Sunday, January 13, 2019

GRIS Review: Like Living Artwork!

Beautiful and charming are not the two words associated with a game from small developers. Both words are more often directed at giant games with large budgets that are designed to replicate conditions in the real world, from just textures to the quality of lighting. That when a dynamic weather effect arises or changes in the day makes the lighting effect look realistic in various angles, reactions and compliments like this that we will make. But it is not uncommon for us to meet a situation where indie games, with all their creative abilities, actually look stunning in this aspect. Not through the same approach as most AAA games, but offering something unique, beautiful, and strong at the same time. This is what makes the eyes of many gamers looking at the latest project called GRIS from the publisher - Devolver Digital and developer - Nomada Studio, which contains talents who had worked under the Square Enix and Ubisoft flags. Looks like a living painting, the game whose first trailer was indeed heavy towards this platformer seemed to spoil the eyes in the midst of all the simplicity he stretched out. The opportunity to experiment directly with the project that was introduced at the previous Gamescom 2018 finally surfaced. Through the title we chose above, it seems that you already know that we ended up falling in love with him. So, what is actually offered by GRIS? Why do we make it a game like a living piece of art? This review will discuss it more deeply for you.


Like most games with an "art" approach like this, GRIS is a game that from the beginning is played clearly has a strong parable meaning. That the real story is not from what you see on the screen, it still means the metaphor that slides from every action, consequence, and flowing storyline. Everything is conveyed implicitly, without a truly clear dialogue. Above the surface, you act as an anonymous female character who at first seems to be trying to restore the colorless world around her, which is also represented by a giant statue of an anonymous woman. In the midst of the confusion, he fell from the giant's hand. Situations that make it inevitably have to move on to find a definite solution. The woman finally found a special point that allows her to move to four different directions to collect a point of light that symbolizes the stars in space. The star that made him have to pass through the various obstacles of this platform to be the key he believed in, would enable him to reach a higher place and therefore find a solution to restore this sad world. Every star he collects will follow this girl, create roads and bridges if needed, and will return to the constellation that should be as soon as he returns to the center. While walking, he will also find a variety of new strengths that are all pinned on the dress he wears, from turning it into a heavy beam, drifting, swimming quickly, to singing in a beautiful voice. Then, can this girl save this sad world? What challenges must he face? Can he restore a woman's body that has fallen apart? You can get answers to these questions by playing GRIS, which has no gameplay time.

Beautiful, evocative

Beautiful is the first reaction that you might make when you see what was achieved by Nomada Studio with GRIS. The visual approach is made so that you feel like you are playing a painting that is now moving interactively with the action you take with an existing keyboard or controller. The details offered are not intended for example to photograph the anatomy of the main character's body as real as possible, but rather lead to efforts to capture the atmosphere that matches the world he faces. What you find is characters with faces full of detail, attractive color designs, fantastic motion animations, but only move with legs and arms that are just drawn as a straight line. Something that really fits the world that is so abstract. We talk about the world which, although supported by a number of different themes, from the forest to ancient ruins has so much space and objects that you will not find in the real world. There are trees with cube-shaped leaves that sometimes can also arise and sink with certain timings, water that floats in space, white lines in the middle of the stage that can twist gravity, to just the design of the animals and monsters that you find in it. Obviously from the very beginning you looked at it, GRIS brought you into a world that clearly wanted to represent something. The main character is also slow but sure, along with the travel progress, showing different reactions and colors. By approaching an implicit story like this, then your only way to understand what the developer wants to convey via GRIS is simply to "feel". Through empathy and sympathy, trying to understand the struggle as what the main character must pass to improve so many things that can end up being a symbol of a problem faced in the real world. But given that storytelling styles like this also won't come to get specific clarification to justify or blame, you are given the freedom to make your own interpretations. For us? GRIS seems to lead to a portrait of a woman who is having a complicated problem and has a messy body image that struggles, amid her sadness and anger, to rediscover her trust and affection. Positive emotions presented by the main female characters without this name. The two thumbs up is of course appropriate to be directed at the sound and music in GRIS which truly captures the emotional side without the dialogue that he wants to inject, while building the right atmosphere to build the mood of play that according to the developer, you must feel at the moment you should. The approach and quality must be given a thumbs up because there are some moments that strangely through the help of music, managed to make us tense, sad, and even creep with hair while standing up against a certain scene. For a game without dialogue and only offering animated gestures and faces as expressions, this is an achievement worth talking about. With an approach like the one offered by GRIS, obviously this is not a game designed for everyone. If you are a gamer who has difficulty reading metaphors and it is difficult to empathize or sympathize, then he will end up feeling like a platformer game with beautiful visuals that will take you through the middle of nowhere without any clarity. But if you can put and translate various symbols that you try to photograph here? There is something strong enough to make your heart vibrate inside GRIS.

Simple Puzzle

If the symbolization and visualization that he is carrying out makes it feel like a work of art, then what about the GRIS gameplay side itself? In the end, it is a simple platformer game with puzzles that only need a little rationalization to complete. At the beginning, GRIS feels like a walking simulator game, where you only have to run and jump over the various paths that exist. But along with the progress of the story, there will be more challenges that require a little work power of your brain. The girl is slow but sure, will get a new power that will help her through the various obstacles that exist at once, accessing a place that is deeper, higher, or far away. At the beginning, he could turn his dress into a heavy and hard beam. Changing this dress makes it unable to be hit by strong winds for example. You can also make it a cracked floor crusher or just a ballast to make the structure of the building unbalanced or slightly depressed. The girl will then be strengthened with the ability to float, swim, and also sing. Floating can be used to access higher ground and singing can make the closest specific plants bloom and open a new puzzle or platform solution to skip. The complexity of the puzzle will certainly increase along with the journey of the game, where you have to pay close attention to what you can do at each level, considering that there is no clear clue to it. Some game points also provide a fairly open level design where you are free to move to the existing level branch to get starlight which is indeed the focus of GRIS exploration itself. Which is interesting? Apart from the side of the action where the girl can do various things to solve puzzles and the like, GRIS does not have a game over system. There is no enemy that you have to fight, a super high-level platformer that can make you die instantly, or the side of a platformer that is so complex that you have to press a super-fast key combination. GRIS is a platformer game that can be called "relaxed", where despite the challenges, it remains a game that asks you to enjoy the world and its atmosphere well. Even for the sequence where you are faced with a clear threat though, there is a "security system" with automatic animation pieces that make the girl automatically avoid. You can't die at GRIS. Using a little of your brain's ability to solve existing puzzles while training your muscle memory to access the right capabilities at the right time, GRIS actually also injects side missions where you can collect larger light balls that usually require more complex sequences of actions and solutions. But to solve it, you don't need to pass it.


GRIS is a beautiful game, no one can deny that. His fantastic presentation side in terms of visuals and audio makes him a charming indie platformer game that is ready to steal anyone's heart from first sight. That for gamers who can indeed build sympathy or empathy for the main character, it can and does not object to digesting something that is implicit and metaphorical, the attraction will even strengthen at the end. It can lead to an emotional and strong playing experience, even though you end up not clearly capturing the definitive story and message what you really want to offer. Everything is shrouded in beautiful level design and remains challenging at the same time. But on the other hand, it doesn't mean this game is perfect. In terms of gameplay, some points in the area where exploration can be done freely, this game has no landmarks or maps that are really clear about the actual location you've explored before. The decision to make boss battles that have a creepy design with so sweet animation that ends up having no consequences actually eliminates the sensation of the threat that exists. Nothing feels tense, there is no sensation that you want to protect this girl as a form of caring, which ultimately makes her lose her meaning. GRIS is not designed for all types of gamers. But with the comparable selling prices affordable, especially on the PC version, there is no reason not to try it. You may not be able to feel and capture what the developer wants to say here, but it is still difficult to not fall in love with the visual and audio designs that he injected. You can enjoy her beauty or something deeper than just a charming form.


Beautiful visuals Super charming audio Strong scene Smart level desires Animations end up pampering the eyes Puzzles that are quite challenging to the brain and motor skills


The story is designed very implicitly without dialogue The system without game over actually eliminates concern for the fate of the main character Some locations need a clearer map


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