Concrete Genie Review – A feast for the Eyes
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release: 8th October 2019
Concrete Genie is one of the tinier Playstation exclusive releases that promise unique experiences for a discounted price tag and a ton of charme. Naturally, a game about painting a city back to colour may remind many of the infamous Blob series but luckily, it’s far more than just a copy of this concept.
Ash is your typical, free-thinking and creative teenager in Denska, a city filled with darkness, gray and bullies. One day, when he’s getting attacked by the usual group of kids again though, he finds the power to let his art come to life and giving him the opportunity to revitalize Denska. With the help of so-called genies he has to paint and overcome the darkness that continues to spread around town before everything is encapsulated by it.
Like the plot indicates, Concrete Genie isn’t offering aynthing unqiue, instead the focus lies on simply delivering a world and characters everyone can enjoy. It’s still a pretty cliché tale about a creative kid getting bullied by mean kids without many reasons and how he learns to be stronger than them and ultimately overcoming the obstacles of the world. And if you don’t expect anything more from it, it at least does a wonderful job presenting it through a beautiful mix of 3D and animated 2D ones.
Speaking of art, Concrete Genie’s core is, as anyone would expect, the painting. Featuring an extensive system to support the player with both dozens of possible assets to paint and corrections to make every stroke feel great. On the one hand, over the course of the first 3-4 hours, Ash will unlock a wide array of wonderful looking objects to paint, ranging from forest grass or trees to stars or planets. Those can then be placed freely on the walls in order to create hopefully wonderful paintings. Since there are no real limits to how many things can be painted in total on a single wall, it’s surprisingly easy to create actually pleasant sceneries, partly because Concrete Genie constantly tries to correct uneven strokes in a subtle manner or react on curious ideas. For example, the genies themselves, needed to solve many puzzles or destroy obstacles, have to be painted as well. However, no matter what bizarre form one gives them, the game always finds a way to make them come to life realistically and overshadow the potential poor painting ability and uneven strokes.
Overall, the painting itself never aims to actually let the player paint freely, instead, it constantly watches over you like a gentle invisible hand, giving you assistance when needed but never too much to make you feel encased. As a result, painting simply feels good and gives an amazing sense of achievement to anyone, even someone as poor in it as me, enforcing its theme of being enjoyable for literally anyone.
Concrete Genie is a wonderful game for everyone. Literally everyone can enjoy the amazing variety possible with its painting tools as well as the great underlying design to make everything feel rewarding and simply fun. Mixed with a more action-filled second half that makes use of the previous painting it’s a wonderful, colourful trip no one who liked the premise should miss.
[A Review Code was provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment]