Nekra Psaria means “dead fish” in Greek, which, frankly and regardless of language doesn’t conjure up the best of images. Not that fish or death can ever be avoided, mind you, but escape-the-room browser games used to come with way cuter names back when the internet was young.
Then again, they did also just feature a single room one had to escape from and, despite a decade or so of moderate success in the more casual online corners, had become something I usually avoid. Unless they are Nekra Psaria, that is, or anything that could look as intriguing as this particular game does.
Nekra Psaria, you see, is essentially a browser-based point-and-clicker of this particular sub-genre, that comes with a decently sized world and, as mentioned, some unique artwork, but more on that later on. Better stick to the basics for a while and let you know that this game will most probably take you less than an hour to beat, isn’t particularly challenging, sports straightforward mechanics and offers puzzles that are simple but both odd and enjoyable. Also, it’s part one of what will hopefully become a longer series, though it happily stands perfectly well on its own.
So far, so not particularly exciting, eh? Well, let’s get back to the artwork thing. Nekra Psaria does, as you may have noticed, look utterly surreal and, if you ask me, gorgeous. It really manages to convey an atmosphere of dread and surrealism. And, for the people who wisely despise cockroaches, a sense of dread and disgust too. The thing feels like one of those gloomy European comics I used to adore back in the nineties, only animated and accompanied by an appropriately weird and eerie soundtrack.
Somehow, the artwork itself elevates Nekra Psaria way above a merely enjoyable distraction. It evokes feelings and notions of a strange world. It makes you imagine things behind every closed door and put words into each mute character. It stimulates you to add extra meaning to a setting that already makes enough sense. It’s just lovely really.
After playing it, I’d suggest you also take a short trip over to Drawmaneater’s deviantart page.