With the next generation of consoles creeping up fast, it feels like things are starting to wind down for the PS4 and Xbox One.
While there are glut of blockbuster new releases coming out in 2020, the 2019 silly season actually looks fairly sensible.
Yes, there are new Call of Duty and Star Wars games, plus Doom, Gears of War, Borderlands and Pokemon, but it’s hard to summon much enthusiasm when you’ve seen it all before.
Indeed, it’s the PS4 that looks like it will be home to some of 2019’s more interesting titles in the form of Death Stranding and the supremely colourful Concrete Genie.
Concrete Genie is a third-person adventure game developed by first-party Sony studio PixelOpus – the team behind gorgeous rhythm game Entwined.
Taking place in a dilapidated fishing town called Denska, Concrete Genie puts players in the shoes of a young artist named Ash.
After an encounter with a local gang of bullies (the first of many), Ash finds a magic paintbrush that can be used to bring his creations – the genies mentioned in the title – to life.
What follows is a heartwarming adventure in which Ash uses the paintbrush to fight off the darkness and bring Denska back from the brink.
You’ll do this by painting scenes on the walls of Denska using the DuslShock’s motion controls and by selecting different landscapes and items.
Where Concrete Genie excels is that it makes you feel like you’ve created something beautiful and unique, even if you’re not much of an artist in real life.
When you’re not running away from bullies or battling giant beasts (more on that in a moment), Concrete Genie is a relaxing and therapeutic experience that really brings out your creativity.
The genies, meanwhile, bring your scenes to life, as they run, dance and skip through your colourful wall paintings.
Each genie has its own personality and unique character based on its colour and design, which feeds into the puzzle solving elements introduced a little later in the experience.
A red genie with fire breathing abilities, for example, can be used to break down a barricade and open up a new area.
Things took an unexpected turn towards the end of our Concrete Genie demo, when Ash was forced to battle a genie using his brush as a kind of skateboard.
Far removed from the relaxing experience we had in the moments prior, these exciting genie battles should stop things from feeling samey and stale.
It’s an unexpected twist that has left us wanting more, so bring on the October 8 release date.
With a charming story, an abundance of colour and a unique gameplay hook, Concrete Genie is shaping up to be one of this year’s hidden gems.