Evaluation: ‘Concrete Genie’ Is the Really feel-Good Sport of the Yr

Once we discuss PlayStation four exclusives we often take into consideration titles like God of Struggle, Spider-Man, Uncharted, and The Final of Us. However Sony Interactive Leisure additionally has many smaller video games below its belt. Certainly one of these is the not too long ago launched Concrete Genie from PixelOpus. A lot within the vein of Thatgamecompany’s Flower, this artistically-minded journey is all about going out into the world and making it a greater, brighter place. It’s a refreshing change of tempo for many who need a completely different type of gaming expertise.

Concrete Genie contains a younger artist named Ash. Within the recreation’s opening moments, we see him hanging out in an deserted city known as Denska; a spot he as soon as known as house. Whereas reminiscing in town’s former glory, a bunch of bullies accosts Ash and tears up his artbook. Ash finally finds himself in a lighthouse the place he meets a magical being that bestows him with an outsized paintbrush. With this, Ash returns to Denska in an try to revive it to life.

Gameplay is fairly straight-forward. You’re taking Ash into sections of Denska and revive them together with his magical paintbrush. The twist is that you just get assist from “genies.” Genies can solely transfer throughout related partitions. Purple thorns will impede their motion. You counter this by utilizing “particular” paint offered by the genies. Genies provide you with this energy up after you paint particular objects similar to grass, bushes, and flowers on partitions. Typically, the genies will need you to play with them. One will need you to kick a ball to it whereas one other requires you to shine a highlight on it so it will possibly sing. Every genie you accumulate has a persona of its personal.

You paint by both utilizing the best analog stick or utilizing the DualShock four’s movement controls. I opted for the latter as a result of A) it felt extra pure to color this manner and B) it’s uncommon video games truly require the usage of movement controls. There isn’t a penalty for portray outdoors of the predetermined borders. The sport forgives any imperfections as long as you’re shut sufficient. Although you possibly can’t make a “unhealthy” portray, you possibly can undo earlier paint strokes and take a look at once more. I actually loved the intuitiveness of the portray mechanics.

There are three genie sorts. Pink genies create fires, yellow genies generate electrical energy and blue genies create wind. You’ll want to make use of every of their distinctive skills with a purpose to full goals and to press ahead. Fixing these particular puzzles requires Ash to gather the corresponding items of art work the genies needs him to attract. As long as gamers stay observant of their environment, puzzles is not going to current a lot of a problem.

As you discover Denska, you’ll discover pages of your artbook. These pages not solely show you how to remedy particular puzzles, however additionally they provide you with completely different items to attract in your genies. Consider Mr. Potato Head and also you’ll get an thought of how customization works. You’ll be able to have a genie with large antlers or lengthy tentacles, for instance. There’s rather a lot for gamers to toy round with. Since I’m missing within the creativeness division, I left my genies of their default setting. Nevertheless it’s cool that artistic gamers are free to make all method of untamed and loopy wanting genies. Every location ends with Ash having to color a “masterpiece.” This includes portray most of the gadgets you’ve collected on an enormous wall. Although restricted to utilizing particular gadgets, I fairly loved making these outsized work.

The aforementioned bullies are one other side of gameplay. They’re an ever-present nuisance that Ash should keep away from. I take advantage of the phrase “nuisance” on goal as a result of the bullies aren’t any actual menace to start with. All one actually has to do is soar on a rooftop if bullies see Ash. Even when they catch Ash, the sport doesn’t precisely finish. This dynamic modifications within the latter half, nonetheless. No spoilers, however Concrete Genie does a pleasant job of humanizing the bullies. By the top, you’ll really feel sympathy for every of them.

I’ve blended emotions about how the gameplay shifts within the final half. The primary half is a considerably chill expertise the place you get to fiddle with the paint mechanics. The latter half presents gamers with new skills and full-on boss battles. Don’t get me fallacious, I completely liked this portion because it ratcheted up the problem and depth. However it’s jarring going from a soothing journey to a harrowing one (comparatively talking). That is one thing gamers leaping into Concrete Genie with out prior data ought to pay attention to.

Given its inventive focus, Concrete Genie is without doubt one of the extra visually arresting titles on the market. What’s enjoyable is that there are three completely different artwork kinds. The bottom recreation has a Tim Burton-esque high quality to it. Characters have cease movement animations whereas the city of Denska is darkish and twisted. Ash’s work are colourful manifestations that present a pointy distinction to the drab, dreary city. The fantastically hand-drawn cutscenes (which give context for the world and characters’ histories) seem like they got here straight out of a youngsters’s storybook. I can’t think about the type of work that went into having so many alternative artwork kinds mesh collectively however PixelOpus did a unbelievable job of it.

At round 6 to 7 hours, Concrete Genie gives simply sufficient gameplay with out overstaying its welcome. In reality, it’s a pleasant distinction to the 100-hour monstrosities recreation firms appear to launch now. Being a visible individual, I’m all the time up for taking part in titles with a really particular and distinctive artwork type. Concrete Genie definitely does that. It additionally presents a heartwarming story about empathy and by no means giving up in your goals. Priced at $30, it’s the excellent recreation to play on a pleasant weekend afternoon. It’s value your time if you happen to’re a PlayStation four proprietor.

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