Gris Review – A Sound Platforming Adventure
Everything’s Better with Color
Gris presents a gorgeously crafted world seamlessly strung together by a colorful journey through the thoughts of a distraught mind. With tight and comfortable platforming mechanics that literally helps paint an image of unrelenting depression defeated only by the relentless efforts of our heroine, the adventure from Nomada Studios is a remarkable one. While the overall journey is relatively short, it’s an experience that’s as memorable as any other of its kind.
Check out our video summary review of Gris below:
Players begin the beautifully crafted journey as the heroine in distress, Gris. The game is an interactive piece of symbolism of a young woman who fights off personal struggles, such as depression, grief and overcoming tremendous odds. Throughout the experience players will see how Gris grows by successfully fending off inner demons and the darkness that plagues her troubled mind. The world that players are trapped in has been stripped of all color and Gris’ beautiful voice has been taken away. It’s up to her to fight off the darkness, returning color to her world through the powers harnessed from her elegant dress.
At the heart and soul of Gris players will take on a casual, yet ultimately gratifying platformer. Throughout the 4-5 hour experience players will be expected to solve a variety of environmental platforming puzzles and utilize special techniques in order to proceed further in the level. The game does an excellent job of pointing players in the right direction all without any dialogue and extremely vague tutorials. The camera pans over to your next destination; the level expands as the camera zooms out; or subtle environmental indications prompting players to simply experiment. And with the ambiance set with no active dialogue, it becomes incredibly satisfying dipping into the mesmerizing experience.
The art style and visuals within Gris are the defining qualities that makes Nomada Studios’ debut title so authentic. The hand-drawn art style and interesting tactic in creating a world stripped of all color pays off in the end as players will bring back vivid hues one by one. Witnessing the growth of the lush artistic world brought back to life the further you dive into the journey is truly a rewarding feeling; a feeling that not many games under the 5 hour mark accomplishes as well as Gris. Combine the unique and awe-inspiring art direction with the pleasurable platforming mechanics and clever environmental puzzles – and you have a winning formula for something truly memorable.
And to go along with the gorgeous art design is the serene musical score that carefully guides the player along their journey. Striking chords emphasize tense moments while subtle instrumentals sift Gris along with casually brilliant platforming. There’s never a dull moment throughout the adventure with the charming musical score as the guidance thanks to the somber, and sometimes tense musical pieces.
There’s not much to the play style of Gris. As a true platformer, players rarely have to worry about meeting their end by an overbearing enemy army or well-placed environmental hazards. Instead, players are challenged with vague platforming puzzles and taught a few unique abilities later in the game to advance onward. Turning your dress into a heavy brick to smash through weekend floors, swimming through deep waterways or the genre-favorite double jump feature all play a part in tasking the player with figuring out each step along the way. And as the game lacks real narrative or a true sense of direction, the player must pay attention to all skills acquired, as well as various level schemes from one area to the next.
Paint the World Around You
As players traverse the alluring world within Gris little white nodes are collected as key items. As players navigate their way to collecting each available node, it becomes apparent they act as stars and form constellations at specific points in the levels. Collecting the required number is one of the primary objectives for each area in the game as formed constellations may be traveled on and lead to new areas in the game. It’s obtaining each white node in which becomes a tedious task as almost every one is hidden behind intuitive methods of platforming challenges. But Gris moves ever-onward as no task or objective is to challenging for our string-willed heroine.
Along with shifting platforms or hidden pathways, the game also throws other environmental elements in play. While underwater swimming areas provide their own flexibility in challenges, there are a few other game-changing aspects in the game design as well. For instance, certain locations in the game sees players taking advantage of the 3-petal flower design which, when jumped through, causes the players to soar sky-high in order to reach new grounds. These petal rings are placed in the perfect location and sit as just another environmental cue that suggests what action the player should take next.
Another mechanic will see players floating from one platform to another as Gris utilizes her magical dress for flight. The game will also have players playing with an inverted perspective at certain points in the game, which creates an entirely different platforming experience far from the more traditional game design. These different aspects along with the short, but engaging gameplay keep players coming back for more with little in the way of monumental intimidation typically found throughout the genre.
Sticking it out and experiencing the ending of the gripping tale of Gris is well-worth the menial effort needed. And while the game itself isn’t as relentless as other platforming classics, it’s not the challenge that’s meant to hook you – but the experience itself. The subtle environmental hints that push the player forward, the satisfying progress when learning a new skill or that relieving feeling when in the midst of overcoming a tense situation embedded deep within the genetic make-up of the game, Gris is hard to put down from start to finish.
There’s a real personal relationship between the player and Gris herself, but what’s more surprising is the relationship one will have with the surreal setting. We’ve all felt overwhelmed and put in a place where giving in just seemed that much easier. But Gris shows what it means to push forward regardless of your current circumstances. No matter the situation, it’s always important to continue fighting the ongoing battle between self-preservation and the turbulent outcome of giving in to adversity.
The charming visuals and relaxing play style of the mostly casual experience, Gris is a personal story that’s told brilliantly. The perfect platforming mechanics tie-in seamlessly with the various environmental puzzles many fans of the genre come to expect. And with the ever shifting tones of color and water-color art style continuously bringing the game to life the further you continue on, Gris is an awe-inspiring adventure that’s hard to put down from start to finish.
Players will find plenty of enjoyment throughout their time with the short, yet rewarding platformer, Gris. The theme of fighting off depression by utilizing hidden powers harnessed from your own self-determination drips with personality and somber feelings. The design of lighting up the game with more colors the further you press on feels as every bit rewarding as learning new abilities to push you in directions previously unattainable. There’s a deeper meaning to the entire journey in Gris, but even if you’re not grasping the concept immediately – the adventure alone is well-worth your time.
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