I’ll freely admit that survival games don’t tend to be one of my favorite genres, but having played several that even I have found compelling and agreeable (for a number of reasons) I wouldn’t say I have an inherent bias against them either. In the case of Nira, which really heavily pushes on the minimalist button in terms of its look and structure, in many ways my play time with it left me gobsmacked. Thinking its talking totem pole was plain weird, struggling to identify what many objects around me (including those that could kill me) were, having difficulties with the controls needed to complete a quest… they led to some moments that actually left me laughing, but more in frustration and being baffled than being amused. Trying to trade with what I assume was a lady, since there wasn’t feedback for success, I kept trying different R buttons, which ended up having me attack and kill her. Not long after that a different humanoid-looking thing arrived and promptly attacked, making me kill it too, it was all a weird bit of chaos. I think this may be a game where going too far into the retro vibe really hurt it. Yes, with time and some repetition you’ll understand what different things are, but in the early going it really saps enthusiasm, and with the general style of play being very ordinary and rote at best it’s hard then not to reflect on the fact that there are better representatives of the genre out there you could be playing instead.
Justin Nation, Score: