Back when Journey came out I absolutely fell in love with it. The atmosphere was amazing, the sense of “you can make it, don’t give up” was fantastic, and I didn’t think a game would capture me in that same way. Well I was wrong, because GRIS happened.
GRIS recently launched on Steam and Nintendo Switch, and I first heard about it a whopping one day prior to release. How had I not heard about this game, a game that immediately gave me that same vibe that Journey did years ago when I first saw that? And thus began my journey into a world of colour and mysteries…
GRIS is about a girl in a colourless world – the primary colour that exists is grey. As she jumps, slides, and floats her way through the different levels, she’ll restore the lost colour. She’s not alone though – a mysterious bird wants to stop her, and will try and do whatever it can to halt her progress. Whether this is by chasing her down, destroying the spots in which she stands, or by trying to blow her away, you’ll need to outsmart it in order to restore the colour, and help the girl find her voice again.
The level design is absolutely amazing in GRIS. Each one has a distinctive theme, but at the same time makes good use of each ability as you gain them. Whether that is wind that tries to blow you away – up until you get the power to become a weight – or to swim through water, nothing feels left out. I did find that some of the puzzles were a bit hard to spot. More than once I would be looking around for quite some time to try and figure out where to go. Once I had to even look up a solution, just because I couldn’t actually find it.
Then comes the final level. Oh the final level. The game had so much going for it, and then it just had to throw in a section where you go upside down. Have I ever mentioned how much I despise upside down design? It makes me sick, and GRIS was no exception. Each section of moving while upside down was mercifully short, but by the end I could feel myself getting sick and was glad to be done with it.
One thing the game goes for is making sure you can never die. This does take away some of the suspense during the bird chase sequences, since you can quite literally just set down your controller. It also causes you to have to back track quite a bit if you fall in a bad place as there’s no checkpoints due to no death.
The music is completely on point and adds so much to the game. Whether it’s during a chase or just sitting around in the “hub” area, I almost always had my sound cranked up during my time playing the game.
And then there’s the graphics. One of the first things that caught my attention was how gorgeous the game looked. It plays well with the theme of colour, and each colour addition is a beautiful explosion. Also there’s your cute companion, one which I would absolutely love to have a plushie of. Someone please make it happen. Ahem, right, graphics. Going hand-in-hand with the level design, each level has its own feel in terms of graphical design. Of course, it does come down to this that some puzzles were a bit harder to distinguish.
As a whole, I absolutely recommend playing GRIS. If you suffer from motion sickness and/or just getting sick if a game throws upside down controls at you then be warned, that last level can be a toughie from it. I do wish that some sections were a bit more obvious in terms of being able to tell if it was a puzzle or not.
So seriously, why have you not bought this game yet?
This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game. I purchased the game myself, and played it in both handheld and docked modes.