Nairi: Tower of Shirin – Review
Follow Genre: Point and click
Developer: Homebear Studios
Publisher: Another Indie, Hound Picked Games
Platform: PC, Nintendo Switch
Tested on: Switch

Nairi: Tower of Shirin – Review

Site Score
8.9
Good: Gorgeous children's book aesthetic
Bad: Somewhat short for puzzle fanatics
User Score
9.0
(5 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.0/10 (5 votes cast)

How can you write a game that is easy enough for children to understand, but with enough subtext to not be boring for the adult players. Rarely have we seen a game so well suited for the target audience of Nairi: Tower of Shirin. Everyone will find their niche in this amazing point and click adventure by Homebear Studios. Cutesy aesthetics with clearly readable emotions, great story with ramping stakes and challenge, could this be the instant-buy puzzle game you’ve been looking for on the system? Let’s take a look:

Story

Nairi is a cute, relaxing story about a young girl who wants to find her way home after an uprising breaks out in her parents’ kingdom. Don’t mistake this plot for being a light read though, oh no. As you get into the story more, there are some dark sub-stories and an even darker world is waiting for you. One evening, your mentor comes hurrying into your room telling you to quickly escape from the window, and that the home you grew up in is no longer safe. He insists that you, the brave young girl as you are, take off across the street and hide in the warehouse to seek shelter. As all that you know comes crumbling down on top of you, you escape the city for safety, though you will find anything but that. Can Nairi escape the roving band of nomadic cats that intend to trade you off for ransom money?

Graphics

In a time where it seems that every art style has been tried, Nairi: Tower of Shirin carves a niche for itself that we’ve rarely seen filled. The game has a gorgeous Studio Ghibli aesthetic with a hint of children’s storybooks. The art direction suits the goal of the game very well, as the game is rated E for everyone and seems to be aimed towards a younger audience. Not only that, the game leans towards being played with two players, paving the way for family-orientated gameplay. This becomes all the more apparent with its easy-to-digest art which gives clear and readable emotions on the characters’ faces, and the old Disney vibe of knowing what is important on screen by the difference in colors or details.

Sound

Along with the visual direction of the game, when it comes to the topic of sound, there is an easy graspable sound design intertwined. The game isn’t narrated, and the soundtrack that underscores the story is fittingly simple for the target audience. Don’t underestimate the background music though which is clearly inspired by nomadic tribes of the Middle-East, the soundtrack’s comprehensive nature does its job as you’re listening to it. There’s soft bleeps and bloops when you pick up items, solve the (inventory) puzzles, and when you read through the dialogue, but that’s about it. There isn’t any real SFX like muttering of patrons of a crowded bar, nor the clopping of hooves as you traverse a busy market street, but that doesn’t detract from the game’s atmosphere.

Gameplay

Nairi is a relaxing point-and-click puzzle game with a heavy focus on its story, Nairi: Tower of Shirin is everything we collectively imagined our children’s books to be like when we were younger. Cute animals, with simple enough puzzles that kids can play through with you, but difficult enough to still give a satisfying solution when you solve some of the harder ones. The game comes with all of the common systems expected of this kind of title: inventory management, arbitrary locks that are placed in the way of the player for narrative drama, and so on. However, the systems are carefully implemented, with some puzzles having multiple solutions, such as a hanging key being obtainable both through a crowbar and a knife. In fact: as you’ll notice, some of the items will stay in your inventory while others disappear. As you play through the mini-games, some items are used on multiple occasions, which really helps with making them not feel as disposable as other games.

As we mentioned earlier, this title is somewhat built around playing together with a small child. The children’s book aesthetic, the not too difficult ‘monologic’ puzzles and cute characters with a simple surface plot. The devs have really thought it through. Even with small details such as the control scheme, as the game makes extremely good use of the two Joy-Cons in a Nintendo Switch system for example; the game feels as if it was perfectly designed. Since it is a point and click, and the Joy-Cons come in pairs of two, the game is extraordinarily well suited for two player controls. You can hand your child one joy con, while you play with the other, and controllers can be used on-screen independently.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a chill, relaxing story with a surprisingly detailed world, or if you’re looking for a cute game to get your young child into your hobby, Nairi: Tower of Shirin is your game. The not too long story (depending on how fast you solve the puzzles) can be an ideal way to introduce your kids to the joyous wonders of games, as it is easy to understand for them while leaving some good subplot in there for the parents. If there has ever been a must-have for puzzle fans, this is it.

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Rating: 9.0/10 (5 votes cast)
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Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Nairi: Tower of Shirin - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
Brustenhoven
Brustenhoven


Bryan, Dutch, gamer, metalhead. 24, and been playing games for as long as I can remember. Pokemon gold for life!

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