The freedom that Sony gave their developers back during the early days of PlayStation was one of the main reasons I was attracted to their consoles. Would Nintendo or Microsoft have approved something as crazy as Parappa the Rapper? No way. While I love all these amazing 3rd person cinematic experiences that we’ve been blessed with, games like Media Molecule’s Dreams and PixelOpus’ Concrete Genie give me hope that the old school Sony is still around, giving these artistic games a chance to shine with their mighty publishing dollar.
So when I stumbled upon the area that housed Concrete Genie, I was quick to get my hands-on with it. Brah. I’m glad I did. This is the kind of game that Sony needs in their repertoire to offset all the more serious games they have in their portfolio. The game grabbed Me and My Wife’s attention back when it revealed at Paris Games Week 2017 and for good reason. It was so different, so unique. At one point in my life I wanted to be an artist, so this tickled that itch. Concrete Genie isn’t about fighting robots or killing hundreds of mercenaries. No. It’s about using Ash’s imagination to return his hometown of Denske to life.
Ash, our young hero, is a shy, quiet kid who’s talents shine the brightest when given something to create art with. After finding a magical paint brush, his job is to bring light back to his hometown of Denske, along with the help of his genie pals. There’s one main problem. When you’re that shy kid at school, its easy for moronic bully’s to single you out. A group of these dummies unfortunately ripped out pages of Ash’s sketchbook, so along your journey to “bring back the light” to Denske, you will also be retrieving your lost artwork.
The demo starts with Ash hanging out in Denske, until the bullies show their ugly mugs. I escape before they notice me, then decide to explore a bit. Coming across a wall with lights strung above, I’m prompted to press the touchpad, as my magical paintbrush comes to life. Using the motion controls, I begin to painting my concrete canvas, the lightbulbs begin to come to life. I paint hills, grass, trees, flowers, and the stars above come to life, moving magically along the bricks, as a rainbow of colors fill the screen. I follow the string of lights to another wall. This time below this wall is what looks like a chalk drawing. Pushing square, I’m tasked to creating my first Concrete Genie!!
After designing him to life, I go up and give him some loving, as it smiles with delight. He has a request. Fire! I quickly illustrated a couple for my new friend, as it enjoyed the warmth of the flames. Leaving him, I continue to find more lights to use my magical paintbrush on. He soon follows me, as I continue to work my magic. Coming upon a basketball goal, he cheers me on as I take a shot. NOTHING BUT NET! My Genie gives me a high five. Brah. This game. This charm. I NEEDS IT!!!
Continuing on, I find more sketchbook pages, which grant me more background items plus different looks for my genies. I find a new genie.. but suddenly, the bullies show up. They begin pushing me around until I escape. I notice a dumpster, jump on it, then begin scaling a building so quickly and fluidly that Nathan Drake would be proud. Soon the bullies below give up in their pursuit and leave me be.
I return to the streets below, as I continue to paint the town with my magical brush, bringing back the light to the town, hell, the life to the town with my magical grafitti, I have this smile on my face, knowing that PixelOpus have something special here. Their passion for this project is evident the moment you begin bringing painting your first wall. This game is a labor of love.
Concrete Genie releases later this year and we can’t wait to play the final product!