As the game starts you’ll witness the main character, Gris, losing her voice. This seems to be both literal and symbolic as you then begin your initial journey through a landscape of colorless ruins. While in the beginning the gameplay is very basic, with you only having the ability to jump, it doesn’t take too long before you’ll notice things of interest along the periphery to find a way to obtain and some puzzles as well. Through the course of the game, and as you overcome different challenges, you’ll gain new abilities that you’ll get an initial introduction to will then quickly be expected to apply. Sometimes you’ll need to be extra observant along the way, looking for cues like a slightly thicker or differently-colored piece of floor or in how the world (or creatures in it) react to your actions, but pretty well all of the puzzles in the game push back just enough to make you feel good about overcoming them without necessarily becoming aggravating. While the gameplay is satisfying, and manages not to be deficient when compared to the ambitions of the title’s artistic aspirations, it really is the amazing feast for the senses GRIS offers that makes it stand out. Along your journey the dreary grays of the landscape will slowly become imbued with new shades of red, green, blue, and yellow, making everything more beautiful while thematically representing the main character’s progress in overcoming her own emotional challenge. Not enough can be said about the artistry of the game and just how elaborate the details are all around you, even in small and insignificant things. Even with that attention to minute details one amazing thing the game does numerous times is slowly pull back to allow you to see the grand scale of what’s going on beyond your immediate experience. This makes for some some amazing visual flourishes that are memorable. All of these great visuals are then backed by a phenomenal soundtrack that pairs extremely well with the action on the screen, pulling back for simpler moments and then hitting a crescendo when things get more grand. GRIS manages to blend everything together to deliver one of the most powerful experiences I’ve enjoyed all year. While its runtime is only a handful of hours rushing through it would be a shame, as it really is worth taking the time to savor all along the way. Once you complete the main game you’ll have the opportunity to return and try to track down the optional objectives you missed, those things that were on the periphery you either missed or may have not been able to figure out how to get to. This is a journey I’d very much recommend to just about anyone, it is highly approachable, meaningful, and satisfying on pretty well all levels. It may not be a terribly long game but it is one that will stick with you and encourage a periodic playthroughs in the future to experience it all once again.
Justin Nation, Score: