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Written by Mike Melkonian of CardboardConsole.com

Concrete Genie is currently available for PlayStation 4 and is playable on PSVR.

In a gaming landscape filled with epic AAA blockbusters, it’s refreshing to see a smaller, experimental game come out of Sony’s Worldwide Studios. Players take on the role of Ash, a young artist living in the now deserted town of Denska, and must use the power of his imagination, as well as a magic paint brush, to restore his hometown to its former glory.

Developed by the small team at PixelOpus, Concrete Genie follows in the tradition of games like Flower and Journey to create a unique and artistic experience that, while not challenging in the way a satisfying game typically should be, provides the player with a solid six hours of eye candy, therapeutic play, and deeply thematic moments of self reflection.

Gameplay

Concrete Genie combines elements from various genres to create a one of a kind single player campaign, but is at its core an environmental puzzle game. Players must paint “genies” (which can be customized to the players liking) on the walls of Denska, and use their unique properties to progress past various obstacles (for example, fire genies can burn down wooden crates blocking Ash’s way, electric genies can power generators needed to operate machines, etc).

There is also quite a bit of platforming in the game, and the animations of Ash scaling the various walls and environments of Denska look strikingly similar to Nathan Drake’s animations in the Uncharted series, to the point where I think PixelOpus is intentionally trolling their fellow Sony studio, Naughty Dog. The game also provides quite the scavenger hunt for all of the missing pages in Ash’s sketch book, and this collectathon will keep players engaged long after the main story is over.

Critiques

Even though this is a game aimed a younger audience, the developers could have provided a *little* more challenge. Players who have ANY experience with games will find Concrete Genie a breeze to get through, and while I understand this may have been an intentional choice, some more difficult side/optional content would have been appreciated.

Is it okay for kids? Absolutely! I think anyone between the ages of 6 and 12 will likely enjoy this game, and I strongly suggest that people play Concrete Genie as a family activity. There are so many themes for a kid to relate to, including some relatively heavy subject matters such as divorce and parental fighting, that it may be helpful for parents to play along and explain the meaning of certain interactions to their kids when it’s needed.

Conclusion

While the simplistic gameplay holds it back a bit, there is no denying the sheer amount of heart that went into crafting this product. It is a truly beautiful game, and at an affordable price, I would say Concrete Genie is a must buy for any PS4 owners with kids, and even those without.



What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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