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Review | Concrete Genie

"Draw me a game. Pour water on it. No, gasoline. Light the matches. Ignite. Okay, it’s not so bad, but I’ve really seen better art games. Dive in the world of darkness and use your brush to light the way"

by Foggy, 23-12-2019, Edited by: Jim Tepedino

Developed by Pixelopus, Concrete Genie is your next sweet art game. This studio is part of the Sony development network studios. Not much to say about them at this point. You can play the game using VR or with joystick. Of course, the best experience comes from VR.

Meet Ash, the guy with the ugliest hand model ever.

The story takes place in a small abandoned and polluted town named Denska. Ash, a young boy you play with, draws in his notebook. He is the solution for this dark and depressed town. As he is bullied, he lose all his drawings and goes on a journey to collect them all. Surprisingly, those sketches come to life and they will lead you on your way to resurrect what has been lost. You will find a brush and the journey can start. Paint those walls and bring back the light.

I am not an artist. At least not the one that paints on the walls.

As you’re bullied by the other kids, you find your way through the town in search of those lost pages. Your ghost genie is always beside you. Plus, the point of this game is to paint. So, paint other genies! When you do, they can side-scroll the walls to overcome these obstacles. The game is simple in its core. And that is ok, it was meant to be for kids, so that’s what you should expect.

All the genies look like a pineapple to me.

What I don’t like is that simplicity. Movement, jumping, attacking (later on), aiming…All of those are so simple and aiming is one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced. You can use the special functions of pointing your joystick to paint, or you can disable them as they suck and just do with the right thumb stick. Either way, the first 2-3 hours were just confusing and frustrating.

Your mission is to bring the lights through the different town areas. You will explore the sewers and an old lighthouse. Not much you will go through as the game is also short. Using a few different genie types, you will solve the puzzles and experience different moments with them. They can interact with different drawings and ask you to throw them a ball. It’s cute, I guess.

Genie moments. Something you will cherish. Not me, but you might.

Expect the same things over and over again – find lights, paint close to them to light them up, use super powered paint to get rid of strong darkness on the walls and repeat for few hours. You can doodle the worst pictures ever, you will still make it as long as you use the correct model they ask you for.

There is also a simple platforming mechanic, like jumping to climb the buildings and riding the cables. It’s also clunky and not great. The only thing I liked was the gliding ability and attacking with flying colours. That was cool.

You would think that there is at least some average platforming in this game.

As far as the side content goes, collecting all the pages to draw different genies with different attachments is one of the things you can do. No benefits whatsoever. You can also paint on billboards if you have correct sketch models. Lastly, you find some kind of scribblings on the walls, where you activate moments when genie is close. They ask you to – draw! Wow, did not see that coming!

Not much to say or to add, the short experience this game offers is what it’s all about. I guess you can still enjoy the art you create and enjoy all the lovely colours being painted on your TV screen. For me, this was not a great experience. Why? Because I’ve played so many other art games with better gameplay, puzzles, graphics and so much more.

Ok, I got to admit, last portion of the game is much coller than the beginning.

When it comes to graphics, they are solid cartoonish. Although, I disliked the “cardboard” style, it made the experience a bit repulsive for me. Still, when all the colours and lights shine, they create good landscapes that you can most definitely enjoy.

I guess this just hit me when I was not in the mood. But, on the other hand, we’ve all seen all those indie and short games that are similar in their core that are better in every aspect. That how I feel about this one.

Behold, the brushblade! Lame.

Summary. Depressing game where you use your brush to bring the lights back in everyday life. You go from being bullied to being a friend and a saviour. You paint like the worse painter in the world. Jump a bit…Cursing a bit because the camera is garbage. It is a short experience about the metaphoric journey of one boy and his sketchbook. And some ghosts. Genies. Whatever. It lasts for 5-8 hours, so at least it's worth to try. Maybe you will like it more than I did.

Tame and save those fluffy bastards.

In the end, it’s all about playing something that will relax you when you need that dose. This can be that dose.

"Although nice and pretty, all gameplay elements start to become repetitive and outdated"