Essential (Indie) Game Highlight: 'GRIS'

This post is really just to bring your attention to possibly one of the most beautiful games ever. It’s an indie game, of course, and it’s called 'Gris'. It almost plays itself were it not for some light puzzles and exploration. It still needs a player to make it unfold, you see. 


So just play it, and let yourself go with the atmosphere and ride it will take you on. To talk too much about it all here, might simply be detract from it. 


Every now and then at Gaming Impact we highlight special games which don’t necessarily involve endless shooting or updates to big budget franchises. We all need a break from overblown cut-scenes, rather pointless side-quests, heavy crafting, gathering or short encounters of button-pressing combat. 


Besides, indie games slot right into that happy area kids of all ages can play, watch and share, without placing huge demands on the player. Journey has perhaps become one of the ultimate examples of great success in this groove.


You know those super-satisfying, hyper-relaxing platformers with sumptuous music and where you can just relax as you weave your way through environments, admiring the scenery and navigating some light, intuitive puzzles? 'Gris' is certainly one of those where 'Planet Alpha' is another. 



The abstract nature of the game means you don’t get clues or signs (or any HUD at all) but must simply work your way through, picking up the themes and metaphors that relate to the character’s story and emotional state. It’s all about the tale it will reveal to you. It’s all about the scary, vivid world generated for the courageous girl you get to play, which only through this journey may she overcome. 


With such a focus on the experience or journey, the actual need for challenge, or the worry about dying, feels more removed, and your thoughts get time to linger and immerse in the visuals of the game, the smooth and clever design and attention to detail. They way it all flows. Is this what happens when games get made by real illustrators and designers?


This is where games, perhaps, get the chance to move subtly into the realms of art. 


Can games be ‘art’? We’re not going to start an intense debate right here, but you can certainly say that indie games get the chance to pull at the emotional strings more than most other genres. Even so, events or storylines must work hard in games, woven cunningly into the game-play, and even then, it’s just not easy to create or maintain emotional attachment. Perhaps Naughty Dog studio games can do this, but even Journey (let’s face it) is only marginally emotional. You’ll have to search your feelings as you try Gris, and make up your own heart, and mind.


It doesn’t even matter too much. Gris is one distracting adventure you don’t want to miss. It’s not demanding or intense, requiring only four-five hours playtime although you may want to revisit it. It’s thanks to indie experiences like this one that the nature of what games can be expanded and stretched into strange new inner and outer worlds. 


Meanwhile, check out our strange, exciting free, browser games here at Gaming Impact. They’re all playable in your browser and include games for all the family, as well as a ton of varied mini-games to excite and challenge you in short bursts of pure fun. 


See you in the next blog post, and the next essential indie game recommendation!