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Concrete Genie PlayStation 4 Game Review

Merging painting and platforming.

Reviewed by on Oct 14, 2019
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Concrete Genie, the latest PlayStation 4 exclusive, puts you in control of an artist on a mission to restore his homes beauty. Check out Kidzworld for our thoughts on the new game.

Sony's massive first-party projects are often some of the biggest titles in the world of video gaming. Big names like UnchartedGod of War, and Spider-Man remind players of how impressive big-budget games can be. But PlayStation had made a name for itself in the PlayStation 3 years for releasing some smaller, but essential, exclusives that felt right at home on Sony's machine. Though the PS4 has given us some impressive big guns in its library, there's a gap in the roster for the bite-sized exclusives that could eat up a weekend and maybe stick in your head in some way. Fortunately, that gap is exactly where Concrete Genie fits and it makes some of the game's flaws a little more forgivable while letting the game's strengths soar.

Denska's bullies torment Ash throughout much of the game.Denska's bullies torment Ash throughout much of the game.Courtesy of PlayStation

Hurt People Hurt People

The biggest highlight of Concrete Genie is certainly its surprisingly impacting story. You'll take control of Ash, a lonely kid hanging out around the docks of Denska which has certainly seen better days. Though Ash has fond memories of Denska as a lively, bustling community, it's currently lying in shambles with its best moments far behind it. As nasty bullies roam the streets and antagonize Ash at any opportunity, our hero finds comfort in his sketchbook and recollections of a nicer Denska. After a particularly cruel attack from these angry street-kids, Ash winds up at a nearby lighthouse and finds a magical Genie named Luna living inside. Luna bestows Ash with a magical paintbrush and the ability to draw new friends/Genies onto the walls of the town. Heading back home with his paintbrush in hand. Ash paints back some life into Denska while navigating the bullies on the street. 

Paint the Town with Concrete Genie - Kidzworld Weekly News


The story goes in a pretty predictable direction but the gorgeous 2D cutscenes carry a lot of emotion that gets the tale started on the right foot. Besides the cutscenes, the game itself is easy on the eyes with somewhat of a stop-motion-esque look on the character's faces. The game pretty obviously centers around the idea of "hurt people hurt people" but learning what has affected each bully results in another sad but succinct cutscene. Things move a little too quickly, you could wrap the game up in about 6 hours or so but that makes the abrupt story change toward the end feel a little forced. You'll likely walk away feeling good about the story but there could be much more to explore in the plot.

Ash's late game abilites make the gameplay more interesting.Ash's late game abilites make the gameplay more interesting.Courtesy of PlayStation

Drawing in Denska

While there's a bit of a platforming element to Concrete Genie -- which oddly reminded me of PlayStation's inFAMOUS series from Sucker Punch -- most of your memorable gameplay will come from the painting mechanic. This is where the game will get a bit divisive. As you explore the world, you'll uncover more collectibles that let Ash paint new creations onto the walls of Denska. You'll paint new landscapes to keep your new Genie's happy enough to help you unlock more of the world. The painting mechanic can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a little boring and repetitive if you're looking to get onto the next moment. Also, you won't be getting unlimited creativity in your creations. Though crafting a Genie gives you a bit more options than the landscapes, you're mostly just deciding where a painting will go on a wall and at what angle.

Drawing the genies lets you get creative with some restrictions.Drawing the genies lets you get creative with some restrictions.Courtesy of PlayStation

Finally, that aforementioned "abrupt story change" brings some new gameplay along with it. This is focused around some combat that isn't very challenging but it breaks up the pace of the game in a welcome way. Things move pretty quickly in these sections as you're dodging and sliding around the streets of Denska but that does make it feel pretty different from the earlier bits, not necessarily a bad thing but noticeably odd. Regardless, this is a great addition to the PlayStation 4 lineup and hopefully we'll see more from this studio on the PlayStation 5.

Some of the genies have special abilites that help you solve certain puzzles.Some of the genies have special abilites that help you solve certain puzzles.Courtesy of PlayStation

Final Thoughts

Concrete Genie is a solid start for this newcomer small studio Pixelopus. Though the game is a pretty quick adventure, there's a lot of heart here and a ton of potential in this team's next project. Hopefully, something more sizable comes from them on the PlayStation 5. But, for the time being, this is a heartwarming tale that's likely to leave a smile on your face, if you can get past a few notable weaknesses.


  • Great Cutscenes
  • Moving Story


  • Short Campaign
  • Odd-Pacing
  • Paint Gameplay Won't Be Fun for Every Player

Concrete Genie Game Rating: 3

Concrete Genie PlayStation 4 Box ArtConcrete Genie PlayStation 4 Box ArtCourtesy of PlayStation

Available now for PlayStation 4

Share Your Thoughts!

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By: Max Cannon