This game is beautiful, but empty. I have to agree with a RPS review that said it felt like a platformer where they’ve removed all the enemies but haven’t replaced them with anything. The music is fantastic, and it’s like walking through an interactive watercolour, but for the first 2 hours it’s incredibly dull. The last hour is a lot more interesting, but stops just as it’s getting going.
Gris is a game made by 3 men about a woman dealing with grief. Or at least, that’s what they say about the game; there’s precious little in the way of story actually included other than broken statues and the names of achievements. The game is heavily focused on the artwork over gameplay; and feels like a developer was asked to make an interactive experience to show off someone’s fine art portfolio.
The sound design is fantastic; the way the music sound and sound effect around you change as you move and do things like enter water are very immersive. The animations are beautiful - there are lots of things in the environment that react to you. My favourite was when a small creature followed you, and you helped each other to move through a level for a few minutes.
There are a couple of really innovative abilities, like being able to turn your dress in to a square, which makes you heavy and slam down. Movement is slow, and certainly for the first couple of hours, gameplay simply involves walking left or right for minutes at a time and nothing else. It picks up more towards the end where it becomes more like a platformer, but it doesn’t last long. Puzzles usually make you go back to the beginning if you make a mistake like missing a jump.
There is no danger in the game. Even in the sequences where you’re being chased by a big evil force, hinting at your need to dash or make decisions on which routes to take, you still escape the danger if you literally don’t touch the controller.
So it turns out all you need to do to win game of the year is be extremely pretty, and… not much else.
I actually didn’t enjoy it that much. It deserves recognition as an art piece; it’s just not a very good video game.
Status: Completed in 3 hours
Platform: Nintendo Switch
For more reviews, check out my Steam Quest.