is awoken by her mentor Sami. In utter panic, mentioning an ambush of sorts, tells Nairi to leave and never return. Talk about being thrust into a game’s drama. I’ve always been more of a fan of these type of introductions rather than a slow beginning. I want to be thrown into the drama and figure out what situation (or trouble) my character has gotten into.
At this point, your input in the game begins, as you’re prompted to click on the open window which you will escape out of. As the genre suggests, your involvement in the game includes clicking on certain areas or objects in order to progress through the story. I was actually surprised at how smoothly this process went, but the game definitely doesn’t hold any hands from here.
After hiding in a crate and getting smuggled out of the city, Nairi is captured by cat bandits. (At this point I’m still wondering why the protagonist is the only human in a sea of animals, although I don’t object.)
The cat’s hideout is really where you take the reigns as far as progressing the story. Nairi is tasked with escaping the hideout while the cats are out on a raid, and now is the time to explore by, you guessed it, clicking on everything you can!
The first room you interact with is the basement. Almost everything you see can be clicked on and either examined, interacted with, or picked up.
For example, I had clicked on the tied rope to see about opening the barred gate only to discover that I needed the knife on the other side of the room to cut the rope so it could be pulled.
Because of this, the game definitely caters to those who like to explore every section of a game’s map/area. Everything is a clue and nothing is sitting in plain sight, but that’s what gets you thinking. In my opinion, this brings the player closer to the character by getting into the same mindset. During my entire escape from the hideout I was thinking “Now how am I going to get out of here… What can I use?”
You, the player, are able to make your own choices as well to progress the story. Depending on what you choose to do determines the next step. I’ve never seen this as a negative in games, so I enjoyed having a bit more freedom at times.
Point-and-clicks can feel like reading along to a storybook, only you get a say in what happens on the next page. There were a few moments where I had gotten completely stuck and felt like I had succumbed to clicking all over the screen, which was frustrating. There were no help options either, so if puzzles easily confuse or frustrate you, be wary of not having any help from the game. This is, of course, both good and bad; it just depends on the type of gamer you are.
There’s a mystery surrounding the Tower of Shirin (the center of the Oasis city in which everyone thrives off of) but Nairi simply wants to return home.
Along the way, you run into a rat named Rex, who has abandoned his old ways of mischief and offers to help you get home. However, things don’t stay that simple as unavoidable conflict arises.
Interacting with your surroundings and a cast of colorful characters envelops you in quite the adventure. I won’t get into much more, in order not to spoil any key moments in the plot. But just by the interesting beginning, I was intrigued.
Controls and Art Design
From the start, you are provided with all of the control options set up for you. Basically you can play this game however you like, whether that be by using the connected joy cons, motion controls in docked mode, or simply by pressing on the Switch’s touch screen. I found myself using the attached joy cons mostly, only to switch (pun intended) to tapping on the screen when I would get frustrated with an area I couldn’t figure out.
I appreciate how versatile the controls are and didn’t come across any problems with them. The only thing that frustrated me, as a fast reader, was the difficulty in speeding up dialogue. It’s easy to figure out which button to press, but I still feel that the dialogue didn’t react very well or was a tad unresponsive when it came to speeding things up.
As far as design and performance goes, this game has some impressive artwork. I’m all for hand-drawn animation but it can sometimes tend to feel choppy and underdeveloped at times. That was not the case with Nairi, with the frame rate of the cut scenes flowing together nicely.
In between gameplay are scenes moving the story forward, whether that’s traveling through the desert or a new area you’ve discovered. You can see the inspirations from imaginative studios like Ghibli and Disney, but Nairi still brings its unique charm.
The visuals were bright and charming, while making me feel immersed in the story and world. If anything, you should check this game out for it’s impressive art style.
I had fun with this game! Point-and-clicks aren’t really my preferred style of game but I still really enjoyed my time with this one. The story is very compelling and the puzzles really get you to think. If you’re a fan of either of those tropes, then I suggest you pick this one up. The verdict? Nairi: Tower of Shirin gets a thumbs up from me!
Jenna…I’m am not a gamer myself, but married to a life-long gamer of many genres, I have read quite a few reviews to see what he may find appealing about a particular genre or game. This gives me confidence to say, you have an outstanding vocabulary that conveys a formidable review. Since I am a plebe in actual game playing, your step by step put me right into the scene. Your narrative was easy to follow and understand, but you write so well, your narrative compelled me to read to the end. For this novice, I give you a high-five for your review.