GRIS and My Friend Pedro Are The Future of Devolver Digital – PAX West 2018
During my Saturday at PAX West, I spent some time at the Devolver Digital booth where I was able to play a bit of the upcoming indie experiences, GRIS and My Friend Pedro. These are two games that wildly impressed me for very different reasons. Each demo I played was about 30 minutes long and within that time painted a clear picture of what these respective games aim to offer. As much as I adored my time with GRIS and My Friend Pedro, my biggest takeaway from these demos had to do less with the games themselves and more with Devolver Digital and the quality that they represent in the indie space.
GRIS is a watercolor-styled, narrative platformer with puzzle solving elements. It’s one of those games you would play for the tone and atmosphere above all else. This is why I was pleasantly surprised when part-way through my demo, I encountered platforming puzzles that stumped me. Even when I discovered the solutions, I was taken aback by how involved the game asks you to be. Not only is the game a marvel to look at, the puzzles are clever and take into account the visual design. GRIS reminded me of Playdead’s Inside in this way which is the highest compliment I could give. During one part of my demo I was flying with birds in an attempt to reach the tallest height of the structure; in a different area I was swimming under ancient ruins and had to navigate my way around using the shadows cast onto the water. It felt reminiscent of a game like Journey in its attempt to build peaceful play experience while asking the player to figure out how to solve the next roadblock. The game felt effortless in its artistic expression and vibrant presentation. By the very end of my demo, my experience with GRIS was heavily contrasted by the game I played after, My Friend Pedro.My Friend Pedro is a fast-paced shoot-em up that combined intense action with slow motion acrobatics. I had seen the E3 trailer of this game and so I went in knowing what to expect. What I didn’t expect was for My Friend Pedro to be as fun to play as it appears in the trailers. Once the game introduces its various mechanics such as the wall jump and slowing down time, that’s when its true colors immediately begin to surface and the play experience goes from good to great within the span of a few seconds. Front flipping off of a ledge in slow motion while aiming one of my pistols at an enemy and my other pistol at his friend in order to execute dual headshots is a satisfying experience. It is even more satisfying when at the end of it all, the replay video revisits the craziest gameplay moment of the level and it is exactly that adrenaline-pumping sequence that you recall. If my thirty minutes with GRIS illustrated that game’s calm beauty, my time with My Friend Pedro showed off its frantic, gratifying chaos.
My Friend Pedro is different from GRIS in every shape and form which I believe displays Devolver’s power as a publisher. Leaving these demos, I was mostly impressed by the range of the indie-focused publisher and the power of video games as a whole. The fact that the serene, calm GRIS is able to coexist with the comical, explosive My Friend Pedro and be able to represent a high quality in both of their genres speaks to a promising future for not only Devolver, but for the indie market. I’m looking forward to both of these experiences and everything else coming out of Devolver Digital.
Follow all of OK Beast’s PAX West 2018 coverage here.