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The first impression of GRIS is that it’s a beautiful game. The artwork only grows more lovely the further in you get. Nomada Studio has delivered their first AAA indie title and we love it.

Immediately upon seeing a few screenshots or a trailer it is striking how exceptionally beautiful GRIS is. That is not a promotional trick. GRIS holds this style from start to finish, without forgetting that it’s also a game. In GRIS you play as a young woman who tries to give a painful experience a place in her life. By discovering the game world, she learns new skills and new ways to see her environment. This creates new paths that ultimately lead her (and you) to her final goal.

GRIS takes you to high peaks and deep valleys. Sometimes you sink so deep that you don’t know how you will ever get out of it again. Later you fly so high that the universe is at your feet. The game paints a light, magical world in which it is a pleasure to walk around and discover secrets. Yet darkness is always lurking. The goal is to collect luminous balls in the world. If you bring it back to a temple, the balls turn into stars and a bridge appears over which you can continue.

Never really difficult

With the risk of repeating: GRIS is beautiful, the world is beautiful, the animations are fluid and smooth. Playing GRIS is like seeing beautiful drawings come to life. Chances are that from the opening scene to the credits, which you reach after three to four hours, you just stare at the screen and briefly forget everything around you.

Yet the game is not only beautiful to watch. GRIS also does smart things with the themes in this world, such as wind, water and light, in combination with the platform elements. Such as objects that only exist when light shines on them, floating water platforms between which you dive and gusts of wind that push you further. Some sources of inspiration for the game are immediately clear. Gris feels like something entirely fresh that is aware when it winks at examples like Journey and Child of Light.

New skills

To progress further in GRIS you develop new skills that, as it were, stick to your dress. The first force seems to fall out of tune with the subtlety of the rest of the game: suddenly you can turn into a heavy, square block. Such a block dress is useful to defend you against the wind, or to destroy pieces of stone. Later you develop more powers, for example to make a double jump or to swim freely in the water.

The game takes you on a smooth, relaxing journey. The game will never be difficult, although you have to stare at a puzzle here and there until you see the solution. The forces offer variety, so that the adventure never fails. Even the smartest pieces of gameplay are not endlessly repeated, but receive just enough attention to stay fun. It does sometimes feel strange if the game takes control of you in the service of the story.

This story is quite thin by the way. Without words the game tells about dealing with loss, although it remains ambiguous as to what exactly is being told. The power of GRIS is in its pure beauty. The drawing style, animations, the use of color, the music and the smart gameplay; everything is right and you constantly encounter surprises everywhere. The only nasty surprise is that GRIS will eventually end.

Verdict:

Beautiful drawings come to life in this unique platformer that never bores. GRIS is visually and musically one of the strongest games of 2018 (and presumably 2019 as well). Although the game never challenges you, it knows how to touch you through a strong interaction between drawing style, music and interactivity. Encased in a story about sadness, struggle and acceptance, GRIS is an experience that you will not soon forget.

Available now for Steam and Nintendo Switch for more information see Nomada Studio.

About author

Jorge Wolters Gregório

Gamer dad who loves the classics, indies, racers and the occasional shooter. Have been in the industry for almost two decades now and am as enthusiastic as ever! #4theplayers

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