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Nour: Play with Your Food Review - A Feast For the Senses




Nour: Play with Your Food Review - Written by SilentSigns


I hope you're hungry, because today we are whipping up a heaping helping of "Nour," a unique, food-based experience that is less of a main course and more of an artistic appetizer, but every bit as satisfying as your favorite comfort food. Yes, you CAN play with your food, and it is just as wild as it sounds.


Nour: Play With Your Food screenshot
Hope you're hungry, because Nour is serving you a a weirdly good time.

Let's talk about the videogame (or should I say "experience") that is Nour. At its core, Nour is a series of sandbox-style minigames with no definitive goal, score, timer or end. You're presented with an everyday dish, kitchen appliance or food of some kind and given the free reign to explore. Each mini-game is presented via a restaurant carousel, and you can go back to prior courses at any time. Once you're done with a scene, you simply zoom out to return to the restaurant and choose your next dish.


First, you'll take on popcorn. Press a single input to pop the kernels on a plate. From there, your options unfold into a cacophony of chaotic kitchen nightmares even Gordon Ramsay couldn't be mad at. Create a food fight using a giant food magnet to hurl pancakes around a diner, pour gummy bears and cubes of steak into a meat grinder and then set the unappetizing outcome ablaze with a blowtorch.


The game consciously encourages you to explore by pressing all the buttons to discover new tools, foods and spells. That's right! There is some culinary magic at work here, presented in the form of a rhythm game of sorts. Press the directional or action buttons to the beat of the soundtrack to power up spells that will burn your food, defy gravity and more!


Nour food
I've heard of playing with your food, but this is ridiculous!

There is so much to discover here, I wouldn't even dream of spoiling your appetite. Just remember that the only rule is that there are no rules, and my only real recommendation is to let go of your expectations of what defines a "video game" and just have some fun. Since Nour lacks some of the traditional tethers of gaming, likes timers, score and leaderboards, I think the point will be lost on some expecting a more formulaic experience. But if you approach this title in the same way you would approach a music visualizer or an interactive exhibit at a modern art museum, it makes a lot more contextual sense. That said, the game really doesn't take itself too seriously. It doesn't come across as pretentious, but rather seems to call us out for our labels and definitions of what it means to be a videogame, in the way that only indie games can. I smiled, I laughed, I experimented and, for a brief moment in time, I felt like a kid again.


Nour screenshot: burnt toast
Burnt toast isn't always a bad thing!

Nour's graphics are quite stunning, especially considering the contrast of how goofy the gameplay actually is. You can really push your pc to its limits with the gorgeous liquid effects and textures. While these food vignettes are smaller than a fine dining main course, they provide a good variety of cultural cuisine and environments to satisfy any craving. Top a tub full of ice cream with cherries, sprinkles and worms, then set it on fire! Burn your toast in a spectacular fashion and then tenderize the ashes. Add some food coloring to your cereal and a few too many spoons. Truly, anything goes, and the game doesn't just allow it, but encourages it. Sometimes adding too many items to the screen at once could create some rather absurd effects (like wriggling, levitating pizzas), but that was honestly half the fun.


Truly, the icing on the cake that is Nour is its stellar, interactive soundtrack. Not only are you able to manipulate the food in these minigames, but you can also influence the music, adding percussion, changing pitch and more. Not only was it fun to experiment and engage with the visual stimuli, but making little beats, blips and bleeps with the music made it even more immersive. For the most part, the soundtrack is heavily electronic with driving beats and some occasional breaks for synthetic strings. It never fails to be fun and upbeat, and I loved having some degree of influence over how each level ultimately sounded with my little inputs. The other sound effects, like the popping of boba pouring into a bubble tea or candies filling a gumball machine were equally satisfying.


It won't take you long to make your way through Nour, but there is plenty to discover in each scene, serving as reason enough to go back in for a second helping. I guess you could say it's short and sweet. Nour is bizarre, it won't fit everyone's standards for what defines a video game, but I for one loved it.


Nour: Play With Your Food
Thirsty for some non-conventional gameplay?

It's incredibly challenging to describe this game and make it sound appetizing, but I haven't had this much fun with food in a long time. As adults, we're always taught to be so serious about food. Track your nutrients, count your calories, don't over consume but make sure you're eating enough to sustain. Treat yourself, but are you really going to eat all that? Don't even get me started on tips at every takeout kiosk, soaring grocery bills, and food insecurity running rampant. There is a lot to think about here, and for good reason, but Nour is an open invitation to stop taking life so seriously for a moment and play. Not just with your food, but with your imagination. What whacky scenarios will you create with Nour? Well, that's entirely up to you. All I know is I will be going back for seconds the next time I'm having a bad day. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I need to go make myself a snack.


Pros:

+ Fun, imaginative gameplay without rules

+ Delicious graphics

+ A tasty, interactive soundtrack


Cons:

- May lack structure for some

- A short experience



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