Genie Reprise (XSX) Review

Described as an atmospheric fantasy adventure, Genie Reprise is an experimental game that is best experienced by niche, patient players. This walking simulator’s gimmick is also its biggest flaw – slowly presented rhyming poetry.

The gameplay loop is simple and is barely interactive. From a first-person perspective, the player is dropped into a small environment in which clusters of crystals must be collected. When all these easy-to-find glowing rocks are obtained, the game spawns shiny platforms within this locked environment (indicated by a Bat signal-like sky light). When the player stands on these pedestals and looks directly into the nearby light, a female narrator voices a short poem. Then, a new pedestal spawns, and the process repeats until all the poems have been spoken in that specific area. When completed, the player is transported to the next environment/chapter. To put it another way, this is a visual novel with a tiny amount of pointless exploration.

This is a very slow paced and uneventful gaming experience. In fact, everything about this game is unnecessarily slow. The narrator speaks slowly. The game slowly transitions the camera to indicate where the next pedestal is (even though the player cannot understand where this location is since the assets of each environment repeat). The player is locked to slow movement without a sprint feature. Even the poetic story is slow and uneventful. Something about trying to find a genie… I am not really sure because the plot is difficulty to follow since it is explained exclusively in forced rhymes. So the most important element of this digital download is the story but it isn’t handled particularly well. It is confusing at best and found myself holding the “skip cutscene” button just to burn through each chapter to unlock the next Achievement. 

While the approach is drab and misplaced, the environments are the highlighting feature. If each of these areas were placed in Skyrim, you wouldn’t know there were from a difference game. While they look good, complimented by an eerie but fitting soundtrack, they are too static. While atmospheric, the lack of interactivity is disappointing and seems like something is missing from the final build. The only motion in the game are tiny frogs that jump and some bunnies that hop, all of which are animated with poor quality.  

I have nothing against walking simulators, but this one misses the mark. Focusing on poetic storytelling is unique but it doesn’t mean anything if it is confusing, the player is not given a reason to care, and it is firmly wrapped around a sleep-inducing slow pace of play. Maybe check out Child of Light instead.

SCORE: 3.5/10

Not As Good As: What Remains of Edith Finch

Don’t Forget About: Gone Home

Also Play: Journey

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

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