Gris attempts to show the feelings of fear and loss of agency through a beautifully hand-drawn platform-adventure. You plunge into this stunning world as the titular character, who has lost her voice and therefore her agency. In the beginning, she is weak, barely able to walk, consistently attacked by fear and pain that take shape in the form of a flock of birds that plagues your journey throughout. By the end you develop into a strong character, moving around the evolving landscape with fluidity and grace.
Gris tells the story of how she managed to face her fears and recovered from the darkest moments of her life. Nomada shows Gris conquering her fears in a fantastic way, wonderfully crafting the world with watercolours and a hand-drawn environment. At the beginning of the game, the world is bleak, dark and airy, whilst you progress colours are added to the world, representing the overcoming of fears and become a symbol of hope and happiness. The art-style progresses as well becoming smother and less ruined, not to say it isn’t stunning in its early stages but it becomes more complex, adding more layers and allowing you to progress further into the game.
Just like the artwork, the gameplay also evolves as you unlock more skills, new puzzles and obstacles become readily available for you to take on. The abilities are perfectly crafted into the story and show the growth in Gris’ hope and strength in character.
At the beginning of her journey, Gris is weak, unable to put one foot in front of the other and quickly earns the basic abilities to run and jump her way through obstacles. However, as you progress you are able to earn a number of abilities through your dress. Gris has to endure through frustrating winds that constantly push you back several paces and you have to proceed with caution to progress through the level. Soon enough you learn the ability to become a rock which allows you to slowly progress through the following levels with little difficulty. By the end, Gris becomes free of fear moving swiftly and fluidly through the colourful world. What is really interesting about this game is that what you would consider obstacles early on in the game becomes an opportunity, for example, the wind helps propel you to new heights.
However, Gris is not a game you can play with caution, you are forced to take risks and throw yourself off the edge. There is a particular part of the story that shows this is full flow, there are certain plants that provide light when close by, revealing new parts. I remember standing on the edge not knowing what to do and just taking that leap of faith allowed me to move on. This was so powerful showing that taking that leap of faith can potentially help gain the power to overcome fear.
One thing I have to mention is the fantastic score that literally sent shivers down my spine, the score is fantastic and is another platform to show Gris’ journey through her struggles. As you progress, you can feel Gris’ hope grow stronger as she attempts to face her fear. You can find the OST on Spotify if you want a sneak peek.
Gris is a stunning game in terms of art-work, score and narrative, it’s only a couple of hours long but you will truly go through the motions playing this. I could only hope to explore more. The environment is interactive, in a way makes think how you can use it to your advantage to overcome your journey, it wants you to do this, with a number of birds and other creatures that inhabit the water-coloured world. There are a number of message throughout the game about escaping dark times and finding hope, that just makes this simply a great narrative-driven game.