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Have You Played… Gris?

Tougher than it looks

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time…

Take one look at Gris and you’d probably think it was a dainty, delicate flower of a game. Yes, it’s a story that’s ultimately about grief and loss and all those other fragile, angsty emotions that are apparently exclusive to young women, but I put it to you that Gris is actually an absolute bruiser of a platformer, one that slaps you round the face with its good looks and doesn’t even bother to apologise for it. And I absolutely dig it.

I must admit, I’d been wary about giving Gris a go given how the rest of the RPS team reacted to it around the time of its release. But when it popped up on Xbox Game Pass a couple of months ago, I thought there was really no reason why I shouldn’t play it myself and make up my own mind about it.

And I’m so glad I did! Yes, Gris’ emotional journey might be a bit hackneyed, but it really wasn’t as bad or as obvious as I thought it was going to be. In fact, it barely even registered during my playthrough, and I hardly ever thought about it. Instead I just had a really good time with this stupidly good-looking platformer. I loved its puzzles, the way the camera periodically pulled back to reveal its grandiose architecture, and I loved how Gris’ powers gradually layered up on top of one another to create thrilling set pieces that never failed to take my breath away.

That bit toward the end with the reverse gravity sections in the stars? Gorgeous! That bit with the giant fish and the horrible eel and diving between watery trees like a gosh-darned dolphin? Magical! I also particularly enjoyed the section in the forest when she met her little stone robot friend, because come on, who doesn’t like cute golems with tiny red leaves for their hair?

Just look at that little guy!

In short, ignore all the bumpf you’ve heard about Gris’ so-called emotional value and just go and enjoy one of the best-looking platformers you ever did see and embrace its sweet, suckerpunch of jaw-dropping brilliance. It’s on Xbox Game Pass, Steam, Humble and GOG, too, so you’ve got plenty of places to pick from.

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