GRIS Review: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

There are some games that feel like more than just the sum of their parts. When every piece of the experience fits so perfectly well with the others, the result is more than just a combination of different parts: it becomes an entity of its own, a seamless package, a new whole of its own. No longer it is just the value of each fragment on its own; it becomes greater than itself.

GRIS’ success stems from the very concept I mentioned above. It is a package of stories, colors and sounds, compiled together in such a masterful way that they become inseparable from each other. The mesmarizing visuals, the beautiful soundtrack, and the simple yet powerful story they tell together, are integrated so well into each other that they cannot exist without the other anymore. It is through this seamless coupling that GRIS soars beyond what a game usually offers: it takes you on a journey where every part of the experience has been carefully crafted to do something just right. It’s not difficult to see how much love and care the developers behind this game put into every little detail: whether it is the extra touches of attention in the beautiful levels, an extra audio piece to further immerse you in the story, or the tiny little hints spread throughout the game that let you understand it more. GRIS is more than just a game: it’s a masterpiece.

What I like a lot about GRIS is how it doesn’t hinder the experience with unnecessary difficulty or repetitiveness. It knows exactly how much value it can give in a certain time frame, and makes sure to not over-do nor under-do it. The fact that the levels are fairly simple and easy to complete is a blessing, not a curse: it lets you stroll through the tale that GRIS tells without interruptions. This is part of the concept I explained above: to properly enjoy GRIS, you must experience it as an entire package and in a ‘single fluid motion’. Adding extra complexity and tricky parts would’ve just slowed down the momentum the game builds, which in turn would’ve hindered the flow of it.

And indeed, you can see how GRIS attempts to keep things simple not only through gameplay, but also in its world design and visual language. The entire art style is based around simple, primitive geometrical shapes and sharp, defined lines; what really empowers it is the usage of colors and distance to add ‘depth’ to the world, without adding complexity. It’s a beautiful art style that is clearly the result of much effort, planning and research by the team behind it.

The soundtrack is what really wraps it all together for me. I am well known for my appreciation and attention to music in video games, and for me, GRIS’ soundtrack ticked all the boxes without a doubt. The music that accompanies your adventure is not just a background layer: in many areas of the game it is as crucial to the experience as everything else - remember, seamless package! - and I had moments of real, genuine goosebumps throughout my playthrough that would’ve not happened if it wasn’t for the amazing score.

There are very few games that leave me with such a lasting impact, but when the credits rolled for this one, I was left truly speechless. I really felt like I experienced something different, and I genuinely didn’t want it to end. This, to me, is what proves it above all: GRIS is a masterpiece.

Bravo, Nomada! Congratulations for successfully shipping such a wonderful project.