4.5 out of 5


  • Art style
  • Smooth gameplay
  • Camera
  • Soundtrack


  • Too short
  • No zoom option

Switch, PlayStation 4, PC, iOS, Android
Devolver Digital
Nomada Studio
Action, Adventure, Platform, Puzzle
File Size (Minimum)
3.8 GB
Release Date (NA)
Dec 13, 2018

Gris is a side-scrolling platformer about a young woman lost in her world and dealing with painful and sorrowful experiences in her life. Created by Spanish indie developer Nomada Studio, this indie game will take you on a colorful journey to help bring the world of Gris back together.

The Fall and the Rise

Gris Screenshot

When the game starts, the audience is taken on a cinematic ride, showing a young woman being stripped of her voice and emotions. It’s an evocative opening sequence told without any words or text of any sort. Instead, it relies solely on illustrations and music to broadcast the character’s emotions, and this continues throughout the game.

Players will travel through five stages. In each stage, you’ll have to overcome obstacles such as sandstorms and black birds. Completing the game can be done in around four hours, which is pretty short. However, there are collectibles to find in each stage, such as statues and stars, which adds at least a couple more hours to that. Collecting them all does unlock an extra cutscene. Fortunately, if you miss any items, you can revisit chapters after you finish the game. Still, even if you don’t find everything, Gris is a beautiful journey that players should experience.

Bringing Color Back to Life

Gris Screenshot

Gris starts you off in a grayscale world (“gris” is the Spanish word for “gray”). Everything has been taken away, leaving the protagonist in a deep depression. As you progress, you’ll come across remembrances that trigger an event that will bring color back into your world, one color at a time.

As your view into this mysterious and fascinating world, the use of the game’s camera is important. At first, you may think it’s restrictive. There are times when you will want to zoom in or out in order to focus on obstacles or to simply view the background details of the game’s fine line and watercolor art style. But in reality, it isn’t. The world is beautiful, and your view of it is being directed with deliberate care. Between the parallax scrolling and well-done background perspectives, it’s not hard to find yourself stopping and simply looking at the screen like a piece of framed art.

A (Mostly) Calm Journey

Gris Screenshot

Gris’s gameplay style is straightforward and intuitive. With simple movement and ability mechanics that let you easily run and jump through this wondrous world, as well a camera that gives a good view of your surroundings, it feels easy-going. Those who have played games like Journey and Flower on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 will recognize the similar gameplay.

That being said, there are parts of the game where it turns it up a notch, such as going against a gigantic black bird that prevents you from moving forward and forces you to problem-solve to get around. In another scenario, you’ll be swimming around carefree until a gigantic eel attacks, making an otherwise laid-back game feel surprisingly intense.

Gris‘s scores play a key role in setting that mood. In the eel attack scene, your blood will be pumping hard not just from the oncoming jaws but also from the constant building of tension in the music. And your final escape is a real revelation, both visually and aurally. Outside of such scenes, Gris’s soundtrack is soothing and whimsical, and it blends with the game extremely well there, too. When sandstorms in the desert blow, the music begins to crescendo, and when the sand dies down, so does the music. The music and gameplay go hand in hand; you can’t have one without the other. Without a doubt, this is one of the most well-rounded games in terms of pure sound art.

Find Your Way

Gris Screenshot

Even though the game does not offer a traditional storytelling experience, it doesn’t leave you hanging. When coming up to a new ability, the game will explain in simple detail what to do to use it. After that, the rest is up to you when it comes to figuring out the game’s puzzles. For example, you can have your character turn her dress into a concrete-like block that keeps you from being pushed back by sandstorms or helps you discover secret rooms underfoot. It’s up to you as to how and when to use it.

Players will also need to interact with other creatures to progress through the story, such as helping to feed a forest creature apples. However, the game won’t explain that to you; again, it’s up to players to figure it out.

In today’s gaming landscape, it’s uncommon for a game to give so little instruction. Instead, most prefer to stuff your face with what to do and where to go next. In this one, you can pick it up at any time of the day and go exploring. Reacquainting yourself with your abilities is easy, so you’re never more than a couple minutes away from wandering forth.

A Style to Remember

Gris feels like a AAA game from a major gaming company, but it comes from a small indie studio and it’s an incredible debut. You can’t simply watch videos or read about it to fully understand it, though. You need to experience the game to appreciate its unique art style, smooth gameplay, and soothing music. While the journey isn’t long, it will stay with you long after you complete it. So go ahead and let yourself be taken into this beautifully realized world. You’ll be glad you did.

A PlayStation 4 review code was provided for this review. Gris is available now on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4PC and iOS and Android devices​. You can also grab a few Gris wallpapers here at Cat with Monocle.

Gris Gameplay Footage

About Seth Hay - Editor-in-chief / Webmaster

When Seth is not designing or developing, he spends time with his family and his occasional dose of anime, sports and video games.

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