Ryan's Always Right: Gris
Gris is an innovative puzzle platformer boasting a “serene and evocative experience, free of danger, frustration or death.” Gris initially caught my eye due to its beautiful, unique art style. Is the game as charming as its aesthetic?
Gris tells the story of a hopeful young girl who is lost in a bleak, colorless world. While this strange new reality isn’t dangerous, its tones of hopelessness and sorrow are strongly radiated. You must guide Gris on a journey to find her voice and overcome her sorrow, restoring color and life to the world around her.
In Gris, there is no text or dialogue. Instead, the story is told subtly through the music, artwork, and evolving gameplay mechanics. As you progress through the game and learn more abilities, Gris and the world change as well. Color floods into the world like paint on canvas and new life is awoken in game. Make no mistake, while the game itself is quite enjoyable, the artwork certainly takes center stage here.
Speaking of gameplay, Gris is both incredibly unique and incredibly familiar. Unlike most platformers, it is impossible to die or fail in Gris. There are no lives, no enemies, and no dangers. This has its benefits because it enables the player to focus on the artwork and the narrative and makes the game accessible for players of all skill levels. That said it also has its downsides. For example, the lack of any threat makes the situations that are supposed to be pulse-pounding and suspenseful feel much less intense.
As unique as Gris is in many aspects, it also felt similar to its contemporaries in several regards. The narrative style felt similar to Limbo or Inside. The bird and chase scenes were reminiscent of Ori and the Blind Forest. The story itself reminded me of Transistor. This isn’t a knock against Gris by any means; in fact these were all great elements of fantastic games. I merely bring this up to point out that Gris isn’t some entirely off-the-wall, avant garde game that only artsy people will like. Gris has an extremely wide appeal and likely offers something for just about everyone.
Gris provides a simple, yet satisfying puzzle platformer experience. Although the game is easy enough for even a complete novice to complete and enjoy, it’s unique and captivating enough to entice even the most seasoned of gamers. With gorgeous music, a captivating world, and seamless puzzle platforming, Gris offers a delightful gameplay experience wrapped in a one-of-a-kind artistic spectacle. Ryan’s Rating: 4.5/5 Gris retails for $17 and is available on PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Mobile.