Reviews

Psychonauts

4 out of 5

Originally written by Dr_Worm sometime in Summer 2006, updated July 2, 2008

If you haven't played Psychonauts in the time it's been available to the public, you're missing out on one of the best platform games, if not the best, to grace the sixth generation of consoles. The only reason for passing it up is the fact that it's a platform game, a genre where few game series are praised in the gaming industry.

In Psychonauts, you play a psychic-power weilding boy named Razputin, Raz for short. After escaping the traveling circus where he was raised, he arrives at Whispering Rock psychic summer camp with aspirations of becoming an international psychic secret agent, or Psychonaut. The camp is packed with memorable characters, even the lower-bit characters are incredibly interesting. Every one of them has their own personality, interests, and fears. The story itself is hilarious, involving an insane milkman, a giant mutant lungfish, and an insane asylum filled with crazy people whose minds Raz must fix. Few games pass in the "Trying to make you laugh" category, and Psychonauts is one of them.

The gameplay itself is what you'd expect in a platformer only done right and with its own twist. Throughout the game you'll earn merit badges that give you special abilities, such as pyrokinesis, invisibility, and clairvoyance. The platforming is some of the best out there. Just getting from one point to the next is a ton of fun. As with many platform games, there are a ton of collectables to... collect. Figments slowly increase your PSI cadet rank, PSI challenge markers immediately increase your rank, and at a certain point, the extracted brains of your fellow campmates. There are 13 worlds total, 10 of them in the minds of instructors, inhabitants of the insane asylum, and even the mutant lungfish mentioned earlier.

The graphics aren't phenominal, but the stylized visuals are pleasant to look at. The levels themselves are large and unique, never feeling like you've played the same one twice. The voice acting is of the highest calibur and the soundtrack captures the quirky essence of Psychonauts perfectly. There are a few flaws, however. Almost all of the game is pretty linear, and going back to collect things you missed could feel like a chore. The game itself is a little too easy, it even uses extra lives, something that's pretty much useless in platform games such as Psychonauts. And most of the bosses just don't have the very epic feeling you'd come to expect.

Psychonauts is without a doubt one of the best games in the genre, and now that it's on Steam for $20 and on Gametap, you now have no excuse for not playing such an excellent game. 4 out of 5.