HomeBearStudio’s “Nairi: Tower of Shirin” is a point and click/visual novel with anthropomorphized animals and an interesting social commentary, all of which is very nicely animated by Studio Ghibli.
So, with that said, what’s the story of “Nairi” then? (so you might wonder). Well, when Nairi’s parents are taken into custody one night by Royal Guards, Nairi is forced to leave her home and is spirited out by a family friend in a box.
Unfortunately enough though, Nairi’s plans go awry when she and the consignment of goods she is with end up being robbed by some cat bandits (whereupon her new life of adventure begins).
Initially, the game presents only binary choices. It’s at the cat bandit’s base where the adventuring begins, and where the cracks in the game start to show.
So whilst collected items and so on disappear, and you get a quick graphic (and a small hint of what it’s for), there are some where you don’t get any feedback on whether there is anything happening, which makes solving some puzzles more annoying than hard.
Sure, whilst you do eventually take possession of a notebook containing hints on how to complete puzzles, it doesn’t really help in working out what you actually need to do.
Furthermore, it can also be very easy to get lost in some locations, with the background not really corresponding to where you can go.
Another problem is that the collision boxes of some items are far too large, resulting in the game thinking you have clicked on an item, when you have actually clicked something else. In addition to that, moving to and from scenes, whilst isn’t painful, is rather slow.
Finally, when each characters text is being displayed, there is a typewriter type of sound, which gets annoying quickly. Unfortunately, the sound effect level affects all sounds.
The inventory system works to a degree, but any time you use an object. The inventory window closes. In addition to that, it’s the only place where you can save the game (aside from various times, the game actually asks you), and alters game settings.
The characters themselves are nicely drawn, and quite expressive, and every so often, you get to the very beautifully animated cut scenes, which adds a bit extra to the story.
As for the dialogs of the game, well, dialogue is both funny and dramatic. As Nairi is constantly being reminded of her social status; the cat bandits are revealed to be social outcasts and there is fairly large societal imbalance. However, there are quite a few funny sequences as well which balance things out.
So at the end of the day, it feels like “Nairi” tries to be a something between “Broken Sword” and “Lost Horizon”. I mean, sure, whilst “Nairi” gets the general point of being an adventure game, there are quite a few cons to the game that makes “Nairi” anything but fun to play at times.
Nevertheless, I still find “Nairi” to be a charming and entertaining adventure/visual novel game for most part.
So if you’re into adventure/visual novel game’s, then “Nairi” is most definitely worthy of your time and money.
+ Lovely graphics
+ Music is appropriate
+ Story is nice
+ Cute and colourful characters
– Screen transition is slow
– Little in the way of feedback for some puzzles
– Lot of the puzzles are more irritating than fun
– Typewriter noise gets annoying quickly
– Two sets of screen resolution settings
Sound and music: 4/5
Replay value: 3/5
“NAIRI: Tower of Shirin” is mostly a nice adventure/visual novel game, but with a bit of an identity crisis and some really annoying problems. NAIRI would probably have worked out much better just as a visual novel, but is worth getting if you have lots of patience – and it’s on sale.
Title: NAIRI: Tower of Shirin
Genre: Visual novel/point and click adventure
Release date: 2018-11-29
Spent time: +2 hours
Average grade internationally: N/A Gamerankings.com
PEGI age rating: +12
Price: 10.92 Euros via Steam
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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