“The Dreamer awakes, the shadow goes by, the tale I have told you, that tale is a lie. But listen to me, bright maiden, proud youth, the tale is a lie; what it tells is the truth.” – Traditional folktale ending
Developer: Too Husky
Released: 25th March 2020
Available on: Steam
Mira is a point-and-click adventure following an enigmatic heroine of the same name on a journey from a World War II ravaged Kraków to the mystical land of Navia, heavily inspired by Slavic folklore. The game, a definite labour of love, releases today after over six years of development by two-person team Too Husky and is a delightful amalgamation of hand-painted art-work and cleverly interwoven mythology.
The game has an interesting overarching narrative that focuses on Mira and involves some intriguing twists and heartwrenching choices. Dotted throughout this, however, there are snippets stories, myths and legends delivered in such a way as to feel natural within the experience as a whole. These are also collected like curios in a lexicon that can be referred to at any time, some are new creations but others have a more solid basis in the various folklore such as Svarog, Mokosh and Veles, there are also some more generic creatures such as witches, nymphs and drowners.
The story flows smoothly and is fairly seamlessly entwined with a nice level of detail in terms of the folklore references, helping the player feel informed without being bombarded with text or information (especially given the lack of voice acting). Unfortunately, there are very few indicators of the WWII setting and these are mostly only present in the form of brief, specific references within the dialogue.
Mira also does a great job of characterisation, introducing a range of well-rounded and interesting personalities but despite the positive aspects, the delivery of the narrative is not without fault. The main issue is the translation to English from the original Polish, which is littered with mistakes that have varying levels of impact on the player’s experience. Issues range from minor spelling and grammar blunders to syntax errors that totally break immersion as they require some deciphering.
The game features some beautiful hand-painted artwork that perfectly matches the mythical aspects of the narrative and stories. Lighting and colour are also well implemented, muted backgrounds with hints of vibrant colour are all accented with an atmospheric underlying green hue that brings everything together and helps create a somewhat magical ambience. The art style also serves to illustrate the various beasts and creatures of Navia with individuality and character, ranging from the super cute Bzonac (guardian of poultry and children) to the stoic Librarian through to slobbery, carnivorous monsters.
Mira has some relaxing and fitting music accompanied by sound effects such as mystical woodland noises and animal sounds. These mostly fade to the background, subtly helping to build the environments and add to the overall atmosphere. However, these all stop and start very suddenly at each of the many loading screens creating a brief but jarring detachment from the game.
Simple point-and-click mechanics are prominent, with a few dialogue options and fun mini puzzles to amp up the interaction. Unfortunately, the decisions made in the game, including the seemingly more important ones appear to have little to no influence on either the characters or the story’s development. Mira also ends abruptly with a bit of a cliché, shortly after a final choice is presented. The results of the player’s action are not revealed, also seeming to have no impact making the conclusion anti-climactic and a little underwhelming.
The game will take around 1-2 hours to complete, after which there is no way to revisit different chapters and choice points without replaying the game from the start. There are also very few options in terms of the game settings which are limited to game volume adjustment and a choice of fullscreen or windowed mode. Both of these things mean there is little scope for either replayability or customisation of the game experience.
Overall, Mira is a short but enjoyable experience in which the interwoven narrative, storytelling techniques and stunning artwork are the standout features. The WWII setting is not very obvious but the inspiration drawn from Slavic folklore is very apparent and adds an extra element of curiosity for the player.
Whilst the game does have its flaws, it is a relaxing and uniquely pleasant game that creates intrigue, connection to the characters and even feels a little educational. With a hint of caution due to the low-quality translation into English, I’d happily recommend the game to fans of fantasy-themed point-and-click games.
We’re giving away a Steam key for Mira, courtesy of the developers Too Husky! So if you’re interested in trying the game simply join our Discord server and respond to the competition announcement! The winner will be chosen on Friday 27th March!
If you want to try more games like this maybe take a look at Through the Woods, inspired by Scandinavian folklore, Brukel, based on real-life WWII experiences, or for a more in-depth point-and-click narrative experience check out The Pillars of the Earth?