I had never heard of kawaii before playing this game, and to the best
of my knowledge the reference was in a review or comment I saw on Steam.
But having looked it up it is rather apt, given that the game rings the
cuteness bells to the utmost. Too much ringing for my preferences, but
despite that Nairi is a puzzling 2D adventure with a fair bit going for
There is a childlike picture book quality in its look and style,
which befits the main protagonist. Nairi is a young girl forced to flee
her privileged sheltered upbringing in order to save herself after her
family is taken away by the Royal Guards. The streets and districts of
the city are now her home, places she shares with the anthropomorphic
animals that make up the denizens of Shirin.
She soon hooks up with a companion, a rat named Rex, who is
conversant with the shady bandit happenings of the streets. Smuggling is
required, so Rex is an obvious ally, but his broader background will
also come in handy.
There is a mystical/spiritual aspect to the goings on, that provides
depth to the narrative as well as some surprises for Nairi. A number of
puzzles tap into this aspect, in a variety of ways.
The puzzles are a highlight. Many discrete puzzles are part of
solving a much larger conundrum, which might be task based or out and
out puzzling. For example, one part in the middle involves doing
numerous tasks for numerous people, traversing the city to do so, in
order to get a specific piece of information. Later on, you are
interpreting a plethora of glyphs to access a number of rooms to gain
access to … you can find out.
Not to mention the pushing and pulling of levers to open and close
doors in order to move through an underground labyrinth to find the
objects that will operate various other objects which will ultimately
lead to you acquiring two orbs which are necessary to activate a pair of
On the whole, I thought there was a good balance of the types of
puzzles as well as the complexity. I did now and then access the “manual”
that you carry in your inventory, which provided a nudge rather than an
answer on the occasions that I looked, but persistence, tenacity and
brain power was generally rewarded. Fiddling and trying things is part
and parcel of many solutions (at least it was for me).
There is no spoken word but there is a lot of dialogue that is read.
All of it requires clicking to move along, and there is a LOT of
clicking. I confess to taking a break now and then to rest my clicking
Music and ambient sound provides the soundscape. I confess to turning
the music volume way down as I did find some of it way too jauntily
jolly. Ambient sound was sparing but well done.
The story is a rich one, full of darker bits than the presentation
might suggest. Corruption, kidnapping and betrayal to name but a few.
But there is also friendship and loyalty, as well as humour.
It ends way too suddenly, but perhaps not. I never mind that not
everything is neatly resolved.
The game plays in the first person, and you observe each screen from
a fixed point rather than move your character around within it,
exploring the particular location with the mouse. Each screen is
discrete, in the sense that what you see on the screen is all there is
– it doesn’t side scroll, you don’t look up or down etc. Arrows
indicate the exits to the next screen.
Move the mouse over an object of significance, and the curser will
change to a little magnifying glass, and whatever interaction is
available will occur. Sparkles and trills will usually accompany
Coins are a different beast. You find these throughout, hidden in
pots, baskets, shrubs, etc, and they can be useful things. There are no
hotspots for these however so you are on your own. Click away, and now
and then one will spring forth and into your pouch.
Check out the screen shots to get a sense of the graphics. The
storybook presentation is even more pronounced in the cutscenes, and
large headshots of conversing characters will be prominent in the
Nairi is all point and click. The inventory is a little money pouch
bottom of screen, and you can drag objects from there to use in the game
world. You can also combine items and access the manual. You can save at
will, and the game will at times ask you whether you would like to do
It took me about 7 hours and despite the cutesiness not being for me,
I enjoyed the experience.
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-9700k 3.7GHz