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Psychonauts

19 April 2005
Psychonauts - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.97 / 5.0
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1,376 Ratings / 6 Reviews
#213 All-time
#13 for 2005
Raz, an energetic boy born of a family of performers, runs away from the circus to sneak into the Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp and fulfill his dreams of becoming a Psychonaut.
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Oh boy, you can tell this game was made in the mid-00s given how EVERYTHING about it seems like it was ripped out of invader Zim from the voice acting to the art style. There is one thing timeless about it and that's the gameplay as it holds up remarkably well in that regard.

I know I brought up its dated aesthetics, however unless you have painful memories of the pop culture of 2005, I can't imagine anyone objecting to this games aesthetics as they're so charmingly dated that it's impossible to hate. I brought up the invader Zim comparison as not only is our hero Raz voiced by the same actor as that lovable alien invader, but the art style is heavily reminiscent of that show from the wonky architecture to no one looking like a conventional human being despite the story largely being grounded in reality. It also has that shows sense of humour which is of course delightfully cynical but not in a way where it comes off as nihilistic, this is apparent with the interactions between the characters both in reality and in their minds which serves as the setting of the gameplay. Here we follow a young cadet looking to become what known as a psychonaut where he explores the mind of someone to learn about their inner desires/turmoil. Naturally the first few levels are the teachers meaning they're fairly straight forward, however he eventually comes across psychiatric patients which allows for some truly creative level design as he explores their minds and how they work. The real world setting largely takes place at a campsite which allows for some more creative platforming as our hero is also a circus performer who ran away from home to become a psychonaut, thus explaining how literally acrobatic he is with his move set. In addition to the great platforming this game has to offer, there's a heavy emphasis on mental health as the game subtly teaches the player on how emotions work and why we shouldn't ignore them and even the consequences of doing so. It's brilliantly woven into the narrative so that it doesn't come off as preachy as most modern media, even though everything it has to say about mental health has since become common knowledge to the public.

It's a criminally underrated game that's thankfully received love over the years thanks to its positive depiction of mental health as well as its dated but charming sense of humour, check it out as it's worth your time.
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Foxylover92 2021-06-23T00:19:32Z
2021-06-23T00:19:32Z
5.0
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really rough around the edges and aged, but there is a lot to love.
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therobot47 2023-05-14T22:07:28Z
2023-05-14T22:07:28Z
3.5
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love the direction and art style, some of the most creative game design i've ever played. however the sound design could've been polished a lot, and the last level is fucking atrocious. very flawed but i would still consider this game a masterpiece
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Jogá-lo não é a coisa mais suave nem prazerosa do mundo. Faltou finesse nas mecânicas de plataforma, talvez um atestado da inexperiência da equipe da Double Fine com esse tipo de jogo na época.

Mas o texto, cenários, personagens, dentre outros aspectos mais ligados à narrativa são tão bem realizados, únicos e criativos que é impossível não se render ao jogo. Muito esperto ao tratar temas sensíveis e de senso de humor afinadíssimo.

Psychonauts é condensado o suficiente para ser algo como um excelente filme de animação em que, às vezes, o gameplay fica no caminho.
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gabrielctps 2022-04-15T00:47:10Z
2022-04-15T00:47:10Z
4.0
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By 2005, the 3D platformer had been a popular staple in gaming for almost a decade.
The 3D platformer genre was a staple of the early 3D era, giving us countless landmark titles that shaped the mold of what these newfangled extra dimensions could do for gaming. Trends relating to genres usually only last for the duration of a single console generation, but the era of the 3D platformer was prolonged into the sixth generation with new IPs that took the foundation of those earlier games and created some of the best 3D platformers of all time (Ratchet & Clank, Jak and Daxter, Sly Cooper, etc.). 2005 marked the launch of the Xbox 360, and there was no way that this streak of relevance for the 3D platformer was going to extend to another generation. The games that defined the seventh generation were so far removed from the 3D platformers that I grew up playing that these games would be damned if they even included a jump button. As much as I clamor about the era of the 3D platformers and critique the games of the following generation, it was time to hang up the old hat and explore new horizons. Fortunately, the 3D platformer genre did not stagnate in terms of quality, even in its twilight years. To avoid the eventual oversaturation of the genre, it needed one last hurrah to end its legacy, and that game was Psychonauts. In my eyes, Psychonauts was the game that served as both the creative peak and the bittersweet swansong of the initial 3D platformer era.

It’s too bad the general public did not realize this upon the release year of Psychonauts. The game was developed by Double Fine, a studio created by Tim Schaffer in the wake of leaving LucasArts. If you’re not familiar with this man by name, he’s the one responsible for the likes of the quirky point and clicks/graphic adventure titles such as Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango. The eccentric, kooky nature of Tim Schaffer’s titles tend to garner high critical acclaim, but do not have the commercial marketability to sell well. Tim Schaffer is a video game auteur with an uncompromising direction, and this gives all of his titles a sense of character and foundation not typically seen by other developers. This consistent formula has however doomed every single Tim Schaffer property to cult status, and Psychonauts was no exception. Not even developing a game in the widely accessible 3D platformer genre could net poor Tim any financial success. As par for the course with Tim’s games, the public attention Psychonauts deserved came a little too late. This attention wasn’t too long after the game’s release, but another console generation had been born and trends in gaming were changing. The impact of Psychonauts had always been in retrospect as a shining example from a distant era, further cementing its status as a coda for the 3D platformer era instead of ushering in a new wave of them. There were most likely plenty of 3D platformers that were released shortly after Psychonauts, so why have I bestowed the honor of being the genre’s crowning achievement on this game? Because Psychonauts proved that 3D platformers could still be fresh and invigorating after a decade. One might assume that gamers would have grown tired of jumping onto platforms and collecting a smattering of trinkets, but Psychonauts proved otherwise.

The premise of Psychonauts certainly hadn’t been done in any previous 3D platformer. A “psychonaut” is a supernatural agent of justice who uses its psychic powers on missions of great importance on an international scale. The plural form of the word refers to their agency as these missions require more than one powerful mind to accomplish. Before one becomes a psychonaut, the process happens as early as preadolescence at Whispering Rock: the cerebral, summer-camp cousin to Hogwarts. Judging from the attention-deficit wandering eyes and whimpering hysterics from the campers, none of these kids are cut out to be Psychonauts. That is until an eager boy with goggles named Raz infiltrates the campground by falling from the sky. Raz in an ironic twist of fate has run away from the circus to follow his dream of being a psychonaut but does not have the permission to be here as the other campers. He impresses the psychonaut counselors with his passionate recitation of the camp pamphlet, but the bureaucratic rules still state that Raz must leave accordingly. The sole reason why he stays is that his parents live too far away to pick him up immediately. Until then, Raz must make the most of his short time at Whispering Rock and further prove himself worthy of becoming a psychonaut.

Psychonauts wasn’t fresh because it rewrote the rulebook on the standard 3D platformer. Rather, its freshness stems from the clever way it uses the tropes of the genre. The levels of Psychonauts take place in the subconscious minds of the people around Whispering Rock, accessed through an Aldous Huxley-inspired, door-shaped portal that attaches to their heads. 3D platformers tend to run the gamut of varied levels. A grass world, beach world, ice world, desert world, fire world, etc. are the staple combinations of a geographically inconsistent world meant to provide variety for the player. While the variety is present, this collective of levels tends to feel inorganic. Imagination is a realm of limitless possibilities, so Psychonauts can provide a myriad of different level themes and designs without breaking any sense of topographical rationale. The range of creative levels is juxtaposed with the woodland area of Whispering Rock, the hub world of the game. Whispering Rock is a spacious, hilly forest area that feels quaint and cozy, an orthodox depiction of a kid’s summer camp. Its rustic atmosphere and warm coziness act perfectly as a hub world, despite the occasional psychic cougar and bear encounters and being difficult to navigate. The hub world has its own merits, but its effectiveness is in juxtaposition with the wild nature of the levels. A hub world should be a source of respite by design, and Psychonauts conveys this perfectly. Going back to the hub world after adventuring through someone’s mind for a while feels like waking up from a dream.

Common tropes regarding Raz’s abilities as a 3D platformer character are also translated in the narrative. Being that he’s a rogue circus performer, Raz is as acrobatic as a flying squirrel. More appropriately, he’s as agile as Mario or any other 3D platformer protagonist. Whenever Raz is jumping on tightropes or swings from bars, it’s easy to see the influences from other 3D platformers. The factor that keeps Psychonauts from seeming derivative is the sharp writing that masks these tropes as new ideas. Raz can’t swim either, a handicap that has plagued many 3D platformer characters. Whenever he comes close to a body of water, a horrific, translucent hand pops up and pulls Raz into the drink. Raz explains that long ago, psychics cursed every member of his family to a watery death, and this has passed on for generations. All gamers will know that having water as a hazard has been done to death, but Psychonauts manages to weave it into something more substantial.

Psychonauts is also a tried and true collection, a popular faction of the 3D platformer. Like with Raz’s platforming abilities, the developers have cleverly integrated the trope of collectibles with the narrative identity of the game. The collectibles inside the minds of everyone are taken right from popular psychological constructs and theories. Figments of their imagination are the most common collectible in each level; wispy, paper-thin fabrications floating around in a plethora of shapes and colors. Collecting these figments will progressively increase Raz’s level and there are plenty to collect per level. Five different types of sobbing pieces of luggage represent someone’s emotional baggage (har har) and Raz has to find the correct tag for each of them. Finding all five in each will unlock concept art for the level. Mental cobwebs are strewn about in the harder-to-reach corners of each level. Their pink, sparkly hue makes them easy to spot, but Raz can’t collect them until he buys a cobweb duster from the camp store. My favorite collectible that doesn’t have a real psychological theory behind it is a vault. Hitting this quadrupedal safe will unlock the memories of the person which can be viewed in like the slides of a Viewfinder. These charming illustrations always give the player much-needed insight into the history of the person’s mind they are adventuring through. Sometimes, they even explain any kind of cognitive dissonance the person might have. Collectables in most 3D platformers are mainly used to prolong the player’s time in a level, but every single collectible here directly involves the main objective of clearing the mental space of one’s mind.

To defend himself in the untethered psyches of his fellow man, Raz’s mind comes with an arsenal of every psychic power that any magician or psychotic lunatic has ever professed to have. These psychic powers are unlocked through earning merit badges as per the camp setting of Whispering Rock. Whether or not earning the merit badge means a camper has learned the move or is now allowed to use it whenever they please isn’t made clear, but Raz will have to use them often for means of offense, defense, traversal, and solving puzzles. Marksmanship is the first badge that acts as a projectile weapon and is the most useful means of offense. Pyrokinesis sets enemy and wooden objects ablaze and telekinesis allows Raz to form a giant hand in his mind to pick up and throw both enemies and objects. Psychic powers like the shield are used for defense while powers like invisibility and clairvoyance are mostly used for puzzles The confusion power is lobbed at enemies like a smoke grenade to discombobulate them for a brief period. My favorite mental power is levitation in which Raz rides on a glowing ball of energy that boosts his speed and jumping ability. This move is always convenient and makes traversal all the more comfortable. Raz can also use a “psi-punch” move that doesn’t require a badge or ammo. I’m no expert on parapsychological phenomena, but I’m fairly certain that Raz’s eclectic array of powers covers all the bases.

All of these clever uses of platforming tropes relating to psychological theories and phenomena, unfortunately, cannot mask the fact that the gameplay of Psychonauts feels very unrefined. The hiccups of this game make it apparent that Tim Schaffer and his team were amateurs in developing for the 3D platformer genre. Raz’s movements while walking are relatively fluid, but the cracks are visibly shown whenever Raz has to do something more complicated than that. Raz often has to execute a pole swinging move for traversal, leaping from poles or tree branches near camp. Gaining momentum feels natural enough, but the time it takes to gain that momentum is a little too long for something intended to be quick. This platforming mechanic is taken right from Jak and Daxter, and pole swinging in that game is much smoother due to simply needing to time the jumps correctly with a consistent momentum. Vine swinging is also present in Psychonauts, and where Raz lands after jumping off of a vine tends to be infuriatingly inaccurate. Grind rails from Sonic Adventure 2 appear in some of the mind levels and Raz’s jumping transitions are about as smooth as a glass enema. The grind rails work in Sonic Adventure 2 due to speed being the primary focus, something that Double Fine failed to realize. Ledge grabbing only works sometimes and any sort of precision jumping is difficult to execute. All of this is probably due to the less-than-stellar frame rate that limits the potential of movement.

Combat in Psychonauts also feels just as awkward. 3D platformers often have various enemies running around the levels to make the locations feel natural and provide some challenge, and Double Fine probably felt obligated to implement common enemies because of this. The censors are a group of abstract concepts that work to expunge the mind of any “improper thoughts”, namely the invading Raz. They are personified as suited men with glasses and business haircuts. Their weapons of choice are clipboards and giant stamps with a negative mark on them, appropriate tools for the humorless cranial bureaucrats. They come in a few different forms with some using their stamp as a projectile and beefy censors who deal considerable damage and are defensive powerhouses. Other than the censors, the only other recurring common enemy is walking bombs with vague, cat-like appearances that explode in Raz’s face in close range. The censors may come in a few varieties, but this doesn’t mean they don’t overstay their welcome. They appear from portals that never disappear, so expect a constant onslaught of them in certain areas. I’ve also found that the only clear means of offense against the censors is using the marksmanship badge which can ricochet off every censor to clear the area. Using any other offensive merit badge like pyrokinesis or telekinesis is either too slow or hurts Raz in the process. Raz can always use the psi-punch move, but each punch takes a little too long to wind in succession. Compare Raz’s punch to something like Sly Cooper’s swift cane swings and the difference in performance is easy to see. Also, compare the number of effective weapons in Ratchet and Clank to the number of effective merit badges in Psychonauts. I’d love to mix and match Raz’s offensive powers, but the game doesn’t give the player any leeway to do this.

Psychonauts’ creativity and sharp writing compensate for their faulty gameplay. The world of Psychonauts is filled to the brim with quirky, oddball characters that uphold the Tim Schaffer standard of wackiness. The levelheaded (relatively speaking) center of this crazy world is Raz, our plucky pre-teen protagonist. I get the feeling everyone knows a kid like Raz to some extent. He’s the polite, type-A personality who does exceptionally well in school and is leagues more mature than most kids his age. The scout-like psychic camp of Whispering Rock is a perfect place to indulge his passions because Raz exemplifies the loyal, disciplined boy-scout to a T. He’s an eager beaver who treats all of the bizarre things happening around him as curious discoveries, and his determination and will makes him a charismatic protagonist. In saying that, he’s probably the kid who reminds the teacher to collect the homework at the end of the day. He doesn’t exactly win over his fellow campers with his social skills.

Aiding Raz are the peculiar supporting characters that surround him at camp. Agents Sasha Nein and Milla Vodello are the two psychonaut elites with two contrasting personalities. They also might be an item as a vault reel suggests. They are the two people Raz has to prove himself to so he can stay at Whispering Rock. They see a great deal of potential in him, but still can’t permit him to stay without permission. Coach Oleander is the other psychonaut on the premise who is walking human thumb with a serious Napoleon complex. Ford Cruller is the groundskeeper whose mind is so out of whack that he can’t remember who he is unless he’s in his underground hideout. Do not be misled by his geriatric quirks; he’s a highly respected psychonaut with one of the most powerful minds in the agency. He acts as the Yoda to Raz’s Luke by training his mind and offering help on the field via the smell of a bacon strip.
The other faction of supporting characters at Whispering Rock is Raz’s fellow campers. Lili is Raz’s no-nonsense love interest whose secret crush on Raz is hilariously revealed to the player due to the fact Raz is psychic and can read minds. Their playful boy-girl dynamic is adorable and their relationship reveals more boyish tendencies from Raz. Dogen is Raz’s timid bunkmate with psychic powers so turbulent and unhinged that he must wear an aluminum hat to keep them under control. Bobby Zilch is the typical obnoxious camp bully with an even more typical little crony named Benny. These are the only campers who get some limelight in the story as the others are relegated to the background. The only way that the player will get an insight into the rest of the campers is to explore the camp, and I highly recommend doing this. The player will get a glimpse of life at camp surrounding the activities of the rest of the kids. Raz gets to experience the strained friendship of Chops and J.T. due to J.T.'s toxic relationship with Elka, listens to the slow, incoherent ramblings from Vernon, and eavesdrops on a disturbing suicide pact between the enthusiastic duo of Clem and Crystal. The mundane activities of the campers may seem superfluous in the grand scheme of things, but it’s essential to get to know all of these kids due to the rising action of the plot.

Psychonauts should give the player enough time to know every camper a little more organically, but the bizarre pacing of the first third of the game doesn’t allow them to. The “camp section” of the game is a series of three tutorial levels that take place in the minds of Coach Oleander, Sasha, and Milla. Oleander’s war ground obstacle course teaches the player basic 3D platformer skills and has to be completed before they get a chance to look around the camp. The next day will have Raz darting to Sasha Nein’s lab for a tutorial on combat inside of Sasha’s methodically organized cube mind to reflect his stoic Germanness. Milla’s mind is a linear, gaudy disco-dance party straight out of the music video for Deee-Lite’s “Groove is in the Heart”, made to teach Raz the levitation move. Were all of these tutorial levels necessary? Each of them is at least different and gives the player some interesting insight into the machinations of these characters’ minds, but having three straight tutorial missions with no stake in the story gives the first third of the game a glacial pace. They should have supplemented this with a level that lets Raz interact with the rest of the campers, but the player has to unknowingly make an effort to do this on their own in the middle of Sasha and Milla’s levels.

Why is getting to know the campers so important? Because after these three levels, all of them are gone. The rising action occurs inside of Raz’s subconscious where he sees a mad doctor extract Dogen’s brain from the top of a tall tower that Raz cannot reach. Suddenly, all of the camper’s brains are missing and Raz finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy. A sizable portion of the game involves Raz retrieving every child’s brain back to their respective bodies, and Raz will comment who the brain belongs to upon finding it. If the player doesn’t take the time to get to know them, the impact of saving their brain is lost. It’s quickly revealed that Oleander is behind this and is collaborating with the creepy Dr. Loboto to extract the children’s brains to power tanks to take over the world. Lili is intact until the fabled monster of the lake takes her into the water. After Raz dukes it out with the lungfish, Raz enters its mind into a place called “Lungfishopolis” where Raz is a giant, city-destroying monster in an ironic twist to show that the lungfish is just as afraid of Raz as Raz is of it. Raz learns that the Lungfish is a reasonable creature who is under Oleander’s spell to do his bidding. The first psychic venture into a mind without a hand-holding tutorial finally shifts the game into gear. Who doesn’t like to destroy buildings as a giant? More importantly, it’s the first level that delves into a poignant theme that Psychonauts delivers: the theme of empathizing with the mentally ill or understanding those who are different from you.

This theme persists for every remaining level of the game. The rising-action revolving around the Lungfish and the conspiracy was just a boost of momentum, but the asylum levels are when the game starts to show its stride. The lungfish takes Raz to an offshore island where a lofty, dilapidated asylum resides. Even though the asylum is in ruins, four patients roam the grounds. The minds of each of these patients serve as the levels of the asylum and they all relate to different mental illnesses. Boyd the security guard is an obsessive-compulsive, anxious, paranoid wreck whose mind is rife with conspiracy involving the elusive milkman. Gloria is a former stage starlet who has bipolar disorder, and the duality of her moods is cleverly depicted by the comedy and tragedy masks from a theater in her level. Fred Bonaparte is a descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the short emperor is the other voice of his multiple-personality disorder. Lastly, Edgar, the painter is suffering from a serious creative block due to his depression stemming from a traumatic event from his high school days. Raz must clear the minds of these lost souls with a therapeutic excavation of their psyche, acting as half Professor X and half Sigmund Freud. Helping these people will help him gain access to the top of the tower which is guarded by the hostile inmate Crispin.

These four levels are the reason why I hold Psychonauts in such high regard. Double Fine may have been inexperienced in developing for the 3D platformer genre, but their esteemed pedigree in designing graphic adventure games shows here. The levels in Tim Schaffer’s previous games in the graphic adventure genre were designed with one main objective that was slowly unraveled through completing several smaller objectives, mainly relating to puzzles. For example, the main objective of “The Milkman Conspiracy” is to find the milkman somewhere in the level. Doing so requires many steps involving collecting a series of signs and objects that will unlock more of the area. The Dragnet-Esque secret agents will perceive Raz as something depending on what he’s holding which will access an area (and result in some hilariously deadpan dialogue). The main objective of Gloria’s level is to get up on the rafters and fight Gloria’s inner critic. To do so, Raz has to match the right play with a series of potentially correct scenes. Fred’s level involves Raz helping him win against Napoleon in a board game based on the battle of Waterloo. Raz must perform a series of tasks to gain the support of more board pieces and then move the pieces to the enemy’s fortress. Edgar’s level is the most visually striking and the least fluid of the four. It would be the most linear as well if there wasn’t a giant bull constantly stampeding down the main pathway. Nevertheless, the main objective is to collect cards for Edgar to stack, all the while avoiding the charging bull. Each of these levels is unique in its own right, but they all maintain the same course of objectives that give them all a solid foundation. The open level design in a game like Jak and Daxter would simply involve the player retrieving the main collectible in an unrestricted order. Psychonauts slightly confine the player comparatively, but progressively unraveling the layers of the level to the main objective is a sharper approach to this type of level design. The brilliant intricacy of the level design here was unparalleled to any other 3D platformer I’ve played.

I wish this degree of quality was maintained for the final act of the game. Raz climbs the asylum tower to find Lili in captivity. He also finds that Dr. Loboto here with the brains of both Sasha and Milla in his lab. With the help of a gender-swapped Igor and her trusty turtle companion, they all break free and have a showdown with Oleander. Raz then has to dispose of Oleander’s final form which is one of his tanks that he put his brain into. Through a cleverly executed trap involving brain sneezing powder, Raz’s brain mixes with Oleander’s and forms “The Meat Circus”; the crossbreed of both of their psyches into one level. Many fans of the game are not particularly fond of this level, and I am one of them. They say that “The Meat Circus” is difficult, but I think the more appropriate word for it is irritating. Oleander’s psyche has manifested a traumatic childhood moment involving his butcher dad slaughtering a bunny, so the Oleander in the level is a child version of him. If I didn’t know any better, I would have guessed that Oleander’s childhood trauma would’ve stemmed from being constantly bullied or from people telling him to shut his fucking piehole because that’s what I wanted to do to the annoying little squirt. I, unfortunately, couldn’t do this due to having to escort little Oleander through the circus. Escort missions are aggravating enough, but this mission is a race against the clock before the malformed bunny creatures kill Oleander. On the way to his location, little Oleander will be attacked constantly by these things and every hit makes him eek out another line with the most shrill, maddening voice I’ve ever heard from a child character. Raz’s half of this abominable mix of psyches is his negative perception of the circus, so guess what this level is full of? Rope swings, beams, and other trapeze tricks galore, and the player has to do this to a great extent during this portion. The player also has to do these during the second half with the psychological manifestation of Raz’s dad, but the irritation I experienced during that section was nothing compared to the first half with child Oleander. This all culminates in Raz fighting a hybrid version of both his dad and Oleander’s and reuniting with the real version of his dad who is more understanding than Raz led him on to be. Raz’s brain is restored and Oleander somehow gets off scot-free. Sasha and Milla promote Raz to the role of a junior psychonaut as they are called on another important mission. The story here wraps up a little too nicely, and it’s made even worse that the climactic point of it was a level that included a bevy of the game’s worst aspects along with none of what made the previous levels great.


Ironically, the game that I am heralding as the peak of the 3D platformer era isn’t up to par with the performance of many of its contemporaries. The second-wave 3D platformers of the sixth generation refined the formula to the point of near perfection, and Psychonauts falls too short of the standards set by the other games. Movement can be imprecise, the framerate is dodgy, and combat can be so awkward that it’s a wonder as to why they bothered putting enemies in the levels at all. Some of the levels in Psychonauts are some of the best I’ve ever played, but they are presented with strange pacing in a story that is shaky at best. The less said about “The Meat Circus” the better. Normally I wouldn’t lavish a game with so many flaws with this amount of praise, but Psychonauts has too much substance to prattle on about its rough edges. The humor, creativity, characters, and depth that Psychonauts offers in its level design are extraordinary and make up for any shortcomings. Even the more lackluster levels (except for “The Meat Circus”) have a unique flair to them that I haven’t seen in any other 3D platformer. No game is perfect, and I’d gladly take Psychonauts any day over an uninspired collectathon with smoother gameplay. Psychonauts unlocked an unseen potential in the 3D platformer genre, an impressive feat considering the long-winded history of the genre by 2005. As it turned out, it did not prolong the genre’s relevance, but at least it was treated to a rich, tasty dessert before it was put to bed.
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Erockthestrange 2017-07-21T20:01:36Z
2017-07-21T20:01:36Z
9.0
2
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I almost feel guilty for buying this game at just 2 dollars. The amount of passion that went into this game feels immesurable, from its lovable and crazy characters to its beautiful level designs. The game is damn near perfect from a visual and story standpoint, having characters BECOME the levels really adds an extra sense of character to the world. The game really picks up in the second half where you find yourself inside the mental assylum and traverse the mindscape of all its colourful inmates. Resolving their mental problems using your psychic powers. My personal favourite level has you enter the mind of Gloria a fallen from grace actress that suffers from bipolar disorder. To reflect this, the level takes place primarily on a stageplay that you must help direct, you'll see Glorias life story play on the stage, including the highest highs and the lowest lows. This story and many more are told perfectly not through cutscenes but through gameplay as, in my opinion, every story driven game should.

I'll sing high praise about Psychonauts when it comes to story and visuals, however the 3D platforming genre has tough competition when it comes to gameplay, I ocasionally found myself stuck on geometry and cringed hard as I would try and jump onto a monkeybar only to phase right though it, popping blood vessels as I jump towards a rope or pole only to fall to my doom and be sent back to a checkpoint. The game isn't as refined as mario 64 but to make up for this Raz has his own bag of tricks to level the playing field. The levetation power has to be my personal favourite, allowing you to jump higher and roll around on a ball to traverse faster. The main focus being on problem solving puzzles helps aleviate the comparitively poor platforming. The combat most certainly isn't anything to write home about either, the lack of room for your special abilities on the controller means you'll be pausing the flow of the game constantly to swap out moves in order to capitalize on an enemies weakness or try a different stratergy. Most the time however you'll just be using the PSY-blast until whatever you're shooting at dies.

Anyone who loves how video games can tell a story through their gameplay should play this game asap, if the moment to moment gameplay were just a tad tighter it'd be one of my all time favourites. Definitely pick it up on steam where I was able to play it in HD with no major problems.
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Drongus 2021-10-23T04:40:10Z
2021-10-23T04:40:10Z
4.0
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Catalog

ernumpo Psychonauts 2024-05-25T12:06:40Z
Windows / Mac / Linux/Unix
2024-05-25T12:06:40Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sadgirl2023 Psychonauts 2024-05-24T20:42:29Z
PS4
2024-05-24T20:42:29Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sadgirl2023 Psychonauts 2024-05-24T20:42:18Z
2024-05-24T20:42:18Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
BurgurBurgur Psychonauts 2024-05-22T15:52:48Z
Windows / Mac / Linux/Unix
2024-05-22T15:52:48Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Want to Play
zeebozzz Psychonauts 2024-05-20T18:36:46Z
2024-05-20T18:36:46Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
nobodyburnhole95 Psychonauts 2024-05-15T07:35:25Z
2024-05-15T07:35:25Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Bubu66 Psychonauts 2024-05-12T03:46:57Z
2024-05-12T03:46:57Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Sgt_Garlic Psychonauts 2024-05-11T10:15:04Z
Xbox 360
2024-05-11T10:15:04Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
scoterinaia Psychonauts 2024-05-11T06:14:49Z
2024-05-11T06:14:49Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
miolen_bridges Psychonauts 2024-05-10T17:47:11Z
2024-05-10T17:47:11Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
vvhiteout Psychonauts 2024-05-05T15:35:35Z
2024-05-05T15:35:35Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
cultofbabies Psychonauts 2024-05-03T16:42:44Z
2024-05-03T16:42:44Z
43
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
ESRB: T
Player modes
Single-player
Media
1x CD-ROM
Franchises

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  • CrackTheSky 2024-02-04 19:07:16.84783+00
    Having trouble thinking of another game with this much undistilled personality and charm. The creativity in the art direction and the visual representation of the different minds is just staggering, there are so many little details and it's just a totally unique, endlessly clever and enjoyable piece of media that is so easy to fall in love with. I just replayed this for the first time in probably 15 years and I almost couldn't believe how well practically every element has held up. About as timeless as games from this era get.

    Side note: For some reason I was bracing myself for a sub-3.6 rating on this, really happy to see this is in the 3.9-4.0 range, it absolutely deserves it.
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  • Drawdler 2024-02-06 08:38:42.876429+00
    I love how weirdly the adventure item collection elements slot into this, it honestly adds to the vibe of it being such a weird world and stuff
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