Concrete Genie – Review
Follow Genre: Action-Adventure
Developer: PixelOpus
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platform: PS4
Tested on: PS4

Concrete Genie – Review

Site Score
7.5
Good: Stunning visual design and soundtrack, creative gameplay
Bad: Motion Sensor gameplay
User Score
10.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Concrete Genie is an Action Adventure game, developed by PixelOpus, for the PlayStation 4. It is PlayStation VR compatible and uses the Motion Tracking system. It follows the story of Ash, a young boy, trying to restore his rundown and abandoned town to its former glory with the use of a lot of colorful paint and a few magical friends.  

Story

The story kicks off with our hero, Ash, getting lost in his drawings, sitting by the water. Some local bullies show up unfortunately and tear away at his sketchbook, scattering his beloved doodles all over town. After being forced to go to a supposed haunted lighthouse, he finds one of his favorite creations, the ghost Luna, to come alive on the wall. Luna guides him through the lighthouse where he discovers a magical brush and a way to restore the god-ridden town of Dekstra, now a desolate and derelict town, to its former glory. Whilst avoiding the bullies that inhabit the polluted town, Ash ventures on, in search of his lost pages, and painting his way through the city with a little help from his magically created monsters called Genies. Bit by bit, each neighborhood is transformed from a bleak and lifeless darkness, to being engulfed in optimistic colorful bright artworks.

The story takes you to different areas, such as the dockside, the sewers and the power plant and more, divided into six chapters. Near the end of the game, the story takes a darker turn, inverting the passive and slow-paced story into a more action-packed conclusion. 

Graphics

Probably the most impressive part of this game is its visual style and atmosphere, both perfectly portrayed by the contrast of the cold, dark and abandoned city of Dekstra, and the transformation it goes through as the player paints its surface. The sketches depicted in Ash’s lost pages are playful and simplistic, and with bright coloring, the player can form breathtaking tapestries on the walls. The game is not only creatively designed, but lets the player show off his or hers creative side, giving you a lot of freedom in designing your own colorful version of Dekstra. A tool to take pictures inside the game will let you save your most treasured creations. During flashback cutscenes, the visuals are more hand-drawn cartoon-like, which is a visually appealing way to differentiate past and present. Inside the Gallery in the menus, there is also some amazing concept art to find.

Sound

Concrete Genie’s soundtrack is beautiful. The music often feels melodramatic, yet playful, perfectly combining the optimism of colorfully painting the world of Dekstra, while being confronted with its bleak past and present state. The feeling of loneliness in this abandoned town, and Ash’s goal to return it to a colorful paradise is told perfectly with the accompanied music. The sound design of the painting mechanics itself is light and magical, adding to the playfulness of its gameplay.

Gameplay

Concrete Genie is an Action Adventure game that focusses heavily on the creativity of the player through painting. Ash’s mission is to transform Dekstra to its former glory by basically giving it an awesome paint job. You will have to clear zones by making sure all the lights are illuminated. This can be accomplished by painting the walls adjacent to them. Once each light is lit in a particular zone, a darkness that prevented you from progressing will disappear and you wil be able to move on to the next neighborhood of Dekstra

Together with handy sprites attached to his backpack, Ash can summon Genies, which are magically painted monsters that will aid him on his journey. There are different types of Genies; fire, electric and wind genies, with each their own elemental ability, necessary to solve certain puzzles. These funny and cute monsters don’t just help Ash without asking something in return. To obtain some Superpaint, needed to clear the darkness that envelops the town, or for them to use their special ability, you will have to make them happy by painting the things they love, or even play games with them, so some low maintenance is in order.

With painting being the majority of the gameplay, aside from some mild platforming, the game does lack some challenge. The main challenge you will face, are its clunky painting controls. The game uses the Motion Sensor system to guide your paintbrush on the walls. This can feel extremely wonky at first and will require some getting used to, as the game itself early on states. This mechanic is very interesting, but when trying to make specific tapestries on a wall, it can become annoyingly difficult to get a handle on it.

Concrete Genie is a somewhat passive game, but the game decides to change up its story and mechanics near the end, inverting some abilities completely. Although this is a very surprising and interesting turn of events, it seemingly comes out of nowhere and is prone to some light criticism. The game basically chances from a slow-paced painting game, to an action-packed monster hunt.

The game will take you under 6 hours to complete, but if you want to acquire all of Ash’s missing sketches, unlock all the Genie Moments, and so on, there is some additional fun to be had in the form of collectibles and adds another good hour to the game.

Conclusion

Concrete Genie is a beautiful little game, with stunning visuals, interactive creativity and solid sound design. The game’s story is simple, with a clear goal, but does manage to surprise you. The gameplay is satisfying, although the Motion Sensor gameplay can be frustrating at times. The game is relatively short, but also just long enough not to get stale. The Deluxe edition bundle comes with 12 custom paintbrushes, the original soundtrack, a stunning digital art book and two interactive themes. Very nice additions, but not necessarily worth the surplus price. If the deluxe bundle DLC would be included in the original game, it would probably justify its current price tag, which feels slightly overpriced for a very short, but interesting and beautiful game.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Concrete Genie - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
GlennVR
GlennVR


"I do not have the gospel of faith to share with you today. I have, and I offer.. the Gospel of Doubt." - G.O.D

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