Gris is a game primarily defined by its style and beauty. The game starts with a woman who appears to have lost her voice sitting on a stone statue’s hand and then falling as the statue collapses. It’s a strange opening that defies explanation at first, but it exhibits so much of what Gris is about. Gris is a game designed to be more about the visual environment connecting with the player rather than a deep gameplay system.
Gris’ world is beautiful and delivers on this promise. While the opening starts with a simplistic black and white world with some greyscale, the player is soon given their first color, red, which begins to add more color to the world and from there Gris slowly evolves the world from the dull opening to a beautiful experience that adds more color and variety each time the player completes a section of the game.
The artwork in Gris is fantastic and it would have to be since so much time and attention was spent on it. But this is obvious mostly because the rest of Gris is rather average.
Outside of the visuals of Gris, Gris is mostly a typical platformer, with a couple of abilities. Players will gain a few skills, such as the ability to turn into a heavy stone, or eventually the ability to double jump. The issue comes where so much of Gris is what players will expect from most platformers. There’s very little that evolves the genre or concepts at the core of Gris.
Players will mostly just keep moving down linear paths and solve rather simplistic puzzles, mostly involving applying their newest ability in a couple of different ways, and then facing a large enemy who will only slow down players’ progress, but never harm them.
Gris isn’t interested in challenging or deep gameplay, but rather focuses on the journey and while that’s fine, the gameplay really drags the experience back. There is one excellent section of the game, but that occurs in the final thirty minutes, however, this is out of a total of three hours of playtime. Gris is extremely short.
But Gris’ world is clearly an attempt to explore the concepts of grief and loss in a variety of ways. While Gris delivers on the themes, it feels a bit too blunt about the topic and yet also seems to avoid even dwelling on it for long. The opening and finale are clear what Gris is about, but the rest of Gris seems to hide the exploration of its main story.
Gris is a beautiful game and that’s the only reason I still can recommend it. Gris is more of an art piece than a full experience. It’s the painting on the wall of a gallery, but in the case of a gallery, visitors would see multiple different art pieces and experience them. On the other hand, expecting to pay the admission price to view one art piece like in Gris’ case will be a bit of a harder value proposition, though I still enjoyed the short time here.
Ultimately I give Gris an arbitrary
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