Concrete Genie Review – Unleashing Your Artistic Potential
Concrete Genie follows the heartwarming journey of a bullied teen named Ash, who escapes his troubles by bringing his colorful imagination to life in his sketchbook, while exploring his hometown of Denska which has been polluted by Darkness. Can he overcome the obstacles and bring his town back to life?
+ Breathtaking visuals
+ Enthralling storyline
+ Makes good use of motion sensor technology
+ Gameplay feels very rewarding
+ Suitable for all ages
- The game is rather short
- Genies can be frustratingly slow
- Dark genie combat appears way too late into the game
Concrete Genie Review
What is Concrete Genie About?
Developed by Pixelopus, the game takes place in a small town named Denska, a once thriving fishing community that was abandoned after a massive oil spill poisoned the town’s waters and covered it with darkness. Gamers take on the role of Ash, a young boy with an incredible imagination and an equally impressive artistic skill.
One day, Ash was confronted by a group of bullies who proceed to steal and destroy his art book. All of his drawings were then scattered throughout the city and he was forcefully pushed into a cable car which leads to a mysterious lighthouse. Realizing that one of his many drawings were there, he chased after it but it seemingly got further and further away as he approaches it.
Ash then discovers a magical paintbrush imbued with “Living Paint” which is capable of bringing his drawings to life. With the help of his creations, he learns that he has the power of purifying the darkness and saving his hometown of Denska. Doing so will not be easy however as the group of bullies will continue to stand in his way.
An Unusual but Satisfying Way to Play
Concrete Genie is one of the rare gems on the PlayStation 4 as it utilizes both standard control and motion sensors in order to play. While you’re out and about, you’re going to be controlling Ash like you would any character in an action-adventure game like Uncharted for example. When it comes to the painting aspect however, this is where the motion sensor comes into play.
When you are given the opportunity to paint a canvas, which are mostly walls in explorable areas, you will be doing so by moving your controller. That may sound difficult in theory but for the most part, the game does most of the painting automatically. You simply use the motion sensor on the DualShock 4 to guide the direction of the painting.
You will simply need to select a design from your sketchbook, then drag your controller in the direction of your choosing. Initially, it may seem rather awkward to do but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find yourself doing some breathtaking artwork that blooms in the dark town of Denska. While you can opt to use the analog stick to paint, the experience is nowhere near as satisfying.
It can feel surprisingly gratifying to paint the town as with each successful stroke, you trigger a sound or a music which feels like an instant reward on its own. In each area, there will be multiple zones that you need to liberate with your painting. Upon completion, you will be treated with an overview of your masterpiece, allowing you to appreciate the work of art that you’ve produced.
Harnessing the Power of Genies
Aside from painting, you’ll have the chance to draw and animate genies, which are colourful creatures that aid you in your quest. These genies work differently from your regular artwork as they have special abilities that are necessary to overcome obstacles. For example, the Fire Genie can burn down doors or wooden obstacles that are blocking the path.
In a number of cases, you will have to paint something that will appeal to the genies in order for them to assist you. While it can be endearing to see how these genies interact with you, it can be slightly annoying at times. They may be responsive to your requests they appear to take their own sweet time on it, making you wait unnecessarily long at times to progress.
As you progress through the game, you will eventually come to blows with a form of evil known simply as dark genies. With that comes a new combat mechanics that’s quite different from what you’ve done in the game thus far. It’s a good change of pace and the battles feel similar to the likes of Jak and Daxter.
My only issue with the dark genies is that they appear way too late into the game. By the time you face these creatures, you have essentially completed 75% of the game’s main story. Jumping from a more creative and somewhat stealthy style of gameplay to full-blown action can feel rather jarring. It is still entertaining nonetheless.
Concrete Genie is a rather short game as you can easily complete it within six hours. As much as painting is an integral part of the game, the story is what drives the game’s appeal. As you start learning the truth behind the oil spill incident and why the bullies behave in a juvenile manner, the tone of the game shifts greatly.
While the story is still rather cliché, you can tell that the narrative is crafted with care with a clear message in mind. It wants to teach people to overcome the detrimental cycle of bullying with empathy and understanding. If you find yourself playing this for more than an hour, then you’re most likely going to be emotionally-invested in the game and it’s worth it in the end.
Concrete Genie Verdict
Concrete Genie is a rather unique game offering gamers a creative outlet to enjoy even for those who lack artistic skills. The story will easily captivate almost any gamer out there and it’s hard to not enjoy. Sure, the game is rather short and it has some quirks but it’s easily worth buying especially since it’s more affordable than your standard PlayStation 4 game.
Even after you’re done with the storyline, you can always go back to the town of Denska and spend the time painting or repainting as you please. It’s a game that is not only suitable for all ages, but is also one that I’m sure will appeal to both adults and children alike. With that, I award Concrete Genie with our coveted Gold Pokdeward.