GRIS: from Grim to Grin

GRIS is like that one movie that everyone knows will win the Oscar even before it even releases. 15/10 must play.

Published: 12th September 2019 06:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th September 2019 06:04 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: GRIS is different from any game you might have ever heard of or played — making it more important and simultaneously difficult to describe this platform-adventure through just the written word. GRIS is like a metaphor that you want to understand but fail to comprehend; strangely surreal like that Murakami book that you were trying to read. The game is like art waiting to be interpreted by the critic, the short story you were forced to expound in class 12 for an exam, making you desperately wonder if you could penetrate the writer’s mind to find out what they were trying to say.

There are hardly any words on screen or directions when the game starts. The introduction is almost 10 minutes long. On the screen is a girl (Gris) drawn in simple Manga-like 2D but only, the hair bounces, the cloak billows in the wind, and the steps she takes are fluid and natural. The background of the game shows you the depth of the environment, even within the two-dimensional graphics. Although you don’t see her face, the game is punctuated with a certain sadness, which is visualised through music, and the way she moves around the screen and plops down, covering her face.

GRIS moves both fast and slow at the same time. You keep wanting to know what happens next and wanting it not to end at the same time. Vague like in a dream, GRIS is meant to be played ideally late at night, when your senses are slower. The game starts out with you observing its environment quite keenly, the crumbling statues of sad women, the storms that intermittently interrupts GRIS’ journey. The game slowly evolves into small puzzles within its limited movement controls. The puzzles involve playing around with the surroundings and collecting tiny light orbs that connect you from one high tower to another. 

Although the overall theme involves a journey through the girl’s sorrows in life, the specifics of the scenes are meant to be interpreted by the player. As promised in the trailer, the game is free of the normal gaming frustrations offailure and violence. GRIS is almost too perfect a game — be it the ideal length, or the delicate graphics and music which imaginatively convey feelings and events. GRIS is like that one movie that everyone knows will win the Oscar even before it even releases. 15/10 must play.

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