I first saw Gris when I first got my Switch as it was available as a pre-order and released shortly after, and I was entranced by the artwork and knew I had to play it. And I first tried it during my 12 Days of Gaming, and with that taste, I knew I had to play through this entire game and share my thoughts.
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Gris is an indie puzzle platformer from Nomada Studio, where you play as a woman named Gris through a journey of sorrow, self-discovery, pain, and relief. Through her journey, she grows stronger and gets new powers to help her through her difficulties and facing her darkness. There is no death in this game, but there is still struggle and determination involved to help Gris regain her lost self.
First off, this game is enchanting. The art is stunning and brilliant and beautiful. I truly was in awe of the stunning visuals of this game throughout my whole playthrough. And the music and audio atmosphere the game creates are equally stunning. Berlinist composed the music, and I love it as much as I love the artwork. The use of color is particularly poignant and smartly done as well. As you progress through your journey, you unlock colors to fill the world again. And each color gives a certain aura to that moment in the game which adds another wonderful level of thematic aesthetics and storytelling tone.
I personally played this game on the Switch, as I have found that I am better at platformers with the Switch than on PC. Gameplay is very easy to learn and feels smooth. However, the controls are not perfect, at least for me. Double jump specifically was a struggle to get a hang of as it is more of a floating mechanic. I still don’t think I really got the hang of it, but I managed to complete the game regardless.
While I am not an expert at platformers, I found that the puzzles in this game were not very difficult. There were a couple of occasions where I got stuck, but that wasn’t because I didn’t know how to solve it and more so couldn’t get the double jump to work how I wanted it. Also, the game never tells you explicitly what to do which can make some parts confusing when you can go four different ways. But once you commit to going a certain way, it becomes clear how the path and journey unfold and what to do. So I don’t think not being explicit about what to do is a negative and makes sense with the game and this journey of self-discovery.
What makes this game one of my favorites I’ve ever played is the story. As someone who has internal struggles like depression, I related to Gris in many ways. The darkness she has to face and can’t actually fight, but can persevere through is all too relatable. The statue of a woman we see fall apart and build back together is a representation of Gris having to bring herself back together. We see Gris go from rock bottom, heartbroken, and missing a part of herself to then go on a journey, having to face her fears and the darkness, and potentially get swallowed by it. I cried when I finished the game that’s how touching it was to me.
To wrap up my overall thoughts, Gris was a very touching and meaningful story paired with gorgeous art, amazing music, and generally smooth gameplay. These easily became one of my top personal games because of its story and aesthetics. This may not be the most exciting or unique platformer in the genre, but if you want a wonderful story you will enjoy this treasure.
Gris is available on PC and Nintendo Switch.
Is there a game you’ve played with an incredible story that has stuck with you? Share it in a comment.