Developed by Home Bear Studios
Published by Another Indie / Hound Picked Games
Released in 2018
The point-and-click genre has enjoyed a renaissance recently. The huge Kickstarter successes of ‘Thimbleweed Park’, ‘Broken Age’ and ‘Broken Sword 5’ clearly illustrates just how many people are keen to revisit a genre that they adored in the eighties and nineties. While platforms like the Adventure Game Studio has allowed for the creation of this Style of game on Steam and Android systems, until the Switch they never felt at home in consoles. However, perhaps due to the system’s touch screen interface many point-and-click titles have found a home on Nintendo’s hybrid device. Big names such as ‘Grim Fandango’ and the ‘Syberia’ trilogy can be found in the eShop but lesser known indie hits like ‘The Darkside Detective’, ‘The Lions Song’, ‘Bulb Boy’ and ‘The Fall’ have also seen Switch success.
Alongside the re-emergence of point-and-click games has been the Western acceptance of Visual Novels. ‘Steins; Gate’, the ‘Zero Escape’ series and the ‘Muv Luv’ games have attracted legions of western fans, and reading interactive books on a video games machine is no longer a Japanese only activity. Trace the two genre’s family trees back far enough and there’s a point of intersection. Both visual novels and point-and-click games evolved from titles like ‘Enchanted Sceptres’ and ‘Déjà Vu’.
‘The Portopia Serial Murder Case’ (「ポートピア連続殺人事件」) is considered by many to be the first Visual Novel. It challenges a player to solve mysteries by interacting with items, characters and the game world. Retro Gamer magazine claims the game “defined the visual novel genre; it was the first from which all subsequent titles followed”. Evidently, the game's developer, Yuji Horii was inspired by American titles. “I read an article in a PC magazine about a US genre called ‘adventure games’, which allowed players to read stories on their PCs. We still didn't have them in Japan, and I took it upon myself to make one”.
Given that both genres share a common point of origin and are enjoying Western success, it’s no surprise that developers are now creating games that celebrate the strengths of both. This was the approach taken by Netherlands based developer Home Bear Studio, when they sought Kickstarter backers for their game ‘Nairi: Tower of Shirin’. “We are going for a fairly unique blend between a visual novel and a classic point & click adventure” Joshua van Kuilenburg said to Nintendo Life. “I do feel we fuse visual novel traits with the point & click puzzle genre in a fairly unique way - I have a hard time finding games like ‘Nairi: Tower of Shirin’”