Thursday 29 October, 2020
I was less impressed by Gris than I thought I would be, and no student chose to purchase or play it, so it'll be off the list for next time. I had read that Gris was about sorrow after loss, and it did depict this theme well through beautiful art. That's what I'll remember Gris for the most, the aesthetic. Otherwise, Gris is a fairly dull puzzle platformer with just enough satisfying puzzles to keep me interested for a few hours.
Gris features some pulse-thumping "boss fights" (aka hold "right" on the joystick and experience the illusion of danger...and there was even a legitimately unexpected jump scare that caused me to yell), but my favorite part was a too-brief puzzle mechanic. In this part, a light shines from above onto the ground, which is made of crystals. If you stand in the light, you too turn into a crystal...but the crystal is just an imprint of you. You can still move around. So basically you have created a block that you can use to jump on to get to higher areas. I thought this was really clever, but you use the trick like two times.
One part that I thought was awful is an obstacle for deaf players or anyone who happens to have the sound off. In the environments, there are rocky patches of ground that you can pound to drop down below. When you walk over these patches, an audio cue triggers like gravel gently shifting. Normally you see the ground shift too, but in this particular case, the area was pitch black. I ran back and forth in the dark for a few minutes before noticing the subtle sound of gravel in one spot. Ah! Jump, slam, escape! And I thought, "Wow, that is really inaccessible." Not only would a deaf player have extreme difficulty passing this part, they would not be able to experience the outstanding music in Gris that really works with the visual style to evoke feeling.