Indie games seem to be a dime a dozen these days. That’s not a bad thing necessarily, options are what keeps our hobby alive and kicking. The problem is, it takes something special to make people take notice. In 2018, we seemed to see a rise in the quality of these titles. Games like Celeste, Dead Cells, and Return of the Obra Dinn really catapulted the indie scene to new levels. And then came Gris, a little title from Nomada Studio, that seemingly came out of nowhere and surprised the gaming community.
Full disclosure, I had never heard a thing about this game until I saw it on the my Nintendo Switch e-shop. After a little research I decided to give it a shot. I’m glad I did.
In the game you play as Gris (Spanish for gray), a girl who’s lost her voice in a drab, colorless environment. Your goal is to collect stars allowing you to acquire different abilities and bring color back into the world. There are no enemies in the traditional sense, and you can’t die. This is a side-scrolling puzzle platformer that while definitely challenging in parts, is mostly forgiving. Though this may turn off those people looking for a really tough challenge, for me it was perfectly balanced. The devs had a story to tell and in a genre that seems to be becoming exceedingly difficult, Gris steps away from that trend which I found incredibly refreshing. You can enjoy the game without getting frustrated or having to look at a guide. For someone with limited gaming time, this is a welcome experience.
The art style in Gris is gorgeous. Its beauty lies in its simplicity. As you progress and unlock different colors, you gain different abilities. Every time you do, the world becomes more and more vibrant. However, even at it’s core, the game delivers a completely unique look. In a world of 4k resolutions and photo realistic games, Gris outshines them with a style that I’ve never seen before. Trust me, it’s amazing.
Do yourself a favor and pick up this game. Nomada Studio has done an excellent job at bringing a beautiful yet charming world to life. In a gaming world filled with 50 hour experiences, this is a perfect little break. I enjoyed my time more with this 5 to 6 hour game than some of the other heavy hitters of 2018. It’s my favorite indie game of the year, and it’s not even close.