With its lush visuals and evocative music, Gris is an immersive platformer that details one woman’s depression. This is something not often seen in video games. For at least 16.1 million adults in America, it’s the biggest ongoing boss fight of their lives. Each stage of the game sees the protagonist find her voice, which she literally loses in the opening, and grow emotionally. The biggest obstacle she is dealing with is the sadness and grief within herself.
The music buoys you through the entire experience — just the soundtrack on its own is calming; it works perfectly well separated from the game itself. Berlinist does an excellent job drawing you into the mood of each level, whether that involves swimming underwater—your dress transforms into a manta ray—or simply walking across a desolate red landscape. Gris uses music as a stand-in for the loss of the protagonist’s voice and it does so exceptionally well.
Art style is also something that makes the game stand out from your average platformer. It’s a beautifully animated game in a 2D watercolor style with colors that shift as you progress through the game. Like The Wizard of Oz, it begins in a monochrome color scheme and brightens the further you progress through the various levels. It’s one of the elements, along with the music, that grips you from the beginning and never really lets go. We have a man named Conrad Roset to thank for the gorgeous graphics. The colors fluidly take you from one level to the next in a way that is truly seamless.
All in all, Gris is a stylish indie at least worth a few hours of your time. Nomada Studio, the team behind it, will definitely be one to watch in the future.
Gris is now available on Nintendo Switch and PC.