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Destructoid: Concrete Genie is one of Sony's most impressive games developed by one of its smallest studios


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Pixelopus was established this generation and consists of fewer than two dozen developers, many of whom are recent college grads.

 

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As I'm whittling down action-adventure games with various pixel-perfect dodge requirements and vast statistical equipment and class tables, I desperately crave chill experiences that I can just sit down and smile at. Concrete Genie is unique in that it encapsulates that AAA open world adventure formula that Sony nails so well with studios like Sucker Punch, but also satisfies that aforementioned chill test.

 

My demo started with vague notions of an abandoned town, an introduction to our hero, Ash, who can harness magic with his special paint brush, and the bullies -- the hateful but not-entirely-evil horde of miscreants who will harass the player and steal their equipment. Your goal is concise -- paint the town back to life -- but the methods in which you can accomplish it are broad.

 

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But the real magic is with the monsters Ash can create to help him solve puzzles and just plain look cute. My demo restricted me to red monsters, which have the power to ignite certain surfaces, and they can be customized with any number of horns, hairs, tails, or what have you. Even the most garish creation is still lovable though and would feel right at home on Sesame Street -- especially when coupled with the tickling and high-five emotes.

 

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Gocke notes that Concrete Genie will be a "five- to six-hour game, with a caveat." The main thing PixelOpus wants people to understand is that there will be an inherent amount of replay value built in, on top of the fact that the artistic nature of the game will spur experimentation. When asked about a New Game+ option (which is something I'd definitely want), Gocke explained that "our boss really wants them, and it's something we're looking into." For now, there's the Share button.

 

This is the type of game I want to play with my wife side-by-side at the same time with two TVs just to witness how we approach the game. My monsters were completely different from everyone else's, Gocke mused, and even in the early moments of the game I can see how the AI can create subtly (but not too drastically) different cute moments. For a team of 20 people, one that Gocke calls "among the smallest internal studios around," I'm anxiously awaiting Concrete Genie's release later this year.

 

Polygon: Art adventure Concrete Genie is a magical PS4 gem (Jet Set Radio meets Okami meets The Last Guardian for a lovely little journey)

 

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Sony first announced developer Pixelopus’ Concrete Genie during the annual Paris Games Week in fall 2017, when it struck us as a pure-hearted fantasy among much harsher projects. 

 

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All of that wall-decorating makes Concrete Genie seem something like Jet Set Radio, which also incorporated graffiti to tag a stylized world. A major component that helps differentiate from other art- and graffiti-based games is that Ash can run into patches of art on the ground that compel him to take to the wall and create a monster as customizable as the rest of his art. Called genies, they can be friendly, Where the Wild Things Are-esque creatures; or they can be huge monsters with horns all over their bodies. (That’s what I went with during my hands-on gameplay, scaring everyone around me.)

 

These genies give Ash a boost in bringing light back to the neighborhood, and they help him clear puzzles to go deeper into its various zones. This is when the game starts feeling more like The Last Guardian, or anything else where a character must guide someone they can’t communicate with beyond gesturing. The genies slink across walls on their own, but Ash can command them to burn down coverings that he can then scale across, as well as use them for super-painting that brightens the surroundings. In return, they’ll beg him to draw them a sun that makes them cheer.

 

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