Gris Review (Switch)

GRIS

Colors are an important part of our lives. Each of them has qualities that can provoke certain emotions in people, and how they influence individuals could vary a lot depending on age, gender, and culture. Colors also have always been integral in helping the players get immersed and interpret certain elements in games, and GRIS makes a very important opening statement about that by taking from the players something they thought was predetermined.

The game starts with a monochromatic view of its desolate world. The heroine moves through an evolving canvas of pure white, and look for the next color to paint the world along the way. It’s really hard to interpret what the game actually wants to say, but it is pretty clear that it wants to overcome the potential and limitations of how colors in video games are usually implemented and interpreted.

GRIS is now available for PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch (Tested), Android and iOS.

Gris Review


It’s not easy to describe how is it like to interact with GRIS for someone who hasn’t played it. I think this is one of the few games that you really have to hold the controller in your hand to feel its warmth. The world is soundless but at the same time very loud, and its colorless yet very lifelike. Taking the first steps in this dichotomic world is like swimming through a river of cotton candy clouds, with some kind of an invisible baggage of emotions that makes you prone to drowning at any moment, and it has turned my world upside down.

After a few moments, the world starts getting engulfed in red, or more specifically, the color red starts to seep out from the girl’s inner soul in a very surreal way. I am sure if I type the world red, everyone would have a different perception of it in their minds, and that’s what makes it even harder to use only words to capture the feeling of playing GRIS, especially with its simplistic but very bold art approach that captures the spirit of the main subject and the quality of the world lines.

Gris

The existence of only one color with different saturations in the first hour of the game allows us to notice the little things we usually overlook, such as how the buildings and monuments we use for platforming are composed of geometrical shapes and clear defined lines, and how most locations have elements that automatically tries to redefine the abstract landscapes into rectangular, cubic and circular shapes. It creates a certain rhythm through the continuous repeat of these zigzag creations.

There are many variations of this art direction, and clearly its up to the eyes to see the harmony in this moving painting. However, we can’t deny that a calculated balance is already visible in the eyes, and its not an entirely incomprehensible experience. The objects on screen are not endowed with certain redeeming features that invites you to look at them, instead they are arranged in a way to create a particularly natural flow and dynamics that provides a special radiance to the layout.

Gris

Much of this is owed to the developer’s fascination with the Iwagumi aquascaping style applied in Japanese aquariums. It relies mostly on the use of one kind of stone as decorational elements, in addition to imposing further limitations following the basic design principle of “Tanshoku Tanei“, which translates to “one type of plant, one type of fish” to exist at any time. This puristic approach awards the aquasacpe with even more expressiveness, as opposed to landscapes that are usually more playful with their setting and colors.

It all plays very well into the dual-natured aspect of the narrative, and how the colors become more intertwined to provoke certain emotions from the presented shapes. Some have interpreted this game as a journey of grief over a lost loved one, passing through the five main stages until you reach acceptance and others tried to see it as a method to reconnect with your inner child, filling your empty heart with the innocence you lost after growing up.

Gris

Everything depends on how you perceive the art style of GRIS with its many intertwining elements. Motions and puzzles are very simplistic and there are no constraints of any kind, allowing for more freedom in getting absorbed in whatever you may see. The musical melodies and choral arrangements also has their own personality and calculated beats to give a wide range of sensations to our silent character. It’s just a small four hour journey but we can assure you that it will not leave you indifferent.

Finale

Finale
80 100 0 1
Any words of flattery would fall on GRIS as an understatement. It wants to be something more than the sum of its parts, and it achieves that with remarkable accuracy. It's really brilliant how everything is overwhelmingly complex and interconnected, while at the same same time leaving much room for metaphorical interpretation without being cryptic. This is one of our first and finest recommendations for inviting people who don't play video games into this never-ending sea of creativity, and everyone is bound to find one or two personal things along the way.
Any words of flattery would fall on GRIS as an understatement. It wants to be something more than the sum of its parts, and it achieves that with remarkable accuracy. It's really brilliant how everything is overwhelmingly complex and interconnected, while at the same same time leaving much room for metaphorical interpretation without being cryptic. This is one of our first and finest recommendations for inviting people who don't play video games into this never-ending sea of creativity, and everyone is bound to find one or two personal things along the way.
80/100
Total Score

The Good

  • Inspiring art style that introduces certain visual elements gradually for maximum expression
  • Many personal topics are treated with great decorum and elegance
  • Intelligent level design with a good amount of accessibility
  • Berlinist's music work is very therapeutic and intuitive

The Bad

  • Don't look forward to any complex puzzles or over the top game play segments
  • Short story span will low incentive for replyability
Total
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