The team at pc hold a special place for Tim Schafer. It's an altar, right next our places of devotion for Warren Spector and Maggie, where we leave offerings of Jelly Babies and small toys to one of the high gods of gaming.
Psychonauts is one of the reasons we hold Mr Schafer in such high regard. It's absolutely the most original and joyous pieces of gaming you'll find.
As trainee Psychonaut Raz, you have to enter teachers' minds -essentially themed dungeons -to develop your psychic abilities. After graduating you are sent out to enter the minds of various people in order to cure them of their mental wrongnesses. To say the gameplay is original and unconventional is an understatement. For instance, your mentor appears out of your ear to give you tips; you become the figurehead of a lungfish revolution; discover a brain theft conspiracy at the Psychonauts training camp; befriend a kid who can't remove his hat, because people's heads explode; all of which happens in Technicolour worlds that make Sam & Max seem to be on Prozac and Valium.
There are some gameplay issues. Psychonauts plays like a console platformer and so demands using a controller. Playing with keyboard and mouse can be a nightmare, especially when it comes to boss battles. The camera isn't great, making it easy to get lost on wide-open levels. And you'll end up getting stuck plenty of times, seemingly out of bad design.
Summer camp season is fast approaching, and for kids across the nation, that soon means songs around the campfire, crafts, hiking, and the outdoor life with its lack of luxuries -- well, unless you plan on enrolling in the Whispering Rock Psychonauts, summer camp for the psychologically 'gifted'?. If you are, then expect a fun-filled adventure brimming with off the wall humor and a dash of insanity.
If anything, Psychonauts oozes with charm. From the fantastic and somewhat absurd art design to the charming and often laugh out loud humor, Psychonauts is nearly impossible to dislike. In true Tim Schaefer fashion, there isn't anything quite like Psychonauts out there. The dialogue is intriguing and the humor, likewise, is smart, savvy, and sometimes silly, but entertaining through and through.
Each level is insanely imaginative - literally. Levels are themed around psychological ideas or concepts, such as figments of the imagination that act as collectible coins, and seeing the surreal sights of Psychonauts is reason alone to warrant a play through.
Charm alone won't win the day, but when coupled with strong platform-centric gameplay and an interesting world to explore, Psychonauts comes out on top. The platform hijinks acts as more of a stage for you to see the crazy world and laugh at the warped humor of the game, but that's not to say it won't entertain. Nothing here will wow your socks off with ingenuity, but it is undeniably polished, with plenty of content to keep your entertained for the game's duration.
A lot of credit has to go the art team behind Psychonauts. It doesn't seem easy to blend mentally surreal elements into workable and pleasurable environments, but Psychonauts just does that. Everything looks technically and artistically solid, with environments and characters that breathe with life. The voice-acting, likewise, is strong, with just about every line delivered perfectly.
I'll make it easy for you: If you dig platformers, then Psychonauts deserves the top spot on your must buy list. The actual game is absolutely solid, but it's the charm, humor, and inventive environments that'll win you over time and time again.
Its not due out for another year, but Microsofts already begun singing the praises of Psychonauts, and truth be told, we dont blame em.
This trippy, surreal action/ platformer comes from the mind of Tim Schafer, the genius behind the PC hits Grim Fandango and Full Throttle (among others). With this, Tork and Blinx, Microsoft looks like they want to take Nintendo head-on.
It's the rare, yet truly strange gems that always stick out in my mind. Psychonauts, dripping with the creative juices that only a truly fevered mind could create, is perhaps one of the most refreshing titles I've played in some time. Unabashedly weird and stylistic, Psychonauts plays up the psychic powers and collectable items in this game to great effect. Playing through an intriguing storyline from the perspective of Raz (short for Razputin), a young psychic that's determined to become a Psychonaut.
Now, for my money, psychics are where it's at for video games. It gives you the excuse to have some really amazing powers, and yet still remain inside a nice little window of plausibility. Apparently people don't like to see their dog fly, but playing basketball with your mind is A-Ok. Seriously though, with a wide variety of psychic powers, Raz battles through people's minds collecting emotional baggage, figments of imagination, and various secrets, while battling the censors that make up each mind's collective power to fight off mental corruption. While it is easy to learn, and fun to play, you'll need to spend quite a bit of time gaining in power, as you don't get extra powers until you earn psy-cadet levels, of which there are a hundred. Don't worry about the puzzling in the game though, as its fun and not too frustrating, unlike many other games I've played. The developers of Psychonauts put a lot of thought into this game's layout, and it shows.
Graphically, this unfortunately isn't much to write home about. The PS2 does tend to fall short of the Xbox in sheer pretty, but Psychonauts is extremely well designed, so at the very least it is attractive in its own right. Your ears will also be in for a treat, as this game is packed with good voice actors, including at least one cast member from the animated series Invader Zim. Squee!
In summary, go play Psychonauts. If you wake up in your chair at home, having mysteriously forgotten the last half hour of your memory, but with a fresh copy of Psychonauts in hand, don't question it. Just play and have fun.
Snapshots and Media
- Discworld 2
- Dreamfall: The Longest Journey
- Hercs Adventures
- Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb
- Maximo: Ghosts to Glory
- Pitfall: The Lost Expedition
- Ratchet & Clank
- Starfox Adventures
- Sub Culture
- The Adventures of Cookie and Cream
- The Curse of Monkey Island
- The Lion King: Simba's Mighty Adventure
- Tiny Toons Adventures: The Great Beanstalk
- Zelda: Ocarina of Time / Master's Quest
- Gobliins 2
- Insecticide Part 1
- Jolly Rover
- Simon the Sorcerer 4: Chaos Happens