By: Derek Yu

On: January 6th, 2010


Nifflas, the creator of Knytt, Knytt Stories, and Within a Deep Forest, released a new game at the tail end of 2009. Saira is another platformer in Nifflas’s non-violent, minimalistic style. Unlike his previous games, however, Saira features high-resolution graphics that mix hand-drawn artwork with photographs. Aside from the graphical differences, the game also has a lot more puzzle-solving than Knytt or WaDF, typically in the form of small command consoles that require you to input codes and play minigames. I’m ambivalent about the minigames, which kind of take away from the platforming for me, but it hasn’t been a deal-breaker yet. Partway through the game, Nifflasand I feel like the story and environments are fun enough to jump through that the game’s small faults do not bring it down too much.

Also, happy birthday, Nifflas! Dude turns 27 today (January 6th)! In celebration, he’s providing a discount to the game. For the next two weeks, the full version of Saira will cost $12 USD, down from $17, and you can also buy a gift code for $1.50 with each purchase. This deal will last until January 20th.

Those of you who are interested in a level editor for the game can find it here, at Nifflas’s support forums.

TIGdb: Entry for Saira

  • menaia

    Knytt was free :/

  • jsut

    A man’s got to earn a living.

  • solow

    You could always pirate the full version without paying. But then, for me, pirating an already cheap, home-brewed indie game for free feels a bit like kicking a puppy or stomping on a kitten.

    I would buy it (even despite being a broke student) but my budget laptop can only run the demo in slow motion. But damn… I love the level backgrounds Saira has.

  • Q

    I whished there was a paypal without fixed fees.
    I could donate 1 to 5€/$ whatever to every pirated thing I have arround.
    If many people did that it was quite somethig I guess.
    (I won’t pay for a game that’s fun vor 40 minutes but and a crappy demo (not speaking of this one))
    and speaking of music, oh my, who can afford to listen through an Album a day?

  • dbb

    I really like Knytt and Knytt stories, and as a result was really looking forward to this. But I was really disappointed by the demo. For me, it’s the graphics that let it down. While Knytt had really consistent, beautifully-designed graphics, the combination of blurry photographs and flat vector art in Saira just looks like a mess to me. This might not have been a problem in a different sort of game, but in an exploration-based platformer the main motivation to keep playing is finding more scenery to look at and soaking up the atmosphere.

  • jrjellybeans

    I just made a post on my blog how this game isn’t getting any coverage…


    In any case, the game LOOKS beautiful, but I didn’t really like Kyntt stories.

  • ZeppMan217

    I totally agree with **dbb**. But I would also like to add that this planetary control system looks a bit…odd.

  • paul eres

    i don’t understand not liking the graphics, i thought they were a big step up from knytt; knytt had a cute and pretty pixel art style, and this tries something different, a style i haven’t really seen in games before, and i much prefer games that try new visual styles out, it looks fantastic

    i haven’t gotten far enough into the game yet due to lack of time, but i plan to, sometime this year

  • The Monster King

    From that screenshot I have to agree with dbb, that looks messy as hell, trying new graphic styles doesn’t mean WHOA INSTANT ARTISTIC SUCCESS YOU DID SOMETHING NEW, and it’s usually pretty important to have visual unity.

    ‘Course maybe it looks better in action, sort of like Iji, but even then that had a very constant, definite style.

  • Arthur

    Never before in my life have I beheld such horror. Pierre de la Croix is dead now. But of course, I can no longer afford to surrender the house to them.

  • Death Of Rats

    Will this be coming out on Steam?

  • Pnx

    I actually quite like a lot of the backgrounds and styles that are used, but it does feel graphically unpolished. In particular I didn’t much like the way the avatar moves, it felt great in knytt but here it feels jerky, she stands upright the entire time, it takes away some of the tactile feel of the game.

  • William

    Comments are very sad here…
    Well, we offer a full-game activation code cause we like this game :

  • mots

    I thought it looked good.. the foreground does look a little flat but I like the background and the scrolling.

    the platforming feels a little looser than Knytt, I didn’t have as much fun playing Saira as I did Knytt and Knytt Stories. It’s still a good game

  • The Vagrant Werewolf

    It’s an interesting little game, but I never really got any kind of feel for it. From the outset it felt more than a little disjointed with the clash of visual styles, and the puzzles being in TINY-O-VISION didn’t help me out either (I have poor sight). I had to use Windows Mangifier for those.

    All in all, I couldn’t feel any kind of soul there. Within a Deep Forest, Knytt, and Knytt Stories were all about soul and passion, there was love there, it flowed throughout those virtual worlds. It gave them a sense of life, of a living, breathing thing, that Sairah sadly doesn’t have.

    Sairah feels more like a commercial venture. It almost resonates the idea that it’s there to make some money to fund Night Game. Well, I’ve donated to Niffflas a bunch of times anyway for the joy he’s given me in the past.

    And I would pay good money for a Knytt Stories campaign in the style of Nifflas’ own Knytt Stories levels, providing that they were the same kind of labour of love I’ve come to expect from him.

  • Hempuli

    It’s kind of harsh to judge if someone has put love into something or not. While I agree that the way the puzzles are handled could be better, I think the scenery is mostly very consistent and good-looking.

  • contra

    While I’ll always prefer pixelart before photos etc the screenshots of Saira doesent do the graphics justice at all. I thought the game looked like crap by the screens but when you actually play the game theres lots of paralax scrolling & animated effects going on that makes the game quite beutiful.

    However, the playercharacter does look like crap. The skeleton/physics type of thing never works. It makes the character look very stiff like a puppet on a string. And this is the games main problem imo. I wasnt a huge knytt-fan but I did enjoy them very much mainly because the platforming (actual gameplay) was excellent. In Saira the platforming feels way worse. They are 2 diffrent games but still similiar enough to be compared. So in a nutshell; Siara = a slower Knytt with worse platforming and added puzzles. To me thats a bad trade.

  • Adamski

    Saying something “looks like crap” is kinda harsh, or could at least be worded a little more tactfully >_<;

  • Adamski

    As for Saira, although I wasn’t keen on some of the presentation, I thought it was definatley a step in the right direction, the graphics are a lot better than Knytt (alot of Knytt fan boys will deny this) but then it’s not knytt.

    Also, I thought the movement was fine? I didn’t even think to critisize that..

  • JonnyB0T

    Count me in as disappointed as well. Knytt’s mechanics don’t seem to translate as well to the new visual style.

    The game also crashed on me 7 screens in. I’ll give it another shot, but this one hasn’t grabbed me from the start like his previous games.

    @Adamski That’s pretty subjective, don’t you think? Knytt/Stories and WADF are beautiful, beautiful games that I immediately wanted to share with my girlfriend. With this one, I was more like ‘meh.’ Does this make me a fanboy?

  • Adamski

    Yes, completely.

  • The Vagrant Werewolf


    “It’s kind of harsh to judge if someone has put love into something or not.”

    If you’re talking about my post, then I think you’re misunderstanding me.

    First of all, it was a personal opinion and not a judgement. After all, I’d need to be in a position of authority to make such a judgement, and I have no such authority. Therefore I was offering my thoughts on the matter, and expressing what I felt about the game.

    I wasn’t trying to quantify the game or the elements of it, as I would be the first to realise that such a task would be quite impossible. Therefore I wasn’t trying to quantify the amount of love that went into the game.

    What I was getting at was how I felt about the game and how the game made me feel. And I came away from Sairah not feeling the game at all, I couldn’t get any sense of soul or passion from it. Whether Nifflas was passionate about it or not, I’m not sure… but it came over as a little too dead compared to Knytt and Knytt Stories, and that made it seem much less a labour of love.

    There were many scenes in Knytt and Knytt Stories that made me smile, dead ends with little things thrown in to see, little additions that served no purpose but just added to the overall aesthetic and sense of exploration and adventure.

    The bottom line is that if expressing how a game made me feel about it, and expressing the vibes I got from the game is harsh, then… er, what isn’t harsh?

    There’s no need to escalate my opinion from an opinion into some kind of grand judgement, it was never meant to be so. I just think that Sairah lacks that feeling of being worked and worked at until it shone with brilliance that Knytt and Knytt Stories had.

    Opinion, s’all.

    “While I agree that the way the puzzles are handled could be better, I think the scenery is mostly very consistent and good-looking.”

    And that’s your opinion, yeah? You’re welcome to it. I just care to disagree.

  • kongming

    The game looks fine you damn nerds, Jesus Christ.

    Everybody’s a graphics whore, it’s just indie gamers are graphics whores for 2D/retro.

  • O

    Screenshot looks like an old DOS golf game.

  • salade

    Man, this game doesn’t run well on any of my various unperforming computers. =(

    there is actually something to be said about this since it breaks away from the whole minimalistic vibe nifflas had going. I’m fine with the look of the game – it’s just as good if not better than knytt and such – but when it comes at the cost of a well running game (keep in mind that this was made with Multimedia Fusion) than it’s a bit of a step backwards.

    I’m not suggesting that Nifflas needs to either make simpler games or learn how to write a natively running game, but ultimately he has lost a sale. Lose-Lose. dammit.

  • Zukka Rommstein

    The first Level (the one in the screenshot above)actually looks much worse than most the rest of the levels.

    Dont let that put you off.

  • Sergio

    I really liked this game. I also gave it to my mother as a Christmas present (it briefly pried her away from Spelunky) and she really like it.

    Nifflas, if you’re reading this, TIGSource comments threads probably contain some of the harshest criticism I’ve seen on the net, so don’t be discouraged. That’s not to say you should ignore all the negative feedback entirely, though.

  • Ninomojo

    kongming nailed it.

  • Liquixcat

    ‘Bout time he started charging money.

    I just played the demo, very interesting. The ambiance is on par as always, refreshing new outlook on style.

    Missed your Bday, sorry Niff. Happy belated.