NAIRI: Tower of Shirin




Genre:    Adventure 

Developer:   HomeBearStudio

Publisher:   Another Indie, Hound Picked Games

Released:   November 29, 2018  


Requirements (minimum):

  • OS: Windows 7 or higher (64-bit)
  • Processor: 2 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel HD 3000 or better
  • Storage: 5 GB available space
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Additional Notes: Display resolution of 1280 x 720 or higher



By flotsam


NAIRI: Tower of Shirin


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 it.

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 statues. Phew!!

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 bits.

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 something successful.

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 foreground.

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 so.

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

RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB

Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB


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