Gris [Video Game Review]

2019_kris_video_game_gris

Title: Gris
Developer: Nomada Studio
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platform:
Nintendo Switch, PC
Category:
Platform-adventure
Release Date:
December 13, 2018
How we got the game:
Downloaded on Nintendo Switch

krismii
Gris was a game that was on my radar since I first some some screenshots of the game way back in August. With the help of some Nintendo eShop gift cards that I had gotten for Christmas, I finally bought and downloaded Gris, and it did not disappoint. Be warned, there will be some spoilers of this game in the review!

gameplay

The gameplay is fairly simple in Gris. It’s a light platform-adventure game where the character is exploring a world while trying to return color to it. As the character, you explore the world around you, collecting beads of light that in turn will help you reach farther places. The controls are as smooth as the art as you direct your character to run and jump while searching the world.

Throughout the levels, your character will also gain a few power-ups, new abilities that will be used to explore more, and most of which will manifest with the help of the character’s dress. The first is a solid, block-like phase, where your character’s dress solidifies into a block that is used to smash through crumbling structures or to help you stand your ground against unrelenting winds. The second ability grants you a double jump, the character’s dress unfolding likes wings to give an extra boost to reach far ledges. The third ability has the dress envelop the girl to give her a silhouette resembling a stingray, with wing-like fins to glide through underwater caverns.

The fourth ability is found at the pinnacle of the game. The character regains the power to sing, her echoing voice bringing back plants and animals to go with the color that is now blooming in the world.

graphics-music

The art style of this game is what captured my attention in the first place. I found the screenshots to be amazing, but I was not expecting how breathtaking the graphics would be when we first turned on the game. The art resembled watercolors with how smoothly it flowed. When you completed a level and successfully brought a color back to the world, it was amazing seeing the color bloom and transform around you.

The music was spot-on and just as gorgeous as the art style, and isn’t a stranger to being played on our Spotify accounts now. Considering the game has no dialogue or narration, the art and music are what’s telling the narrative, and it is wonderful. The mood brought on by the music was always right no matter where you are in the game.

storyThe underlying theme of Gris is grief.

The game starts out with your character — a young woman named Gris — who awakens in the hand of a crumbling statue depicting another woman. Gris attempts to sing out, but her voice is gone, and the statue splinters into pieces. Gris then traverses the land, finding beads of light — of hope — to restore color back into the world and to help bring back the statue.

Each level, if you will, represents a stage of grief. The black and white, dusty gray world at the beginning could be shock or denial at what has happened. Red is the first color you restore to the world, laying the ground for plains and desert where Gris fights against angry winds as you push onward. When green is found, Gris explores a lush forest where she finds and helps a creature as she traverses the land, as if striking up a bargain in order to keep moving. Blue leads Gris to water-filled caverns and rain soaking the world, making the character feel a bit waterlogged and, possibly, depressed. Yellow is the last color that is found near the climax of the game and brings about the level that even the game calls Acceptance.

Throughout the silent story, Gris will see and encounter bits and pieces of the statue of the other woman, finding her gray, crumbling, and in various stages of weeping, laying down and, finally, standing up again. The major enemy of the game is within Gris herself, as a giant, shadow bird and eel appear and attempt to prevent her from moving forward, threatening to consume her. The grief tries to swallow Gris once more near the end but both she and the statue find their voices. Together, they sing in harmony for the last time as they banish the grief away. Once the grief dissolves, Gris bids the statue one final farewell as she walks up the stairs of light to the sky.

When we first turned on the game, we had heard the story was one of grief. As we played, we guessed that the statue of the woman was the one whom Gris was grieving for, as if the woman was the one who had died. However, at the end when Gris took those steps up towards what may have been Heaven, we believe that it was Gris who had died. Gris was trying to find her voice to help soothe the statue woman who was grieving for her, making the ending that much more bittersweet.

replay-value

Gris itself is only about three and a half hours long, and I have heard there are a couple of completionist elements to it after the main game is through. It’s a short enough game that can be played in just a couple of sittings, and the story, music, and graphics are gorgeous enough to warrant you in picking up the game again.

Gris gets…
5-lives
5 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! If you like this post, please share it around!

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitch

Advertisements

Play for the Story, Not the Game

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

The narrative and storytelling techniques in video games are generally a big factor in whether or not I enjoy said video games. In fact, there are definitely some games where I enjoy the story more than the gameplay itself. 

kris_storynotgame

I am a writer. Not just of blog posts, but also of stories, short ones and novels alike. As such, I’m always interested in the narratives of video games I play. I love to devour a game’s story just as much as I love to devour a good book.

With that said, there are a good handle of games that I would be perfectly happy with reading like a novel. I play these games for the story and the characters rather than the gameplay itself. Sure, the gameplay mechanics may be amazing, but if the story has snagged my attention, the gameplay is always going to be second fiddle. Fantastic gameplay mechanics will not redeem a game with a dull story line in my eyes.

Take Undertale and Deltarune, for example. There is so much lore and theories behind the developed stories of these games. Especially in Undertale’s case, there are multiple ways you can take the story through your actions, whether or not you decide to do a peaceful or violent run-through of the game. And if you played it through a second time? There are characters that remember your first playthrough. There are characters that remember if you killed them before. I didn’t care much for the game’s battle mechanics, but I continued to play it to see how the story ended.

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is another example. War and faith are the general themes of the story, like many Fire Emblem games, but I was intrigued by the characters and definitely impressed with the voice acting. It was enough to keep me playing until the end, even though I found some of the battles repetitive and the dungeon sequences unappealing.

The most recent game we played through was Gris and we went into it knowing that it was a game with minimal enemies (if any at all). I picked it up first for it’s gorgeous art and stayed for the music and haunting narrative of trying to figure out the main character was searching for. My sister and I both teared up at the end once we realized how heavy and bittersweet the story was.

Thinking on all of this, it’s no wonder that I’ve gotten a newfound appreciation for visual novels and simulation games.

How important is story to you in games? Or do you prefer amazing gameplay to the story? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitch

Friday Favorites: 2018 Games to Finish

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Did everyone have a good new year’s? It’s hard to believe that we’re in 2019 now! This is a time that most people try to finish up tasks that they’ve accidentally left behind so they can start the new year with a clean slate. Going through our 2018 Game Reviews page, I’ve realized that there are a few games that I started last year that I would love to finish up.

frifaves2018finish.png

Undertale

I know the story of Undertale, I know the gameplay and probably many of its secrets. I’ve watched quite a few playthroughs of the game through YouTube and Twitch, after all, playthroughs that prompted me to try it myself. Yet, while I’ve played and completed Deltarune, the “sequel” of Undertale, I haven’t finished a playthrough of Undertale just yet.

Batman: The Telltale Series

I’ve finished the first two episodes, I believe, of this game, and it definitely held my interest to want to play the rest. Considering the game has a sequel, I would love to finish the next couple of episodes before exploring the next one.

Octopath Traveler

This is a major game that I want to finish. Honestly, with the other newer Switch games out, I cannot remember where we’re at in this game. From what we’ve played, it’s one of my favorite games from 2018, with its gorgeous graphics, music, and battle system, but we’ve yet to finish it.

Stardew Valley

Although this isn’t a game to actually “finish” considering how open-ended it is, I definitely would like to return to the world of Stardew Valley. I’ve accidentally abandoned my farm on our Steam account, but I’m also hoping to rope Rachel into doing a co-op farm with me at some point in the future.

What are some 2018 games that you’re looking to finish?

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitch

Double Jump’s Game Awards

djourgameawards

krismii
While we have nothing personal against any of the games that won their respective Game Awards — it’s a wonderful feat — there were definitely games that we’ve played this year that we felt were a little overlooked. If we were nominating games for categories in the Game Awards, we’d add a little more variety.

rachmii
By variety, we mean Nintendo and more Indie games. Because, let’s face it, that’s pretty much all we play. We love the “family” games and tend to have more fun with those. We enjoy puzzles games, mystery, and certainly love Pokemon, though we adore games that have rich stories and engaging characters. With that, we’ve had quite a few favorites this year.

krismii
For instance, if we were nominating a few different games for the Art Direction category, we probably would have added Minit, A Case of Distrust, and The Lion’s Song (which came out for the Nintendo Switch this year, even if it was originally published in 2016). Each of them takes art in a completely different direction. Minit was more pixel-y, with back and white images, while A Case of Distrust was very minimal to ensure the player was focused on the mystery of the story. The Lion’s Song had almost soft and light animation with a sienna-color palette, a style that we definitely enjoyed.

rachmii
I would also keep in Octopath Traveler for that category as well. Speaking of, if I were to nominate a couple of games for the best soundtrack, I’d nominate Octopath Traveler, Deltarune, and The Lion’s Song. Deltarune has some great, upbeat music while music was a huge part of the gameplay for The Lion’s Song. Octopath Traveler had fabulous music for battles and various areas in the world that always gets stuck in my head.

krismii
Deltarune would be fantastic contender for the narrative category as well, in my opinion. I definitely enjoyed the lore of that game and can’t wait for the full version! It could fit in with the role-playing category, depending on how you play the game, too. Other games that could have been recognized in the role-playing category could have been the Let’s Go Pokemon titles and The Sword of Ditto, a rogue-like game that can be played co-op where you get one life.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Well, if there was a multiplayer category, The Sword of Ditto would be on that list. Overcooked 2 would, for sure, be nominated. That game is perfect for multiplayer and I’m sure that’s kind of the point.

krismii
There was a multiplayer category, but I believe it catered more to online multiplayer rather than local, which seemed to be the family category. Burnstar, which was first available on the Switch this year, was great, and we can’t forget about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which seemed to have missed the cut due to timing. A category I would have really liked to see more variety in would have been the Content Creators. This year, it seemed to be all about Fortnite streamers. I would have loved to see Twitch and YouTube channels like Black Girl Gamers or Normal Boots be nominated, to name a few smaller channels.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
For sure. We definitely have our own opinion and may be a little biased with indie and Nintendo games. Though this is what we like and what we would love to see. However, there are no bad games. Each and every game deserves an award.

Do you have any games you would have loved to see in the Game Awards? Let us know in the comments below!

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitch

Deltarune Chapter One [Review]

djdeltarune.png

Title: Deltarune Chapter One
Developer: Toby Fox
Publisher: Toby Fox
Platform:
PC
Category:
Role-Playing
Release Date:
October 31, 2018
How we got the game:
Downloaded for free for Windows

krismii
Deltarune is a spin-off of Toby Fox’s original, critically acclaimed game Undertale. Chapter One is the demo of Deltarune that Fox released on Halloween this year — a rather fitting day — to see how well it’d be received. Judging by the reactions I’ve seen and my personal opinion of it, I think many gamers enjoyed it. Be aware that, considering this is only chapter one, a demo of sorts, this review will probably contain some spoilers.

gameplay

Deltarune plays similarly to Undertale. Using a top-down perspective, Deltarune employs role-playing tactics in an 8-bit like world. Battles give you different options, such as ACT or SPARE. Players use these actions to either avoid fighting the monsters they encounter or by attacking them to move on. While the goal is to avoid fighting, allowing the monsters to live, the player (and one of their allies) can attack instead.

Unlike Undertale, Deltarune uses a multi-member party. Your character, Kris, is the human leader while Susie is a monster who rather likes using force. Ralsei is the third member and is essentially the healer of the party who is in favor of sparing every monster the group encounters. Kris has the ability to influence the others actions on their quest, although at the beginning Susie is not controllable by the player, so sparing the monsters can be a little difficult. The party also has Team Points, which allows them to perform stronger magic spells or attacks, if need be.

Another difference from Undertale is that Deltarune Chapter One only has one ending. While the choices the player made in Undertale reflected what kind of ending one would get, Deltarune’s choices didn’t matter much. At the beginning of the game, some NPCs actually tell Kris that their choices don’t matter.

The gameplay for Deltarune took the mechanics from Undertale and improved upon them. I much prefer Deltarune’s combat system to Undertale’s, but the charm from the first game was still very much present in Deltarune.

graphics-music

Deltarune’s graphics are the same 8-bit graphics that Undertale used, keeping the style the same to further connect the two games. It’s not revolutionary, but the imagination that was poured into many of the monsters’ designs and profiles is wonderful. Seeing the quirky world that Fox has created and being immersed in it is a treat.

The music is gorgeous as well, pieces that Fox has composed and being familiar enough to remind us of Undertale but also standing out on their own. I cannot wait for a full soundtrack.

storyDeltarune opens with Kris, a human living in a world where Monsters roam on Earth, being taken to school by their adoptive mother Toriel, a maternal goat-like creature. Once Kris gets to school, they’re tasked with Susie, the bully of the class, to get more chalk from the supply closet, which turns out to be a portal to the Dark World.

In the Dark World, Kris and Susie meet Ralsei, the Prince of Darkness, who is incredibly sweet and fluffy. Ralsei is convinced that he, Susie, and Kris are the three heroes destined to save the world. Susie… is not as convinced. In fact, she decides to find her own way out of the Dark World, not wishing to play the role of hero.

Lancer is the fourth most important character, who is actually the prince of the cruel King who has seized control of the Dark World and wishes to continue spreading darkness. He is trying to stop the heroes and, for a while, has Susie on his side. During these times (and through amazing dialogue), all four kids end up becoming allies and friends.

Although Lancer at one point traps Kris, Susie, and Ralsei in prison, it was really due to him wishing for them not to encounter the King. Lancer was afraid that either his new friends or the King would get hurt. When the trio do encounter the King, they are able to exhaust him enough to win the battle. The trio’s actions — whether or not they have killed anyone in their path to escape the Dark World — will determine the outcome as to how the King is dispatched. Either way, Susie and Kris will return to their world.

The player is then allowed to explore the town, finding the Undertale Easter eggs scattered throughout, before returning home and going to bed. After the credits roll, Kris stirs from bed in the middle of the night, rips out their soul, and locks it into a birdcage. Kris pulls out a dagger and, with glowing red eyes and a sharp grin, looks back at the screen at the player, a cliffhanger for Chapter Two.

replay-value

Being a demo and just the first part of what will hopefully be a bigger, finished game, Deltarune Chapter One is great fun with wonderful characters and fantastic writing. With that said, there’s not too many secrets or Easter eggs to find after playing through it the first time, especially since there is only one ending. Still, with how much fun it is, I can see myself going back to Deltarune once in a while.

At least until the full game comes out.

Deltarune gets…
4-lives
4 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitch

Multi-Platform Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Being a gamer is an expensive hobby. It doesn’t help that, sometimes, awesome games are available in multiple platforms, either as updated versions or just ported to a system that may be better suited for it.

djmultiplatform

Do you have any games on multiple platforms?

We have Stardew Valley, Death Road to Canada, and Undertale on the PC through Steam, but all three of those games are available for the Nintendo Switch as well. Fortnite is available on all consoles of the current generation (and all of them can now play together, finally). PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is also another game that crosses platforms.

Then there are ports of games — such as the Legend of Zelda: Windwaker and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe — that get updated for the next generation console.

Assuming you enjoyed the original game, are you the type to buy games for multiple platforms, if you have them? Or the updated ports when they are released?

We have gotten Death Road to Canada for the Nintendo Switch when it came out, mostly to make it easier to play with friends. However, we’ve been toying with getting Undertale and Stardew Valley for the Switch as well, especially since the Switch makes it a little easier to take those kind of games on the go. To be honest, if Undertale came to the Switch before PC, we probably would have just gotten it for the Switch. Stardew Valley is in the same boat, but the PC version does have the co-op mode…

With that said, there are so many other games that we wish to play and buy that are already stretching our wallets thin. I suppose if a game we own is ported to another platform, we’d prefer if it was substantially updated to make it worth buying again.

Any games that you’ve bought multiple times for different platforms?

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitch

“Dream Daddy” Comics

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

On a fairly recent post, I mentioned how a comic app was coming to the Nintendo Switch. Then I heard about a mini comic series based on a game that we played and enjoyed almost a year ago…

djdreamdadcomic

Way back in November 2017 Rachel and I did a review for a visual novel/dating simulation game produced by the Game Grumps, a popular YouTube channel, called Dream Daddy. It was a fun game, one with fantastic characters, writing, and graphics, as well as celebrating gender and sexuality diversity.

Recently I heard that the Dream Daddy game is going to have comics based off of them. There will be five issues, with one available now and the rest being released within the next couple of months. Each issue will feature one to two of the dads that your character can romance in the game, and they’ll be available on quite a few digital platforms — Steam, Google Play, iTunes, Comixology — as well as a print version through Oni Press online shop, the folks who are publishing the series.

Considering Rachel and I enjoyed the game, I figured if we have a little extra money on our Steam account we’ll get an issue or two. Depending on the writing and the artwork, maybe we’ll splurge on all of the issues to see how the comics expand on the game lore.

Did you play Dream Daddy? What kind of comics based off of video games, or vice versa, have you read?

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitch