The Defective Inspector goes all smooshy as he investigates NAIRI: Tower of Shirin from HomeBearStudio...
Released a mere day ago, I grabbed a copy of this game with one thing in mind… “OH my god that is adorable! I WANT IT”. It’s not often a playful gooey side of me controls my gaming impulses and yet… Here I am. So was my impulse worth it? GOOD QUESTION, here is an article I prepared for such an event…
NAIRI: Tower of Shirin (Or NAIRI for short for the rest of this article) is a graphic novel packed with puzzles. You play as Nairi, an upper-class citizen in a truly broken society who, through no fault of her own, is forced into an unusual adventure to discover some rather unexpected truths about the Tower of Shirin. Truth be told the game is story rich and so what I can reveal in this review will be limited. I can at very least reveal that the face value of this game doesn’t give it credit. It looks like a fluffy kid’s game but there was a surprising amount of plot hidden underneath the adorable artwork. It even dares to touch on some rather adult themes like inequality, gang wars and religious zealotry. So when going into this game, you need to be receptive to have expectations changed.
Beyond the story NAIRI focuses on a group of puzzles, some of them rather straight forward and others a little more fiddly. It takes a point and click approach to the puzzle portions of the game and this encourages you to be a bit more curious. There are moments where disbelief can only describe the answers to the puzzle but there is always a certain logic about it all, even with puzzle pieces rammed in unpleasant places (The creators know exactly what I mean). This wacky approach to life seems pretty consistent throughout the story and it fits well into the wholesome graphics and family friendly dialogue. Because of that “for all ages” tag NAIRI isn’t exactly challenging, more a diverse series of brain teasers for the adult mind to accompany you through a delightful story.
The family friendly approach is very clear, the dialogue is purposefully light-hearted, and moments of violence are actively avoided. In fact, the rare occasions where tension needs to be built it usually is accompanied by someone “doing the right thing”. This sweet approach to life can occasionally get bitter but you shouldn’t have expected anything less from the title at face value. It doesn’t pretend to be gritty or dark but instead wholesome and colourful. The creators even acknowledge Studio Ghibli inspired adorable art, so I was suitably prepared for the saccharine. Luckily the music keeps things breezy as it often stays in the easy going and soothing melodies throughout, no matter what is going on via the plot. Granted there are a few “dark” moments, and these are appropriately complimented by deep drums and low pitch warbles but nothing ever gets over excited, everything always remains calm. This is a wholesome game and it is happy being exactly that.
Overall NAIRI is a playful adventure with suitably adorable characters going through an interesting plotline. In a world filled with Dark Souls I find we need more games like NAIRI in this world and I welcome them with open arms.
Also you can smoosh a face! BUWAHAHAHA (That’s from my own game, had to screenshot THAT)
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Images from Steam and Defective Inspector Gameplay.