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Posted by GG Goblin On January - 7 - 2019

Don’t stand for Grey.

Now that the Nintendo Switch has a burgeoning store containing many great games, which didn’t take as long as many expected, the tastes of almost all types of gamer are covered. Every genre of game that it is usual to see on a console now has multiple different titles on Switch, and players with a taste for the more obscure are slowly being catered for. However, there is no denying that the Switch, with its half portable, half big screen nature, is more suited to some genres more than others. Take the artistic puzzle platformer for example. Any game that combines halfway decent platforming, perhaps with a little sprinkle of puzzle complexity, along with the kind of visuals that make people sit up and take notice, is perfectly suited to sharing with others on the big screen, or enjoying in solitude on the train. That is exactly where Nomada Studios’ Gris sits as a short but incredibly memorable journey through the dream-like world created by a young girls sorrow.

gris1 (Copy)

Gris does not give much away initially, leaving the player to fill out the narrative themselves with the few clues that are available to start with. There is a young girl, and she is obviously dealing with some sort of sorrow, as the world that she has built inside herself is made up of greys, blacks and whites. It is the players task to help the young girl bring colour, and thus emotion, back into this world by exploring a level and collecting stars. These stars allow the player to move from one level to the next.

Much like the story, the gameplay too is equally vague, with only the barest instruction on a couple of occasions to tell the player what to do. Fortunately, the game is very well designed and easily leads the player to discover their abilities and how to use them before introducing something new. At its most simple, Gris is a platformer that demands a certain level of precision without falling into the hardcore category. However, things don’t stop there with the likes of boss battles to deal with, and the introduction of additional abilities such as a double jump or a weighted drop that will need to be used in order to proceed. There are some lite puzzles too, but nothing to taxing for most gamers, and some really enjoyable little sequences that mix up the gameplay and create some lovely memories. The gameplay in itself is nothing ground-breaking and has been seen before in many a game, but it is solid enough to not detract from the beauty of the experience.

gris2 (Copy)

The levels are small and invite a certain amount of exploration, but never leave the player frustrated or lost and unable to find where to go next. Gris will only run for three to four hours and, to be honest, there is not much reason to go back after the game has been completed. However, it manages to weave some kind of magic as, once the game is done, it will remain in the players mind for much longer than most games that last ten times as long. Gris may be a platformer with lite puzzling, but it is mostly an experience, and one that should be experienced by anyone with a Switch.

A lot of this experience comes down to the beautiful visuals in Gris. Right from the very beginning, it is obvious that Gris is going to be something special. The hand drawn visuals created with a water colour effect are truly something to behold, which the game appears to understand as it often pans out so the player can enjoy every ounce of the stunning back drops. The beauty is never thrust into the background, no matter what the player happens to be doing in the level, making the visual experience equal to the actual gameplay. This is a difficult trick for a game to pull off, but Gris does it admirably, giving the player every opportunity to enjoy the visuals rather than just passing through. The visuals are accompanied by a just as impressive soundtrack that seems to flow perfectly with the on-screen action, creating a dream-like state in which the player seems to be just along for the ride.

Of course, there will be some players who yearn for some spoken word, or simply want slightly more involving, or challenging, gameplay. And there will be plenty that will balk at the idea of paying the better part of £15 for a game that will only run for a few hours. I would question how much those same people would pay to go to the cinema, or buy a Blu-ray, but like anything else, Gris needs to be valued for the experience rather than just the time. If I had to find an honest problem with the game, it would be that sometimes it can be difficult to tell what is scenery and what can be interacted with. It’s no biggie, but it can be a little frustrating at times.

gris4 (Copy)

So, with a short run time and reasonably light gameplay, Gris is not going to be a game for everyone. However, anyone who enjoyed Journey, for example, will be well served here as this is all about what the player will take away after the game is done. It is also jaw-droppingly beautiful, which doesn’t hurt. Gris is a great game and would be well suited to any Switch library.




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