Tuesday, 14 February 2006


So it's finally here. Psychonauts, a game from the bloke who brought you Day of The Tentacle. Here's the box art:

Funky, no?

Anyway, my copy arrived yesterday and I managed to play from when I got home till about 12:30. I don't usually do that. In a lot of ways Psychonauts is similar to another brilliant game no-one played[1] Beyond Good and Evil, in that there's a large world to wander around and explore and find little hidden things in that separates the sections of frantic platform action. It's also quirkily designed and has a fun sense of humour.

Psychonauts, as the name suggests, is all about exploring peoples psyches. The main character, Rez, can jump into peoples brains and find out about their "Emotional Baggage" and what's locked away in their "vaults" while collecting "figments" of their imaginations and battling their "demons".

I'm not yet sure of the total plot. At the moment my character keeps exploring his own brain and then coming up against obstacles that require further training. But it's in the little things that this games excels. Most of the characters in the story are kids and, surprisingly, they act like kids. There are bullies, silly secrets, budding romances and daft games. They're all cute, but oddly real. The stories I've found in the vaults in peoples brains are told as a series of still drawings and all of them so far have been quite poignant. The individual interior worlds are all very different from each other, from the minimalist space of Nein to the groovy disco world of Vodello. There are mysteries in the spaces, too, I don't know if it will be explained, but Rez is scared of water due to a gypsy curse, but in his psyche there's a big boat covered in cobwebs.

The gameplay itself is pretty standard plaform stuff. Running, jumping and combining your different powers (mind blast, levitation etc.). That sort of thing. There are end of level bosses that have that one weakness, etc. It's also occasionally frustrating. Vodello's mind in particular features a lot of jumping and rolling around that has very little margin for error and you can spend minutes doing the same thing over and over. You don't particularly care, though, as the story and the characters keep you going and the frustrating parts seem mostly few and far between.

So it's definitely good for at least 4 hours non-stop play. It's witty and well-designed and if enough Europeans buy it you'll make Tim Schafer happy and he'll make more like it.

Buy a copy today!

[1]Psychonauts is only just out in Europe, it's been out in the US for six months or more. There are financial reasons for this. They aren't that interesting.

No comments: