3.05.2012

Psychonauts Review

Psychonauts (PC)

Save the turtle, save the world.

Being a big fan of The Secret of Monkey Island, and with all the hubbub surrounding Tim Schafer's Kickstarter Project, I couldn't resist firing up one of his earlier critically acclaimed works, Psychonauts.

Psychonauts follows the story of young Rasputin, or Raz, who crashes a summer camp for psychics of his age. Initially shooed off by his peers and the camp counselors (who double as secret agents of the psychic variety), Raz has two days to prove himself before his parents come to pick him up. As camp progresses, it becomes apparent that Raz is not a typical talent; and when a larger conspiracy involving the kidnapping of the camp's students begins to come to light, Raz is the only person that has the power to stop it.

The mindscapes that Raz encounters throughout the game are a breath of fresh air. The interactions between Raz's powers and items with the environment range between simple and unexpected. This game definitely isn't afraid to challenge you a bit and to make you try a little bit harder to get to the next level.

The areas themselves are a mix of Looney Toons and Tim Burton, with a dash of Inception (even though this game predates Inception by many years, the comparisons are apt). And while the distinctive style of this game really stands out among its peers, the humorous dialogue that accompanies this game brings it up another notch. Even in the rare instances where I could predict the punchlines, I still got a good laugh from the jokes.

As I mentioned before, this is a slightly more complex platformer than the average Mario or Zelda, and Psychonauts was an unexpectedly good video game given that I already had low expectations for this genre due to the mess that Skyward Sword was. My only complaint for this game are that the controls aren't as tight as I would have liked; it felt like auto-grabbing ledges/ropes didn't work all time, leading to some pretty senseless deaths.

But overall, what a world of difference that unexpected stage themes and variety make in establishing a good platformer. Easy access to upgrades, save points, multiple types of fast travel points, dialogue! This game is nearly seven years old, and it beats the pants off of Skyward Sword in terms of story, creativity, features, and general entertainment value. Using this game as a reference point, I fear that Nintendo no longer 'gets it'.


Completion Time: 10 Hours.
Kenholic Rating: 7.0 out of 10.0

Final Words: Entertaining and fun. At 10 hours, why not give it a try?

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