GRIS from Nomada Studio and Devolver Digital is a colorful, charming and very unique adventure platformer on Nintendo Switch that is a must-play. Find out why in our GRIS review!
GRIS places you in the shoes of the titular main character, a girl who is dealing with a painful experience in a very peculiar way. Your journey begins after her collapse into sadness, which you can tell from the way her previously animated and colorful dress is two somber tones of gray, and because of how Gris walks with her head down. You can only help her walk forward, and if you try to use any of the face buttons to try and make her jump or perform another action, she will only fall down on her knees, slowly taking deep breaths while lying on the ground as the wind caresses her hair.
The first location you’re walking through is also very somber, with nothing but white land, some small hills on the background, and the white mist that envelops you. It is not until she falls down to the ground on her own one last time that she manages to get up, regain her strength, and decides to do something about it – she’s now able to at least run and jump. The environment will start to change as well, with some rocks here and there as well as flora of peculiar shapes joining the scene.
A few minutes into the game you will run into your first puzzle. You are tasked with building a bridge, for which you need to collect three blowing sprites. You will already have two with you, but getting the third one will require some extra work. Even though you can see it floating at the top of a tall structure, you have no way of reaching it, so you will need to continue exploring the surrounding structures to find a solution to the conundrum at hand. Turns out that while you are looking for a third sprite to finish one bridge that does not mean you can’t use the two around you to complete another one that will lead you towards the sprite you’re missing.
As you explore the game, you will start to bring back color into Gris’ life as she manages to slowly but surely overcome her situation. Red will be the first color that will rejoin your world, and, at least in my case, it will make you feel even more desolate than when black, white and tones of grey where all you had to look around at. It is not until green is recovered that things start to come back to life, with the contrast between red and green makes the new green flora stand out even more.
You will gain some abilities here and there as you go, introducing new gameplay elements into the mix to keep going until the end. At one point you will run into strong winds from a red sandstorm that make you roll back and knock you on your feet as you grab onto the ground to try and survive. Later on in that stage you will get an ability that will allow you yo turn your dress into a heavy and solid square, which will allow you to resist the winds as well as completely destroy things that are already partially broken, or using that extra weight to activate moving structures to progress in the game.
There are some collectibles you can find that look like glowing sets of circles. Touch one, and it will stop moving. They will require you to think a bit outside the box, as well as for you to go a bit out of your way to find them. My suggestion is that you always explore up, down, left and right in each new area you reach, since you never know if one has been hidden on the path that leads to a dead end, or high up in the sky after a platforming section that will require some solid timing for you to make the jumps before the window of opportunity closes. These extra sections are completely optional and do add something extra to do on the side.
I have to mention the game’s gorgeous art style, a hand-drawn affair from Conran Roset. As you play, you will feel as if you’re going through several watercolor paintings that have come to life. You’ve seen the game’s trailer above and the many screens used for this review, and I’m sure you agree that the game looks and feels unlike anything else you’ve played before. The music from Berlinist is also excellent and helps to convey the different emotions that Gris is going through while also accentuating key moments in the game You can get the official game poster based on Conran Roset’s main image or some of the other poster available for the game’s launch, you can do so directly from the studio by clicking right here. And if you want to get the soundtrack, it’s available at this link.
Spanish indie team Nomada Studio has done an outstanding job with GRIS, giving us a must-have Nintendo Switch release before the year is over. The fact that this is the first game from the studio is amazing, and I can’t wait to see what they work on next. Kudos also to Devolver Digital as well for seeing how GRIS could be a great game to have on the Nintendo Switch. Go buy it today!
This GRIS review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Devolver Digital.