Dull Grey Review

Dull Grey is probably the most accurate title of a game ever. Not only does it suit the monochrome visuals, but the audio and atmosphere, as well as the theme of the story. Although brief, the experience nails the feeling of hopelessness and tedium that we’ve no doubt all felt at one time or another when thinking about our future prospects.

We follow the story of Kiril, a young person on their way to choose a life path under the watchful eye of the Progress-program; a catch-all initiative designed to ensure people fulfil the roles best suited to them and society. As with most young people Kir is unsure of where to go, and has the added burden of their mother imposing her own thoughts on the process.

The story is told strictly through text, and for the most part is entertainingly – yet depressingly – written. The writer manages to convey a sense of place well, and the interactions between each of the characters we meet are nicely developed. At points we get to choose a path; as someone asks Kir what they’d like to be, their Mother steps in with either “Lamplighter” (taking after their father) or “Tallyman” (after their Uncle). These are the only two options presented and we need to decided whether we stick to one, or bounce back and forth between them.

After hitting the end screen within 45 minutes, I was a little underwhelmed to have gotten a bad ending. A second playthrough was no better, and despite the game telling us there are a possible 11 endings, I felt a little lost. Perhaps this is yet another example of nailing the feeling of the theme, but it was a bit too disheartening at first. However, if you pay attention to the text a little more, it becomes clear that there is more to ‘see’ in the responses. And one more hint; take some time to consider the options before you.

Subsequent playthroughs can take as little as five minutes as the majority of the text remains the same throughout, with only the few paragraphs altering after a choice is made. It’s not going to be the most in-depth branching narrative adventure we’ve played, but what’s here is entertaining enough to last an evening.

Conclusion

Dull Grey brings an oppressive vision of the future to our screens, with an initially simple-seeming choice system having some hidden depth the more we read into things. It won’t last more than an evening, but the tale and atmosphere make this worth checking out at least once.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox One console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.
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Good
  • Well written tale
  • Hidden depth to the choices
  • Committal to the Grey theme in all aspects
Bad
  • Over very quickly
  • Initially underwhelming endings
6.3
Okay
Gameplay - 7
Graphics - 6
Audio - 6
Longevity - 6
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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