PS4 version tested
Concrete Genie is an exclusive action-adventure game developed by Pixelopus, part of Sony Interactive Entertainment worldwide studios. The game takes place in a small town called Denska which has been mostly abandoned since the area was polluted. It is now used as a hangout for the kids from surrounding areas.
The main character is called Ash, he escapes from his mundane life to go back and reminisce about the life he used to live in the area when his parents visited when he was a child. Ash is an artist and spends his time alone drawing, that is until his bullies come home and tear out the pages of his art book. The bullies then lock him in the cable car leading to the haunted lighthouse. He then starts to explore the lighthouse and is given a magic paintbrush by a character he drew when he was young. From there the central mechanic is using the artwork you create which starts out limited but expands quickly with new designs that you get throughout the overworld.
These portraits become living pictures and the creatures formed are able to help you with puzzles once the corruption is cleared from the area. Each Genie that you gain access too serves a different purpose, they all have their own unique personalities and it really shows. Throughout bullies are persistent threats to Ash and usually follow you around rejuvenated areas. They can also ruin your artwork causing the rejuvenation to die off in the area.
This game is heavily influenced by the excellent Jet Set Radio, Jet Grind Radio if you are in America, as stated by Dominic Robillard. This is very much apparent in the excellent street art that is on display in Concrete Genie. The central theme of bullying is very near and dear to me, it’s handled extremely well over the course of the game. There are several surprises I didn’t see coming which actually resonated even more with each passing minute. This game is stunningly beautiful and the artwork is amazing, vibrant and you can see why it is used to breathe life into the world.
This game is very special to me, it clearly shows the effect of bullies on the victims but also on themselves as well. Ash as a character is amazingly likeable, as are all of the genies. The game makes you root for him to help each area encountered and a wanting for him to overcome his bullying. This is simply one of the most visually bright and stunning games in a long time. Now, this is one of the most difficult scores given, as in my opinion, this game is a masterpiece that every PlayStation owner should own. The central themes should be shown to kids all over the world so that they understand how bullying affects us all. Don’t sleep on this Concrete Genie as it should be on everyone’s PlayStation.
TBG Score: 10/10
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: 09/10/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Action / Adventure
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Download link: PSN