Exploring Concrete Genie
Pixelopus’ latest title is another artistic wonder
Concrete Genie by Pixelopus released today on PS4. Before this game, Pixelopus had but just one game released called Entwined. If you’ve read some of my previous articles, you’ll know that Entwined is an amazing game; though it provides pretty easy and simplistic rhythm gameplay, the game itself is ripe with artistic meaning and beauty. Although it can be completed in under an hour, from a design perspective, this tranquil experience had me thinking about the potential video games hold to create meaning in the lives of players.
I’m telling you this because Entwined was released five years ago. And since then the studio has been hard at work creating their second game, Concrete Genie. And while I admit, when it was first announced two years ago, I wasn’t too hyped about the experience. I found the original marketing material to be a little cliché. I mean, it’s a game about a boy getting bullied, finding a magic paintbrush, and drawing life back into the world. However, the art design is amazing, and upon further inspection, the game features plenty of gameplay variety, including some PlayStation VR modes as well. As with Entwined, the value of Concrete Genie can’t be isolated to just the art, music, gameplay, or story elements alone; it’s the whole package. In a departure from Entwined, Concrete Genie aims to provide a more emotional and realistic world.
Pixelopus are, once again, pushing at the boundaries of expression in video games as a medium.
Gameplay consists of moving around the world with your magic paintbrush and exploring. The dark walls of the town become canvases for you to paint on. Pages of a notebook serve as different objects to paint. The more you paint, the more the environment lights up and comes alive. As you explore and enliven the city, you discover more lovable doodles called “genies.” These genies will help you solve puzzles and get around the world. There is definitely enough artistic symbolism and context in this game to set up some connections to real world issues we face today. The only question is: will the pretty lights you draw illuminate those issues, or keep them in the dark?
If you’re in the mood to experience something wholly original — and you’re keen on games that emphasize a strong artistic intent and visual beauty, Concrete Genie might be the game for you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a world to paint.