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Parents' Guide to

Concrete Genie

By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Great anti-bullying game swaps fighting for art.

Concrete Genie Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 1 parent review

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Anyone who thinks fighting is essential to making games fun ought to give this one a go. Concrete Genie replaces traditional video game combat with a series of puzzles, paintings, and collectibles that prove to be very entertaining. Running around the town feels great, especially as Ash climbs buildings and slides along power lines like a parkour professional. Painting's a blast, too. Players are provided broad freedom to paint whatever they like -- so long as they've collected a picture of it -- in order to bring life back to the village. And making art is easy as pie. Just pick a doodle, tap the trigger, and start moving the controller around to begin a fresh masterpiece. Don't worry; the game doesn't grade your compositions, it just needs you to make an effort to create. You'll also need to put your thinking cap on from time to time in order to solve puzzles, like figuring out how to get a genie you've drawn to restore power to dead machines. Plus, there are lots of fun side activities to do, such as luring a genie to pet a cat or looking for the lost pages of Ash's sketchbook (the bullies tear them out at the start) to enhance your selection of painting options.

Even more impressive, though, are the timely themes and messages organically weaved into story. As players learn about the town's woes -- including the oil tanker disaster -- through old newspapers, they'll understand the ripple effect that can be caused by environment-related issues, starting with the destruction of the economy, followed by emotional and social tragedies. We see the impact most clearly on the game's kids, who've handled it in different ways. Ash remains hopeful and determined while his peers have become disillusioned and angry, willing to strike out at anything. These messages don't feel forced, but rather the natural consequence of all-too-familiar events. Concrete Genie is that rare game that's both fun and poetic; it's evidence that video games work as an art form capable of communicating important social ideas to a range of ages.

Game Details

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