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Gris is an emotional journey through hardship and fear [Android Game of the Week]

Gris (Image credit: Android Central / Jordan Palmer)

Video games are an art form, despite what the naysayers decry, and we occasionally get to see stellar examples of beautiful art in the vast gaming landscape. Whether it's the writing, the visuals themselves, the music, or even the gameplay mechanics, we can all think of a game that we hold up as our personal exhibit of what I'm talking about.

But we're not here to prattle on about what our favorites are; no, we're here to talk about one in particular that I can't recommend enough. Gris is, without a doubt, one of the best games I've ever played, on Android or otherwise, and I want you to experience it, too.

The game starts off with a girl, the eponymous heroine, lying in the palm of a crumbling hand statue. Her voice alights with power and raw emotion, but she's suddenly cut off. The statue begins to crumble and she tumbles to the colorless world below.

Video games often do a good job showing the protagonist increasing in strength and power as the game progresses. I usually think of Samus in the Metroid games, where she gets stronger the more power-ups she collects in her journeys. Gris is similar, albeit superficially, with a story that revolves around a woman earning back her agency and overcoming her fear as her journey progresses.

Gris is a beautiful game on its face. The simplistic watercolor palette mixed with the hand-painted environments create something that is both otherwordly and familiar. Everything starts washed out, but the world becomes more vivid and full of life as Gris continues onward. She herself becomes more alive in tandem with everything around her. This metamorphosis is not only on the outside, but within her also. She gains new abilities and masters them, gaining confidence alongside you the player to tackle new challenges.

The gorgeous art style, the provocative music, and the story are all worth experiencing in and of themselves. As a whole, they create something truly spectacular.

We all have our own fears, whether we like to admit it or not, but Gris tells a story of overcoming those fears, even when you're too afraid to move. This isn't a horror game at all, but Gris' own personal fears manifest as shadowy beings that hound her throughout the game. Dealing with them is not only a critical part of the story, but also the game itself.

I don't want to spoil everything for you, even if mere words could do such a thing for this game, but I can't recommend it enough to all of you. The gorgeous art style, the provocative music, and the story are all worth experiencing in and of themselves. As a whole, they create something truly spectacular.

From a technical standpoint, the Android port of Gris is top-notch. Controls are fluid, framerate is consistent, and there are achievements to unlock via Google Play Games. Some might find $5 a bit much to ask for a game that won't take you very long to complete, but it's very replayable. Short it may be, but Gris is one of the best games available on the Play Store and worth adding to your library.

Be sure to check out our Best Android Games when you're done with Gris. And if you're interested in checking out our previous weekly highlights, we have a huge archive.