On Stream:http://store.steampowered.com/app/543070/Gray_Skies_Dark_Waters/

About This Game

Gray Skies, Dark Waters drops you into a world of secrets, unanswered questions, and (just maybe) the supernatural. Search to reveal the truth—or, at least, your version of it.

What does it mean to truly disappear without a trace? In this modern interpretation of centuries-old folklore, that’s the question that seventeen-year-old Lina Garrett has to consider after her mother vanishes. Take Lina on a thought-provoking journey through her small Chesapeake Bay town of Avett’s Landing to unravel the mystery of her mother’s disappearance and explore what it means to be part of a family – even a troubled one.

Fans of story-based games like The Path, Life is Strange, and To the Moon will love this story-driven adventure game in which your continuous choices decide the future of the Garrett family. Gray Skies, Dark Waters comes alive with:
  • an original score
  • full voice-acting
  • hand-drawn paintings inspired by children’s book illustrations
  • a 2-3 hour playtime
  • a series of short stories set in Avett’s Landing, Virginia
  • Rich commentary mode that includes interviews with developers and experts in various fields
The game features 3D models interacting in 2D settings, similar to classics like Grim Fandango, The Longest Journey, and Resident Evil 2. Gray Skies, Dark Waters takes literary inspiration from the writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Flannery O’Connor, Jorge Luis Borges, and Shirley Jackson.
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows Vista or newer
    • Processor: 1.4 GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512MB of VRAM
    • Storage: 3720 MB available space
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Buffy

Posted: June 25, 2017
A charming, albeit a bit short game that definitly deservers more recognition. The voice recordings sometimes sound a bit off, but that’s probably because it was a low budget production. The drawings, music and story are beautiful. Well done 🙂

Modulus Mansion

Posted: June 10, 2017
Just finished my intial play through of GSDW, the debut title from Green Willow Games. A fanciful yet grounded tale with attractive visuals and a quick playthrough time, good for a pick up evening of gaming. I look forward to exploring some of the other choices in the future!

RipWitch

Posted: July 5, 2017
Product received for free

The real question is…are three onions too many onions?

As we grow up and connect to our family and friends we can not see a version of ourselves not meeting and knowing them. If you, for any reason, fall away from each other it will be hard but you still hold that growth and memories. You still know what was going on before you two fell apart and assume they are still living their lives. When they die it is worse but you know that with all your grief they do not have to deal with their hardships anymore. But what they mysteriously disappear? Still leaving traces of their existence but not what happened to them, why they disappeared and this can plague you. When even the police is baffled, what can you do other than try and find out yourself.

You play as Lina Garret during the one year anniversary of her mother’s, Vivian, disappearance. Knowing that before this, all seemed fine and happy so why suddenly leave. In need for answers, Lina ventures out and tries to piece together the little information available to figure it out. Not just for herself, but for her father, Robert, and her siblings Violet, Gus, and Merle. Going into the Life is Strange, Gone Home inspiration of finding out the story through others and by objects around the world.

You mostly go through the motions as Lina’s thoughts are available to listen to as more information about her family surfaces. Having great moments here and there, one of my favorites being right at the start, and having great writing certainly helps. While they do give you information, you get to piece together how each family member is, with their possessions and when we meet them, and how they dealt with the lose of Vivian. As not everyone is in the same place, and you do need to venture out sometime, you are given tasks to do. Whether it be something your family asked or something Lina wants to do, some are necessary with a few not. With a little over two hours you will spend in this universe, they did a good job making all the characters stand out from one another.

There are choices scattered around the dialogue, mostly leading towards a new line added in and that specific family member having a different opinion of you. I’m not entirely sure that these early choices do matter other than how the family members think of you now, but the last few choices do matter a lot. There was a task where you had to find your father’s phone and return it, and while it seems like you need to for some information you would of gotten, you can totally hold onto it and accidently trigger the ending if you don’t talk to him before a certain task. I can almost imagine Lina forgetting that she had the phone the whole time and her father giving in and buying a new one. There are other choices in whether or not you want to talk about certain things and this is driven by how curious you are. With a lot of speculation you will probably have, as even the game will question you on it for Lina to believe, curiosity certainly holds this game together. Considering that there are three endings you can get, with possible alternates to all of them.

The art is absolutely amazing. The backgrounds and environment is all hand drawn resembling paintings. Each area having it’s own personality added in showing that real people live in the house and live in the town Lina resides in. Expertly making the 2d environment look 3d and their hard work paid of. The only downside is the character models that inhabit this area. It certainly was a risk that did not pay off greatly. The models seem really awkward as they try to look like they are sitting on that totally not drawn couch and could of used more animation to make them not as stiff. This makes me wish that either everything was hand drawn, the style was changed to make the models fit in more, or that everything was modeled.

Now while the voice acting is good, the quality of the sound is not. Varying in quality between dialogues as you can tell which lines were recorded on the same day or not as you go deeper into the game. Some will have an echo effect, most accompanying Lina, or have a loud noise in the background making it hard to hear what they are saying, and rarely have a nice and clear quality. This is even more noticeable when quality switches in the middle of the conversation, wishing that the whole game had that clear quality.

Going into the commentary they did say what they looked for when they were looking for voices (some sound quality here suffered as well, with one of the people presented was notably hard to hear their voice). Explaining that they used different recording studios when the actors, which I believe were in plays at the time, had time. With a later line saying that they had one hell of a time stabilizing all the recordings. Now I don’t know if it was the differing equipment that was used in each session they had, if it was intentional, or they just couldn’t exactly get them sounding great excluding a couple in post, but it does take away from the experience. Voice acting is one of the main focus points, and while I am happy they were able to actually get voice actors with they little funding they received, I wished they didn’t or at least went over it and found the problem before they couldn’t fix it.

In contrast, the soundtrack is great all throughout the game. Having a nice melody as you walk through each scene and dimming as you talk with others. Especially loving the ending credits song. I, and I’m sure others, will wait eagerly for the soundtrack dlc to release on July 7th.

Overall
+ Art
+ Story

+/- Character models
+/- Voice quality

Gray Skies, Dark Waters is really one of those games that does well but aspects of it can take away from the experience for many. Becoming a maybe game as the story and writing is just as important as the voice acting and quality. It does a good job with anything relating to story, the hand drawn backgrounds, and soundtrack, but not so well with having different quality of sound for their voice work and having their character models look like they are from and belong in that world. Though I do recommend checking this out to see the story unfold in front of you, whether it be now or later.

IFIYGD

Posted: January 4, 2018
I really did not know what to expect from this game, when I first bought it and started playing it. It was more than I expected.

I honestly enjoyed this interactive VN/point & click adventure. Much more than I expected to, especially with it being the first game from an unknown Indie studio.

Yes, the facial animations were a bit rough, as were many other small things. Some of the VO’s were a bit "off", with some obvious mic echo, or variation in sound levels. But for a game made in Unity Personal, by new devs, animators and artists, just learning the ropes… I was easily able to look past the small flaws, and enjoy the sparkly gem hiding underneath.

The story actually was quite good, deeper, and touching on more serious and important things than I expected. Like the interpersonal realtionships in a broken family, mental heath challenges hidden for many years, the apparent burden of a daughter, who had to become a surrogate mother to her siblings, in a short period of time. I do wish there had been a touch more back story, to explain what it was like before, a little more depth to where this family had been before Mom disappeared, and how, 1 year ater, they got to where they were, in what we read and see. But, it was still quite well developed, and touched on some very senstivie subjects, quite well, and in a way that seemed realisitc. The way average human beings deal with such things. The choices-matter aspect was very good. Choices DID actually matter, and change outcomes, and dialogs, in a significant enough way to make a second playthrough worth doing, for more than just achievements.

The music was quite fitting, folksy, a very good fit for the game, with the ending song a wonderful (to me) folksong, sung by a "regular" folksinger. Someone I would expect to hear performing at a Ren-Fest, an open mike night, or a college campfire get-together.

Yes, it is a little rough around the edges. But, for a first time effort, it shows a ton of love was put into making it and telling its story.

Yes, I would pay full price, the price is reasonable. On sale, even more so.

Don’t expect high drama, or fast action. This is a slow paced, emotional journey through the day of a young woman with some heavy feelings and possibilities to come to grips with. Adrenaline junkies, this isn’t for you. People with heart, who want a story and experience made with love, give it a go.

Greenn Willow- well done. I look forward to seing you grow and become better with your next projects.
I think you can do it. 🙂

Temko

Posted: June 9, 2017
Product received for free

Gray Skies, Dark Waters writes a nice story with good pacing and fantastic art, but with the lacking character models and on occasion spotty voice acting quality it has its moments of annoyance.

Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RGVsUiBCi4

Text:
The game is very cool looking. The art style is striking enough to feel unique, and the developers have spent enough time on each scene to make them all feel fantastic. Every piece of text, background and scenery is filled with details about the world, story and game in general.

So its a damn shame that the 3D models look dreadful in comparison and provide a very striking and unfavorable balance to that art.

On from there, this two good ideas and a bad apple moves into audio with the voice acting being generally okay, and the writing being overall good, but the quality of the voice acting in terms of audio delivery and consistency being very much a sketchy game of "maybe here" with questionable audio quality on most of the characters in lesser or greater extent.

As for the overall story: its good. While a somewhat short ~2 hours, it has some replay value in trying other dialogue paths and trying out different story paths the core experience and scenery as well as overall content doesn’t change.

Lastly, the music in the game is lovely with strings and vocals mixing on lovely occasions throughout the title.

Overall, especially at the price point of $7, this isn’t a hard title to recommend, but it is a title that needs to fit in your kind of niche as its a lot of listening and experiencing, and very much no puzzle solving or demon-magic-stabbing.

skullsandlace

Posted: December 27, 2017
I loved this game. It’s completely story-driven, but your choices affect what happens in the story. It has a very interesting mystery that you must unravel, and the solution to the mystery is something unique and original. Additionally, the beautiful music and artwork really drew me in and had me playing for hours without realizing it. Such a beautiful story and game. Would highly recommend.

Pakman

Posted: February 1, 2018
I hear a lark,
The woods are dark,
I put my fingers on the bark.

I like these trees,
They’re near the sea,
I like the way they set me free.

I ask them why,
I sometimes cry,
When the silver moon is in the sky.

But they don’t say,
They never say,
And so I always go away.


I love story driven games, and this one was set in a fictional small town in Virginia known as Avett’s Landing. The game even reminded me of Life is Strange at times, especially as it went on to uncover more details to add to the story.

Visually the game is great, nothing mind-blowing but that’s because every scene is a hand-drawn painting like you’d expect from your kids’ book illustrations, which really add to the overall theme of the game. Nothing but the character in the game are something that moves, everything else is just still in a painting, so I’d suggest seeing gameplay of couple minutes before picking it up. To me, I didn’t even know it was going to be like that when I bought it since I went in blind, and while it did put me off for a bit upon discovering that when I launched the game, that feeling went away quicker than it came and I ended up appreciating the artwork in this amazing story.

Coming to soundtrack, this game kept me satisfied through and through in that regard. There’s a very very nice variety of instrumentals playing in background in the entirety of the game, even when someone is talking, it’s playing in background but it is never intrusive at all; if anything, it actually soothes you down while you learn new twists and such throughout the game. And when you finish the game, there’s one song plays that made me want to see through the credits happily because it was that good, I’d definitely suggest checking out the OST for this game, I bought the Deluxe Edition of the game from Steam so I received the Art Book as well as the Soundtrack of the game; I’d suggest you do the same since it’s not that much more expensive at all.

Now comes to the strongest point of this game, story. Without it the game wouldn’t have fared well at all, which is true for majority of the titles out there but personally for me, in a point and click game like this, if I wasn’t delivered a decent story then I would’ve been sorely disappointed. But alas, that wasn’t the case here. It starts off light which reminds me a bit of a recently played indie title, Virginia, since the story revolves around a missing person — but as you play it a bit more, interact with things, talk to other characters, some twists starts to come out that you wouldn’t have been expecting at all, I really was just thinking this was going to end up like something what I experienced from Gone Home since that was also set in the house and told the story by interacting with objects around the house, but nope. In favor of not spoiling it for anyone, I won’t go into details of the twists but I will say it, just when you think you had it all figured out because you’re smarty pants like that with the twists, they throw you another one in the end to mess up the whole theory you had in mind, leaving you a choice in the game to make the decision of what you thought of all the information that you came to know, which opens a few options to your imaginations but I really liked the one I picked, which we can discuss in comments if anyone else has played the game already with appropriate spoiler tags mentioned.

This baby was made by a small but talented team that was formed out of University of Virginia, and this was also their debut title, the guys behind it are Green Willow Games. Hell, they even used the ‘personal edition ‘of Unity to make this game, which was quite fun and made me share it with a friend of mine freshly getting into CS and interested in working with games as a hobby, tools like these really gives masses the freedom to play around with their creativity. This game just proves it once again, you do not really need state of the art gameplay or realistic graphics to make a great game, as long as you have a right story to go along, it can really deliver a fulfilling experience, which is what indie games are really all about for the most part.

This is a slow paced game, so if you are into sitting back and spend 2-3hrs of your time for an ‘experience’ instead of playing war simulators like CoD, Battlefield and such, then you’re in for a treat. Instead of watching a few episodes of your favorite TV show, you can spend playing this game instead and will walk away with an experience that is told through some of the best movies out there, I know I did and I definitely recommend this game, it’s super cheap to pick up on Steam and with specs that doesn’t even require a dedicated GPU to run, anyone and everyone can afford to play this game and be content with it.

Méléas

Posted: May 12, 2018
Gray Skies, Dark Waters tells an interesting story shaped by some of your choices about myths and mental health. Dialogues recording are uneven and could use some polish but hey, it’s an indie game. Give it some love.

The Seer

Posted: March 21, 2018
This is a well-fleshed out story game that presents a thoughtful, multi-dimensional picture of loss through the eyes of a family. The 2D art is consistenly beautiful, moody and engrossing, which makes up for some rough 3D character models. The music is likewise very good, adding a dark-folk tinge to the environment. But my favorite thing about the game would have to be how the dialogue – internal and external – interacts with this environment. Visually, the game’s a bit doom-and-gloom, with grey dominating the landscape (this is adressed point blank by several characters). The muted watercolor-esque art conveys this without sacrificing clarity. And yet, the dialogue shifts between humor and gravity quite freely. The conflict between the environment and the humor really parallel my experience with grief – everyone tries to act like things are normal, but when levity enters into that equation, it throws everything off and makes us question how we’re supposed to balance our joy and our sorrow. This is a question that Gray Skies, Dark Waters asks over and over again, and the last choice in the game allows us to provide our own answer. For that, I love this game. Highly recommended for patient or story-oriented players.

louismax1

Posted: December 3, 2017
Product received for free

Disclaimer: I was a beta tester for this game.


I really liked GSDW. It’s a nicely drawn and well voice-acted story-driven exploration focusing on the emotional relations of the characters. The objects strewn around do a wonderful job setting the backdrop of a believable family, and all the quirks and joys and hardships of living together. With different endings depending on how you interact, it has solid replay value, and you get to decide how you’d like the story to go.


Looking forward to more fantastic games from the crew at Green Willow!

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