Gris

Icon - Calendar Released: 13 Dec 2018
Icon - Edited Reviewed: 20 Jan 2019
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Gris

This game is beautiful, but empty. I have to agree with an RPS review that said "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 being in a watercolour painting, but it's so incredibly dull. Even though it's only a few hours long it was painful to get through, you literally just hold right for about 3 hours and that's it. The definition of walking simulator. The last hour was slightly more interesting, but the game ends just as it gets going. It deserves recognition as an art piece; it's just not a good video game.

Notes

Gris is apparently 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 in the game, 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 art portfolio.

The sound design is fantastic; the way the music and sound effects change around you 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 for the first couple of hours gameplay literally involves just walking left or right for several 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.

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