Solve challenging puzzles on a beautiful Japanese lacquer box and engage with stories based in early Japan: In the beginning, so the Kojiki tells, sea was sky and sky was sea.
Journey towards calmness while rotating a lacquer box, puzzle by puzzle, word by word, further in time.

In SHI•RO you reconcile past and present with empress Gemmei, travel through dark forests to invite spirits to the shrine of old Yoshida, and climb Mount Inari with a fox.

SHI•RO tells the story of an ancient empress, a lost love and a blossoming friendship. Based on the first Japanese writing, the Kojiki, you engage with an emerging world.

Over 60 handmade puzzles challenge you along the journey of empress Gemmei. Think out of the box while playing on a lacquer box! Will you help the empress to separate the sea from the sky?

SHI•RO celebrates the beauty of Japanese lacquerware by transforming your device into a lacquer box. Gold and silver shimmer in your hands while you unriddle complex geometries and find stories of depth beyond the surface.

By solving puzzles, you hear words of Japanese language, or as a native speaker of Japanese, learn words in English. Japanese Taiko drums will guide your way.

By purchasing SHI•RO, you get access to the complete first part, KURO. But more is in the making! Once we release the second part MIDORI and the third part AKA, you will be able to purchase them in-game and continue your journey.

What's New

Version 1.0.2

Added some sparkles and optimized the languages.

Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
149 Ratings
149 Ratings

A lot of artistic expression and attention to detail


This game really tries hard:

(1) beautiful graphics... serious art drawings with shimmering gold that responds to movement
(2) beautiful sounds... they sure sound like sampled percussion instruments
(3) back story... Japanese lore
(4) innovative play... puzzles are creative with accompanying sounds
(5) instructive... Japanese word spoken at each level

The user interface is very clever but confused me at first because I thought I had to navigate to a state each time I played but the game remembers where you are as you scroll down to the next constellation. What is a little confusing is that you can flip through the constellations to the middle of the game (I think):

(1) I’d suggest that it be clearer that you are continuing where you left off when you restart the game.

(2) You also should be able to go back one move and not have to start over.

(3) Lastly, how do you reset the game and start over?

Nice job.

Developer Response

Thanks for the thorough review, it's appreciated!

(1) We will try and make it clearer where you currently are puzzle and progress-wise. In general, the game will always try and put you exactly where you left off.

(2) Sometimes it helps to start fresh and try a completely different approach on the puzzle. The ability to go back a step could transform it into a trial and error experience.

(3) You can always revisit all story bits and puzzles at a later point by tapping on the stars in the constellations. At the moment the only way to reset the game is to delete it from your device and then download it again from the App Store. We will discuss putting in a feature to reset the save data.

Thanks for playing and have a nice day!

An boring and average puzzler with superior visuals and theme


The pros: beautiful graphics with delightful detail; fun to learn some Japanese vocabulary, music, and mythology; excellent production value. The cons: a (yawn) average puzzler that seems to exist independent of the story, a disappointing intrusion of Roman astronomy with Japanese theme (couldn’t use Japanese star maps?). I found myself just skipping through the puzzles with the nicely graded hint system just to see how the story ends and the game visually concludes. I did not enjoy it enough to motivate me to buy a sequel.

Doesn't seem to work


I bought this based on it being identified in the store as one of the "Games We Love". Unfortunately, it feels crude and half finished. It is apparently so non-intuitive that practically every screen needs English directions.

It has a great look, but parts don't actually seem to work. For example, at the beginning it tells you to turn the box by swiping, but there is no box; you're supposed to understand this to mean that the screen is one side of a box.

On the screen called genzai, you're told that "you can drag from one moon to another if the other moon has equal or more drops" (told you it was verbose), but this isn't true, instead the game enforces a seemingly arbitrary move order.

Wish I could get my money back.

Developer Response

Thanks for leaving your review, and we are sorry to hear that you're unhappy with these first helping bits in the game. We will discuss ways to make them more clear in the next update. Have a nice day!


the brothers grimm UG (haftungsbeschrankt)
135.2 MB
Requires iOS 10.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Spanish
Age Rating
Rated 9+ for the following:
Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes
© 2018 Topicbird, Jasper Meiners und Isabel Paehr


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