Thursday, June 22, 2017


Author: Klepon Production
Availability: Free, Download
Format: Visual Novel
Genre: Literature, Humor
Rating: PG 

Found at

My Scores (Out of 5):

Writing: 2.5
Art: 3
Gameplay: 2
Romance: 2 (“Cute.”)


Nacira is loosely based on the characters from the Indonesian version of the epic Mahabharata.  You are Nacira Basita, a girl from a remote village who has come to the capital as a substitute dancer for the king's crowning ceremony.  While staying at the palace, you find a box left by your predecessor, with a letter saying that it belongs to the one she loves.  It must be for one of the five princes...but which one?


The Writing

First of all, let me throw some confetti for this game being set in a location that hasn't already been done to death: Indonesia!  I've complained before about the only four countries in these games being America, Japan, Fantasyland, and Ambiguousland.  Seeing more of the world represented makes me ridiculously happy!  Also, I never really knew anything about the Mahabharata, or Indonesian culture at all, and this game made me become curious about both.  Kudos!

That being said, It's obvious that English is not the author's first language, although it's also pretty clear that the writer really tried.  A number of proof-readers are credited, but the final result leaves me wondering if they knew any English either.  Still, the effort is appreciated, and at least I was able to understand the story.

The story itself is a cute, low-tension setup: You've made a friendly bet with Prince Arjuna to find out who is the owner of the box.  This involves asking the brothers about their relationships with the woman who left it behind.  It's interesting without being very intense, and I would have recommended it for all ages if there wasn't an instance of very strong language.

The brothers themselves are nicely varied in their personalities, and their interactions with Nacira are very entertaining.  Character is something that's very easy to screw up, and yet it's perhaps the single most important element in any romance-based work of fiction.  Even though the low-stakes plot could have easily made this story boring, the characters involved lifted it back up to being interesting.

The Art

I found the music interesting, since I've never before heard a score that involved bells so heavily.  This entire game just has a certain look and feel that sets it apart and seems to celebrate its setting. The sprites are well drawn, with the some of the characters looking more Asian and some looking more White; although, there are only two sprites for extras (one male, one female), which gives the impression that the city is populated by clones.  The backgrounds were okay, although I was a little disappointed when a supposed “majestic view of the city” only displayed as a blue sky.  Also, rather than making the CGs the prettiest part of the game (as most games I've played seem to do), Nacira has these parts drawn in a more humorous, cartoony style.

The Gameplay

The gameplay is perhaps Nacira's weakest point.  While there are choices, there is no real branching, since choosing to defy the plot will result in the protagonist eventually changing her mind and going back to the script.  Also, since the plot was framed as a mystery, I expected to be able to choose who to guess the box belonged to, but that's actually not the case.  In fact, it took me a while to understand how the game actually works: you don't actually try to figure out who owns the box.  Instead, you ask about the boy you're most interested in.  At the end, that's who Nacira guesses and, even if she's not right, that's whose ending you get.  It's frustrating and, I think, very unsporting.  Still, at least once you understand all this, it's pretty easy to get the ending you desire.


Nacira is a short, sweet game that shows players part of a culture not often seen in any western media.  The English is poor, but the story is entertaining enough to make up for it.  The main characters are decent-looking.  The gameplay lies about being a mystery, but at least it's easy once you know the actual rules.  Overall, I'd recommend giving this game a try.

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