Would you like to come to my house for dinner? I've got lots of different things I can cook for you. Look, here are some of my favourites.
I like to have burgers on Tuesdays but it can get a bit messy!
On Wednesday's it's ramen and oh boy do I love to stuff everything in!
And then on Sundays it's pancakes and no one can ever finish them!
Which day do you want to come?
Nour is a game about being silly. It's a game that, quite literally, wants you to play with your food. It will present you with around 20 culinary scenarios and then say hey, do as you please. Throw the food around. Have fun.
And well, I call it a game but there's no rigid game-like structure in it. I suppose it's more like a technical demo if you want to be picky, or a toy. A fidget spinner of a game. And that someone bothered making all this food look so plump and fleshy and playful at all feels like cause for celebration to me.
Nour works like this. You choose a new level from a cloche-bedecked table, and find it themed around a dish. Then, you press buttons (which I find easier on a controller) to make different fillings fall down from the sky. If we were on the burger level, that would mean patties and bacon and plastic cheese would fall from the sky, and many other things. And there's no limit to how much you can drop, so you can really pile it up if you want to. In fact, it feels like you're encouraged to. Because the more you pile up, the more your power builds until you're ready to unleash some magic.
Quick interjection: this is obviously not a serious cooking game, although you can cook things like eggs and toast the bread and colour the bacon. So you can cook, it's just that you probably shouldn't do it seriously.
Magic! That's how ridiculous this game is. See that picture of the ramen above: that's what happens when you use the "scale" spell. Pancakes don't usually get that big. Conversely, you can make things go very small, which also looks silly. And you can make things dance, which looks silly too. Do you sense a theme?
There are tools, too, like blowtorches, because why not? Gordon Ramsay uses them, and he's not here to tell us otherwise, so light it up! Or smash everything with a tenderising hammer, and discover the strange things it does to pieces of bread.
Or... shake some salt? How jarringly tame. Though I think the salt speaks to a hidden layer or pursuit in the game whereby people do actually try to make nice-looking food. That might sound simple but the controls are such that it's not. Nour is a bit like comedy sports game QWOP in that regard, in that you'll know what you want to do but be incapable of doing it, and that's where a lot of the laughs are supposed to come from. My only gripe with Nour is that it often comes off feeling more annoying than amusing. I find not being able to pull the camera around as I want to very aggravating.
But otherwise, I love Nour. I love that a game or a toy like this exists at all. There's no pressure, no demands put on you, it's just a box of fun things to play with in imaginative ways. Something to keep the mind occupied and bring you a bit of silliness and joy. And who doesn't want a bit of that.