Release Date: November 29th, 2018 (Nintendo Switch, PC)
Genre: Adventure, Puzzle
Publisher: Another Indie/Hound Picked Games
Everyone is friends with, or at least knew, someone who grew up with a sheltered childhood. The moment that person is introduced to the real world is a major test for how they will handle events in their own way. Somewhat fittingly, alot of times these sheltered kids are from well off, if not completely rich, families. These kids are met with a stark culture shock that they were not expecting. This is the basis of the HomeBearStudio developed Nairi: Tower of Shirin that is being co-published by Another Indie and Hound Picked Games. After the success of Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption, Another Indie is looking to release yet another critical darling that is loved by gamers all around the world. With that said, Nairi: Tower of Shirin may even be more niche as it is primarily a Visual Novel game. Does the game climb to the highest peak or does the tower crumb underneath the player as they make their ascent?
While the overall story of Nairi: Tower of Shirin is not anything to write home about, its characters and world offer a charming experience that is sure to make some players happy. The story revolves around a young girl named Nairi and the events that surround her after a sudden incident forces her to abandon her rich, sheltered life. She ends up in the poorer district ruled by gangs and eventually teams up with a former gang member named Rex as they set off to uncover the mystery of the city’s tower. With the somewhat generic story, players can think of this as a Visual Novel Lite, which is fitting as the game is not breaking any boundaries or taking many risks. Otherwise, what it tries to do, it does well and the story should be enough to keep you interested.
As mentioned above, Nairi: Tower of Shirin is a charming Visual Novel game; however, the developers have mixed that genre with a dash of novice-level puzzles. Again, there is nothing new or groundbreaking here. It reminded me of a slightly better and more in-depth version of those PC find em’ games – click this, find that, look around here, etc. When played in handheld mode, the game’s controls can make players highly frustrated, particularly because the aiming curser latency seems to be off and makes anything the player wants to do fast nearly impossible. Due to tour-based travelling, I was unable to test this issue with the Switch docked, so it may be a nonstory, but the fact that it is an issue in a main controller configuration is troubling in and of itself.
At the end of the day, if the player is into charming Visual Novel games, easy puzzle solving, and/or has kids that may like this game or art style: then Nairi: Tower of Shirin is recommended. On the other hand, if the player is looking for an in-depth story with twists and turns and more in-depth gameplay, then they may want to hold off or wait until it goes on sale. Either way the player looks at it, Nairi: Tower of Shirin is a charming experience and at a $10 (US) price point I am inclined to lean towards recommending it, especially for those in need of a short game that they can turn their brain off for. It sure helped me get through some of the road trips between shows! (Andrew Fleming; Gaming Staff Writer)
Review copy provided by Hound Picked Games.