GRIS review – gorgeous colours swirl around a tale of grief and fear

Nintendo Switch, PC; Nomada Studio/Devolver Digital
Beneath a sumptuous, absurdly beautiful surface, dark beasts haunt a troubled girl’s crumbling fantasy world

Without its bursts of shifting colours, finely detailed palaces of the mind and creatures of living ink – the brilliant work of artist Conrad Roset – GRIS wouldn’t command the same attention. This absurdly attractive fusion of swirling watercolours and crisply hand-drawn architecture and characters has to be seen in motion to be believed. But underneath its sumptuous, living-canvas surface is a game about elegant jumping puzzles and negative emotional states made literal.

There’s a glorious forward momentum to the game, which uses visual hints and motifs to guide you through problem-solving on what feels like intuition alone. Only once or twice does it feel as though whoever was play-testing puzzles didn’t show up for work that day. Familiar-feeling jumping, floating and swimming challenges display flashes of ingenuity – for instance, shifting the shape of the protagonist’s flowing dress activates new powers.

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