As previously mentioned in my review of Chicory: A Colorful Tale, I have a little bit of insecurity around my skills as a visual artist - that is to say, I’m very bad at it. I don’t know the techniques or have the skills to get my easel or paper to look like what I’m imagining. This disparity is a breeding ground for uncertainty in your own perception and is just all-around frustrating. Such Art: Genius Artist Simulator does something wonderful, it gives you tonnes of tools to make art and it’s so fun and engrossing, that insecurity just slips away. Like paint flowing down the drain after a hard day's work, I don’t mind seeing my wasted opportunities if I’m having fun doing it.
Such Art: Genius Artist Simulator surprised me a few times throughout its playtime. You start off as a human designated the role of an artist. Set above the Earth in a contained space station amidst robot uprisings, human hierarchy, and the rise of crab people, you are a simple artist chosen purely because of your genetic predisposition. Given a sizable studio filled with boxes, you have to paint pictures for customers and use those funds to unlock more tools, areas, and everything in between.
The game throws conundrums at you via your commissions. Will you take money from someone who doesn't care about your art and only wants it for its value? Do you take a huge lump sum to paint propaganda? Will you paint something as a gift in order to grow closer to a potential ally? You answer important questions and do important things without ever leaving your studio. I adored this system, one where you are given choices and only ever see the effects of those choices through text or the odd gift.
The funny thing about these conversations is they’re entirely done through an in-game computer, You connect with different people — seeing their goals and personality – without ever really meeting them. They exist solely as a bubble in the corner of the screen. In a back room, you can receive gifts from people you speak to, and this grounds these interactions into something real. You can decorate them around your house and doing so is both calming and rewarding, a nice way of looking back on how far you have come.
Every inch of Such Art: Genius Artist Simulator is founded on this principle. Every part of it, from the painting to the decoration of your space apartment is founded on this idea of building on a central foundation. You keep building your skills, storing more from each contact and they become part of the tapestry of your experience you build in your little home. You can shop for new furniture, change the environment you see on the window, and even get new music in to make it feel unique.
Unique is a great way to describe Such Art. I’ve managed to blab on about how the game makes me feel for close to 500 words and I haven’t even got to the gameplay yet. That’s because the experience has been such a delightful surprise. Where I thought I’d get a competent art sim, I got something with a little more story and much more heart. It helps that the gameplay is solid to boot.
Feeling very in line with a traditional simulator game, you can pick things up and move them at will with everything having a certain floppiness to it. You have limited space in your toolbar that you can allocate to gear like paint to refill your pallet, spray cans to use on canvases, or blowtorches to singe the side for a cool effect. Perhaps the most fun part of Such Art is its ability to just let you mess around. Commissions don’t seem that stringent so you could technically flick a splash of paint onto a canvas and call it a day but I didn’t do that once. The reason is you can access a VR terminal where you can hang up all your art for visitors. This also has the added bonus of netting you some cash to spend. I actively became rather proud of my terribly drawn artwork and displayed it in my gallery like a parent putting their child's art on the fridge.
Such Art: Genius Artist Simulator Preview Verdict
There’s a freedom to the moment-to-moment gameplay that makes that Such Art's simulator aspect really shine. Paint tools can be something simple like a brush (that you have to dip in paint and refill when empty) or a smudging tool that allows you to get colors and blends that allow for much more depth than I could possibly conjure. That is the thing about Such Art. I’ve spent hours in the game finishing out a central storyline and making lots of money to improve my little base but I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible here. Using spoons to get a flinging paint or water to tactically remove what you don’t like, there’s so much to do here in the expanse of artistic space that it would be easy to get lost if the game itself wasn’t so charming. Luckily, I didn’t feel lost once.
TechRaptor previewed Such Art: Genius Artist Simulator on PC using a copy provided by the publisher. It is currently available in Early Access.