What truly is sorrow? Sorrow can be defined as a feeling of deep distress caused by a loss or misfortune, but it’s easy to define but difficult to experience. Sorrow grips and it tightens. Sorrow stifles, even cripples the person that has been affected. It takes immense strength to break the bonds that sorrow has on the individual and Gris is a game that tells an incredible abstract tale of the journey one takes to overcome this emotion.
Gris released December 2018 and was the debut game from Nomada studio, who is based in Barcelona and published by Devolver Digital.
Gris does not have a traditional plot but it is a story entirely up to interpretation. It is known that something tragic has happened to this woman and she travels throughout the world in search of some clarity. The prolific statues that litter the world evoke an intense emotional response from the woman.
Gameplay in Gris in incredibly simple. The game relies heavily on a simple form of platforming with puzzles intertwined. The protaganist runs, jumps and solves puzzles to progress. The world is made up of ancient ruins, forests, and deserts to traverse. The ability to become weighted, to break cracked sections and the ability to sing beautiful melodies come later and have little impact on gameplay. Its hard to talk about gameplay when Gris’ gameplay is not meant to be in the spotlight, it is the over arching theme: sorrow.
Berlinist creates probably the most beautiful score I have ever heard in a game. When completing a section and the protagonists is confronted with what she has lost, the music explodes with emotion. The piano plays smooth melodies, brass instruments flare while a voice cries out with immense emotion. Music is fluid within the flooded ruins, pipe organs flare in the desert and a violin plays a tranquil melody when deep in the forest.
Gris’ art is based solely around watercolor inspired by Conrad Roset. The world, in the beginning, is devoid of color but as you traverse the world and confront statues of a mysterious woman, beautiful splatters of colors litter the screen. Forests become a lush green, the desert becomes a harsher red, the water logged ruins become a deep blue. Gris’ style is on par with some of the most beautiful art that I have ever seen in a video game.
Playing Gris was incredibly difficult for me on a personal level. The emotions that I felt while playing the game were always extreme, in a good way. The gameplay does not add up to much but that doesn’t diminish the game even in the slightest, because the music and abstract story were the spotlight here. Goosebumps went throughout my body when listening to the excellent music by Berlinist and exeperiencing Roset’s art style light up the game. Gris is nothing short of a masterpiece and I do believe that everyone should experience this game.