NAIRI: Tower of Shirin by HomeBearStudio
NAIRI: Tower of Shirin is a point and click adventure following the exploits of the eponymous Nairi on her journey to unlock the secrets of the titular Tower of Shirin. Embracing all of the conventions of the classic genre while injecting their own visual aesthetic into the mix, HomeBearStudio have created a magical world to explore.
NAIRI’s opening moments do a great job of establishing setting and launching the narrative. Nairi is the daughter of an upper class family and enjoys a comfortable upbringing, but this is soon turned upside down when she learns that her parents are in danger, and she has been instructed to flee. She soon finds herself being whisked away from the city and her grand adventure begins. The young girl’s journey is interrupted by a group of cat-bandits and she finds herself trapped in their hideout.
I found the subsequent challenge of securing an escape route from the hideout while simultaneously learning about the captors to be an engaging early game task that felt neither patronizing nor overly difficult. It also immediately impressed upon me just how beautiful Nairi’s world is and how lovingly each area has been crafted by its creators.
Point-and-Click Done Right
Puzzles abound in NAIRI, and these range from finding hidden levers to seeking out and applying the right item to solve a problem. There’s nothing here that dramatically breaks the mold; keys need to be found for locks, blades to cut ropes and the occasional more tricky puzzle.
Pleasingly, the game doesn’t entirely railroad puzzle solutions, and it’s possible to gather the requisite items to solve a problem before even discovering it, simply through diligent item-gathering. A small inventory allows for the use of gathered equipment and a journal, acquired a short way into the story, keeps track of key hints.
Full of Character
What really brings NAIRI to life is the characters. Almost exclusively based on animals, the characters of Nairi’s world range from adorable to nefarious and all are designed with a great deal of flavor. It is surprisingly easy to become invested in Nairi’s quest and the characters she meets on her adventures. Nairi herself is also realized superbly, with a variety of expressions bringing her various emotional states to life.
I’ve already mentioned the aesthetics of NAIRI, but I feel it’s worth underscoring how the Studio Ghibli-inspired visuals help to enhance the quality of this adventure. The music is also ideal for creating a relaxing and atmospheric feel whilst you unravel the puzzles that block Nairi’s way. All in all the production quality here is of a high standard.
NAIRI: Tower of Shirin is an excellent-point-and click adventure that doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel; HomeBearStudio have simply set out to create an exemplary title, and in this they have succeeded. I have rarely enjoyed a point-and-click title this much, and the beautiful art, laid back music and engaging puzzles all come together to make this a must have for fans of puzzles or the endearing anime art style.
NAIRI: Tower of Shirin is available via the Nintendo Store and Steam.
Watch the official trailer for NAIRI: Tower of Shirin below: