Game 2: Psychonauts

Psychonauts is a game thats thoroughly at the top of my “Best games of all time” list, and I’ll tell you why. Its a game with a truly original and well-executed premise. Its a game where 80% of the play time is spent inside the minds of others. As you can imagine, there are wondrous worlds inside the mind, and the both the visual aesthetic and underlying concept of each world convey this perfectly, complete with every persons own streak of insanity. It uses a stylised and cartooney set of artwork, which suits the world the game is set in well.

The storyline is thought provoking, and yet got more than a few laughs out of a battle-hardened comedian like myself. The sheer variety and uniqueness of the different minds you enter means one can never get scenery fatigue, which is essential in an adventure game (oh, its an adventure game too, did I mention that?) where you may be spending a lot of time in each location for being stuck on a puzzle. The platforming feels natural, and is indeed more enjoyable than the combat. As it bloody better be, if you’re going to have as much of it as psychonauts does.

My main problem was that through playing the game I was too intent on ploughing through the main storyline to “cash in” all the upgrades of various kinds that i’d been collecting throughout my travels. I always expected I would do it later, but then all of a sudden the game ends. Oops. Perhaps this is my fault for being too single minded, but why exactly is it necessary to “cash them in”? Psychonauts is above gameplay lengthening strategies like this one, so maybe it simply didn’t occur to them that you could cut out the middle man and make an upgrade take effect immediately.

Regardless, Psychonauts is probably the best-executed, most original game I’ve played, barring possibly Portal.

Next time on bloggin’ about games is….Portal!