As with almost all the videos on this portfolio site, this video is entirely created by me. I wrote and read the script, captured the footage, and edited the video.
There’s also a written version of this review here.
Summary of the written review
Gris presents itself as all about loss and grief and pain. It wears these motifs heartily on its sleeve and is dutifully unashamed of obvious metaphors or tired cliches. Gris can do this because it’s beautiful and honest and I think it kinda knows it. It can show me broken statues and desolate buildings and say ‘this is inside you’ without earning a scoff or feeling insincere. Gris can do this where others may fail because it’s not all sorrow and despair. At its core, this game is really about hope as you take on the role of a girl named Gris who’s desperately in need of some.
The 2D world was always beautiful but starts off stark and desolate. As you move through it and overcome platforming and puzzle challenges it unfurls to be less sad and more alive. Though stylistically, the lovely watercolour and ink effects permeate through the entire game, if you put the first and final levels side-by-side you’d be forgiven for not linking them. There’s growth within this internal world as you slowly overcome the barriers and bring back the colour, one by one.
Movements became lighter as I played. New abilities gave me strengths to overcome obstacles but more importantly, they made me feel like I was getting better. I was strong enough to brace the winds which could have knocked me back before and agile enough to jump to new heights. Things felt more possible the further I went and though more elements combined to form tricker puzzles, I was always equipped to deal with them.
In almost every way Gris is a game about hope. You overcome the puzzles because you want to fix this world and rebuild foundations. You move forward because you want to have a voice again. Moving through the levels opens new layers of art and completing puzzles has just the right level of achievement. If you want to challenge yourself you can seek that out too but if not you can just enjoy and move on and grow. It’s just enough to sit and play through in an evening when maybe you need something to achieve and be beautiful.