Gamer dad who loves the classics, indies, racers and the occasional shooter. Have been in the industry for well over a decade and am as enthusiastic as ever! #4theplayers
Concrete Genie is a title published by Sony with a heartfelt atmosphere and a memorable art style. Every bit as imaginative and with the unique painting mechanic, nice visuals and a relatable story. We can surely enjoy and appreciate this sort of experience around Christmas time.
A 14-year-old Ash is the main protagonist of Concrete Genie. A teen from the fictional town of Denska who, instead of writing, paints his way out of everything. He’s an artist who seems to want nothing more than to create stuff. There’s a group of bullying kids who don’t like that about him, calling him “weird” or “freak,” so they gang up on him and scatter the pages of his sketchbook all around town. However, Ash’s mission isn’t about bestowing vengeance upon them. It’s about infusing life back into Denska by painting his brand of colorful landscapes and creatures upon Denska’s myriad dark, lifeless surfaces. He does so with magic paint and his broadsword-sized paintbrush.
Ash has to save the town but instead of finding enemies, Ash must find walls to paint and the flying pages of his sketchbook, which feature a potpourri of creature designs, landscapes and elemental weather effects. The more pages you run into, the more stuff Ash can paint. Denska’s humble buildings provide plenty of canvases for Ash. A press of the button puts the camera directly behind him, zooming out enough so the painting surface looms large. The experience then becomes a painting minigame, with accessible menus on the right and left featuring all of Ash’s collected designs. Then, using a combination of the PS4 touchpad, buttons and thumb sticks, you paint your creature.
As you paint, you’ll also start illuminating the dead lights that adorn most of the surfaces, and after you’re done painting, another button press actually brings your creation to life. It moves around, looks at you, acts relatively independent of itself, and occasionally asks you for stuff via its own iconographic communication. Basically, if it would like you to paint a fire for it, a bubble with flames in it will pop up next to it and you might hear it cutely “rawr” at you. If you paint a landscape for it across several walls, it’ll actually follow Ash. That’s where you start to realize what creatures like this mean to Ash: They are his friends. Players will find themselves bonding to their creations and take greater care in how they build and protect them.
Ash’s emotional bonds are put to the test when the bullies start roaming around town looking for him. He can’t fight them; he can only avoid them through stealth, running away or jumping up on rooftops, showing some very, very light Nate Drake, Lara Croft-ish climbing ability. If the bullies are too close to your drawing, then your adorable creature, sun, stars and landscape will get smaller and smaller until they practically disappear. I can only guess that Ash can re-paint the creatures and undo the bullies’ damage. But the shrinking away is meant to reflect Ash’s feelings when the bullies draw near, according to PixelOpus. That’s just damn heartbreaking. If the bullies end up catching him, they will do a bunch of bad things to him…
As it remains to be seen how compelling they can make it, Concrete Genie looks to become a PlayStation classic. It was first announced back at Paris Games Week 2017 and nine months later at E3 2018 we finally got to see more magic from Ash’s paintbrush. PixelOpus has created Concrete Genie with a stroke of genius and we can’t wait to see the complete picture somewhere late 2018.