I’m going to hold my hands up and say: Point-and-click adventure puzzle games have never really been my thing. I’ve owned games like Day Of The Tentacle and Grim Fandango but honestly found those games hard to truly get into – I found them slow and was just generally uninterested in them. I think Nairi: The Tower of Shiri may be the game that changes my mind on the point-and-click genre.
In terms of first impressions, Nairi: The Tower of Shiri makes itself known from the get-go. The game’s art style and animations are simply beautiful – taking inspiration from animes such as Avatar: The Last Airbender (Although, Nairi’s character design gives me major Scott Pilgrim vibes too), Nairi manages to present itself less as a game, and more as an interactive anime episode – which in this case is definitely not a bad thing.
Each character and location is evidence of the developer’s passion for what they’ve created – while they try to mix humans with sentient cats, rats, dogs and ducks, each one manages to be unique and memorable: Omar is the adorable and warming thug, Paul is the frightening and intimidating mob-boss and Rex is your super sleuth gangster side-kick. Every character manages to be memorable and possesses enough depth that you become immediately attached – even after spending a short amount of time with some of them.
So, what is Nairi: The Tower of Shiri actually about? We’re told the story of Nairi, a young girl who lives among the upper class of the city of Shirin – an exotic and diverse city that lies in the middle of a vast desert. Nairi’s life is abruptly changed as she is forced to leave her family and her city – why? Well, that’s one of the big mysteries, which I don’t want to spoil just yet!
The game’s mechanics are what you’d expect from a point-and-click puzzle adventure game. You’re placed into environments and you’re made to look for clues, inventive ways to solve puzzles and uncover easter eggs or secrets – I guess what Nairi does differently to other games of this nature, is that it truly immerses you in its world. Its serene and calming art style, matched with the whimsical soundtrack eases you and truly makes you feel part of the world (Even though there are talking, human-sized rats accompanying you)
As is to be expected, the puzzles range from particularly obvious or easy, to fiendishly hard – I, for example, spent too much time escaping from the bandits’ hideout but then found figuring out how to climb down a quarry simple and straight-forward. For players who feel they need a helping hand, upon meeting Rex, your given a journal, which doesn’t necessarily tell you the answers but provides beautifully hand-drawn notes and hints which can aid in particularly tricky areas.
I guess one of the things that I’ll take away from Nairi: The Tower of Shiri is that there’s just as much fun trying to solve a puzzle – figuring out unique ways of escaping rooms or finding the perfect combination of items to help a character – as there is actually completing the puzzle. For, perhaps the first time, I was flung into an experience with no ability to quickly look up a guide or consult with friends. And it made the experience that much more enjoyable for me.
Off the back of that, Nairi: The Tower of Shiri is a game I can wholeheartedly recommend. It has the charm of Studio Ghibli and can easily match any current triple-A title in terms of immersion – however, it is definitely a game that’d I’d advised you go into blind, it’ll only make it a better and more rewarding experience!
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*