iOS version tested
Review code provided
Just from a glance, Gris stands out from most indie titles. With a hand-drawn style that’s brought to life through the use of watercolours, it’s easy to be intrigued by what this game is all about. Originally released last December for PC, Mac and Nintendo Switch, now Gris will become available on the Apple store to iPhone and iPad users come August 22nd.
The game starts out with a young girl falling down from the sky to a colourless world in ruin. With no explanation on what is going on, it’s time to get up and get moving. I played on my iPhone, which sits in landscape mode and uses a kind of “two-button” gameplay. The left side of the screen is used for moving left or right. The right side is for jumping and utilising your other abilities, such as double jumping or swimming, which are unlocked as things progress. Controls are kept simple, with no UI to take away from the screen.
The game uses no words or dialogue yet remains emotionally charged throughout the journey. It’s kind of up to the player to interpret what’s going on, but it’s probably unanimous to agree that the main character is really going through turmoil. You’ll explore the world and collect stars which will then compile to form constellations. These will help bring back life to the world, one colour at a time. Puzzles will have to be solved and platforms navigated in order to reach the stars. These are usually very straight forward, as the creators wanted the experience to be accessible. There are bonus collectables scattered about that will raise the difficulty for those looking to explore and be a completionist. However, they can be skipped, and the story can still be progressed relatively stress-free. With no way to die, you can take you time or speed through at whatever pace you want.
Your dress will transform as you unlock additional abilities, flowing from one form to another. The animations are beautiful and captivating. In fact, all the cutscenes and art in general have such a love and detail to them that it’s almost just enough to look at the game, let alone play it. The soundtrack creates a cinematic experience, with peaceful and relaxing tunes that swell into tense songs that give the feeling of fight or flight.
The game did have some issues during my two session, 4-hour gameplay. There were times where the environment did not load, causing me to hit a dead end. This was resolved by simply rebooting the game. Luckily the load times are almost non-existent. Also, at any point in time, I could become the ghost Blinky from Pac-Man and fly freely through the world, seeing the entire level prior to playing it. Don’t worry, I did not use my God-like Pac-Man powers to cheat and muddy the review. This was most likely a development tool that made its way into my version. Hopefully, we’ll see the issues resolved at launch. I look forward to the neon green text seen in the screenshots to disappear forever.
Gris is a gorgeous platformer chock-full and brimming with emotion and charm. Directed and developed with a great deal of care, this is a short but rewarding experience. With a price tag of $4.99 (£4.99), I highly recommend picking this up if you haven’t already.
TBG Score: 9/10
Format: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Mobile
Release: 22/08/2019 (iOS)
Genre: Puzzle, Platformer
Developer: Nomada Studio
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Download link: App Store