You need to know one thing about being a games writer: publishers will always ask you what you think when you hand them back the controller. In the case of Concrete Genie, the ever-affable folks at Sony wanted our reaction to the title’s PlayStation VR experience, which is included for free alongside the main game. “You’ve cured sadness,” was probably the box quote they were looking for from us.
Seriously, though, this is a superb if somewhat disappointingly short aside. It takes the gameplay loop from the main campaign, and runs with it. Wielding two PlayStation Move wands, you hold a sketchbook in one hand and a paint brush in the other. The tutorial sees you painting 2D artwork on some cave walls, before you’re transported to a lush garden.
It’s from here that things get really interesting, as you’re able to paint in a 3D space. Trees will pop up around you, while flowers will grow under foot. You can materialise moons and suns into the sky in order to change the time of day, while rainbows and shooting stars can be added to your scene for interest. For the 30 minutes you're inside the headset, it’s honestly bliss.
There is some direction, as the game coaxes you into trying out all of the brushes and tools, but you’re generally free to create your own personal masterpiece. The best part is that, much like the main campaign, you’re going to make something gorgeous even if you’re not artistically inclined – the whole package is designed to make you feel awesome.
Our only real disappointment is that there’s not more to the PSVR mode. It’s described as an “experience” on the menu screen, so while it does look like you’ll be able to paint in a handful of other 2D environments, there doesn’t appear to be much more to it than what we saw. At the end of the day, though, Concrete Genie’s beautifully crafted virtual reality mode will definitely cheer you up for a half-hour.
You can read more of our thoughts on PixelOpus' sophomore effort in our Concrete Genie preview. Will you be testing out the title's PSVR mode? Sketch out your answer in the comments section below.