A young girl, with blue hair and a long flowing black robe, stands in the palm of a giant statue of a woman, singing out into the sky.
The hand starts to crack, and she jumps around, scared, as the hand begins to crumble
She falls and falls and falls.
She lands in the white sand, and falls to her knees, in despair. Alone, having lost her home.
She pulls herself to her feet slowly, and starts to move forward.
She travels across this massive world, trying to return to a home that no longer exists.
Gris is a 2D puzzle platformer made by the Spanish game developer Nomada Studio and published by Devolver Digital
The environment and world invoke the same feeling of awe and scale that games like Journey, Shadow of the Colossus, Ico, Breath of the Wild, etc. But in a 2D game and art style, something I’ve never seen any game do before. 3D games show scale with massive open views. Areas that expand in every direction, but to do that in a 2D engine and art style, is nothing short of incredible.
A massive world, empty, full of ruins, remnants of something long gone. Initially just a white endless desert, at the end of each world you restore a color to the world, and suddenly the world is more full. Buildings and trees and environments that you couldn’t see or interact with, yet were always there, revealed in a spectacle of color and music.
The world isn’t empty though, there are constantly things just out of sight that once they see you, hide either in pots or in the ground and once you leave they pop back out and go about their day. Little creatures that live here.
This is the world you must travel with Gris. She is buffeted to and fro across this world, shunted about by forces outside her control, lost and further from home than ever before.
Mechanically, the game follows a central recurring objective. You must collect these little glowing dots, and use them to make a bridge/open doors/unlock new abilities. Generally, you will find something needing them, and must explore the nearby areas and solve puzzles to get them.
This simple foundation allows them to constantly introduce wildly different mechanics and abilities, without ever feeling like t doesn’t fit or is too ambitious, and allows it to grow and evolve in a very natural feeling way.
You even start with no abilities beyond move and jump, yet it never feels restrictive, and each unlockable addition adds so much to the world, to the challenges you face, and to the world you explore.
The soundtrack is phenomenal, composed entirely by the Spanish band Berlinist, and is an epic series of music ranging from sorrowful, to tense, to lonely, and all beautiful. The moment I finished the game, I immediately downloaded it (and it is currently available on many music platforms).
Gris is a masterpiece, a puzzle game that is a level of engaging and in depth I haven’t felt since Portal 2. And a beautiful journey across a beautiful world, and while I am avoiding mentioning many story details to avoid spoiling, it is still a thought provoking and emotional story, that made me tear up once or twice.
The only real complaint I could have is that the story may be a tad ambiguous for some tastes, but if you like platformers or Puzzle games at all, Gris is a must-try, no question about it.
Gris is currently available on PS4/PS5, Steam, Nintendo Switch, and IOS.
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