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(Reviewed only as non-VR)
Not all was concrete
I’m not sure how many years I’ve waited for this game. I do remember of seeing something about it looong time ago and recently, I got chance to play it. Concrete Genie is one of those games that tries something new. Being able to draw anywhere on the walls, but only the available patterns, actually sounds great and boring at the same time. I had to remind myself how difficult it is try to draw something with controller, so having only certain patterns might be the best solution for Concrete Genie. But is it painting anymore, or are they stickers?
I’m a genie in a paintbrush
The story is about a lonely boy who founds magical paintbrush and with it, he can draw things alive. Living in a town called Denska (which is almost a Swedish word for Denmark [Danska]) that has very gloomy, dull and depressed atmosphere. So, no wonder if people living there might suffer for chronic major depression. His mission besomes to save the town by fixing everything and erase corruption, which comes to solving puzzles with help of the creatures.
The restricting thing is that those creaures cannot leave the wall and cannot jump from wall to wall or go through certain obstacles. Different creatures can do different things and creating the right ones is always shown. They can be any shape and size, upside-down with body parts of your choice. The creatures sometimes felt like some Tamagotchies as they started to demand things they like, such as butterflies or apples to eat and I think they didn’t responde well my commands if they were cranky. Many walls also had to be painted for decoration purposes and bringing the town life and less-depressive.
Does it even work?
Thinking all this mixture might cause issues technically—and it did. That was probably the most frustrating part of Concrete Genie, when it felt like I had to overdo every wall with dynamic paintings and trying to control the creatures might eat lots of processing power. The game started to lag, even when I used PS4 Pro with SSD drive. It shows why this game was under such long development, because I can believe what kinds of issues they had overcome to pull this off.
Overall I liked Concrete Genie with its pace, puzzles, bosses, but it still felt little bit boring experience. Visually everything looked gorgeous, but it was maybe the monotonous things I had to do and sometimes not sure what I had to do. The gameplay was almost linear, sometimes going back to previous places. The game has interesting story and OK voice acting, which always helps. If only this would’ve come out couple years ago for PSVR launch, this would’ve been killer. (The ultimate reason why I didn’t play this on PSVR, was the fact how the game performed non-VR, and also the VR mode won’t allow to play the main game, but only some extra stuff. This review is all about the non-VR experience.)
Yes and No
Towards the end the boss battles became maybe too stretched and it felt like going on forever, but after finishing I felt good. The visual look on Concrete Genie is beautiful, controls decent, story and storytelling great, but the technical part is little let-down. This game was only half of the original price of big the titles. Usually the asking price of a video game tells lot about the length of it. With the length and everything included Concrete Genie is truly worth of every penny.
“The creatures sometimes felt like some Tamagotchies”