Saira is a 2D, non-linear platform game with a focus on swift movement and puzzles. In graphical design and themes it builds on previous titles such as Within a Deep Forest and the Knytt series. Players get to visit six galaxies with fourteen planets in total. The overall goal is to gather the missing parts to finish the teleportation device: a targeting unit, an impulse charge and a fuse. There are however different types and the quality of the equipment eventually leads to six different endings. The individual levels on the planets are not linear either. As the focus is on exploring, there are many different areas to discover and often puzzles and clues stretch along different planets. Saira can visit any solar system at any time as long as there is enough battery power for the spaceship. It can be recharged using a generator, available in every solar system, but it usually takes some exploring to get it to work. Each planet has a distinct theme, often with different rules involving gravity, toxic radiation, and specific hazards and enemies.
The game is defined by its fluent movement that allows Saira to run, cling to ledges, climb up quickly, walljump and slide up or down walls. Certain pools also allow her to turn into a bright object and fly for a short moment. There are many small puzzles, shown on digital devices, that need to be solved in order to progress. Often they rely on logic, but many times they require clues found scattered around the worlds as well. To help Saira remember a certain sequence in the background for instance, she can take pictures of an area of the game screen and store these on her PDA to view them later. Other PDA functions include an inventory for items, a device solver that helps with mechanical objects found in the game world and teleport options back to the spaceship or to the last checkpoint. When she travels to a different galaxy it can take quite some time. For the duration the player can follow the route on the starmap, read about the destination in a space exploration guide or play a complex game of pinball.
The game consists of one, very large episode, but it is open for modding with custom episodes as well and a graphical editor was made available after the release. Saira is also the first commercial release by Nicklas Nygren.
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