Gris is a game I never knew I needed and yet wish had been developed years ago. Whomever had the idea for this game has a heart made of gold. Gris’s story is one that speaks most clearly to those who have experienced intense hardship or loss. It is meant to resonate somewhere deep within your soul, a quietly rising, inspirational call to the part of you that would never give up in the face of tragedy.
What is it?
Down to the basic game play, Gris is a side scrolling, calm, artistic puzzle platformer about a girl who is overcoming loss or trauma and is trying to find her missing voice in a gently tumbling journey toward catharsis. The girl is presented with challenges and roadblocks on her journey and must find new ways, new tools within herself to overcome them. The platforming is breezy, smooth, and organic. It is difficult to lose your way. The challenge of Gris is in its clever puzzles, of which were are many, and in outpacing the circling darkness.
The Story or Lack Thereof
Gris is sometimes hard to describe, but in a good way. It leaves much up to personal interpretation, which is the main criticism of the game– that it has no story. This is not true. The story is whatever makes the most sense to each individual player. Gris is metaphoric, melancholy yet uplifting, crushing at times, then warmly encouraging. Hauntingly beautiful organ and piano music sends chills down one’s spine with dramatic swells and thoughtful, comforting ebbs. This is a tale meant to make you feel.
World of Color
Gris is one of the best examples of video games as art that I have ever seen. As you move through the world of Gris, you bring the color back into the girl’s life along with her voice, starting from black and white, until the land is aglow with brilliance. The pacing between sections of the game adeptly designed, never lingering too long before presenting you with something fresh. The graphics are delicately detailed, each new area awash with a carefully curated surge of new colors. Every screen shot of from Gris could be a gorgeous desktop background or screensaver, no matter when or where you are.
Made With Heart
Gris plays your heartstrings like a violin. It reminds me of Journey in its pace, aesthetic, and teasing mystery. This game is an emotional experience and you can literally feel the care and love with which it was made. Every aspect of Gris is either breathtaking or inspiring. The only thing that would have made Gris better for me is if it had been longer. Only a few short hours (about four) was not nearly enough.
This is one of my shorter reviews so far because Gris is so visually focused. Just look at the screen shots to see the appeal. This is a game made to be experienced, not described. It needs no words. Pardon my tendency to wax poetic, but I cannot understate the pure magic and inspiration that await you with this imaginative title. Gris is easily a 9/10 and one of the best releases that came from 2018.
Thank you for reading!
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