Genre: third person 3D platformer, role playing game, mind game, psy game
Release Date: 2021
Developer/Publisher: Double Fine
We’ve been playing Psychonauts 2 for the better part of the past two months since its release (after completing a quick run of the original Psychonauts for good measure). If you haven’t played Psychonauts, now is your chance to experience a video gaming classic that has not aged a bit. It took fifteen years for Double Fine to cook up a worthy sequel.
Where to start? The fates of Psychonauts and legendary (formerly) independent studio Double Fines are entwined. Psychonauts has an old San Francisco vibe, zany, hippiyish, bohemian diverse, possibly pre big-tech era. Psychonauts are an international spy agency of psychic operators who use their abilities to foil evil conspiracies. You play the role of Raz, a young psychonaut in training. Equipped with PSI blast, pyrokinesis, clairvoyance, a good sense of humour, and supported by a wacky cast of psy kids and sidekicks, unravel the mysteries of the human mind.
Playability: Zany 3D platforming
Psychonauts 2 is an unconventional game that relies on tried and tested video gaming tropes and conventions. Don’t let the amazingly creative sights, sounds and scripts distract you from what is essentially an impeccably executed platformer. Van Gogh’s and Picasso’s paintings may be unique, but they still speak a universally understood artistic palette. By the same adage, Psychonauts 2 is a gamer friendly offering, nouvelle cuisine certainly, but still comfortable and intuitive to play. Grab your controller and follow the clues. Is the game playing with your psyche?
Annoyance: Don’t slack up, jump up
Pyschonauts 2 has you hip hopping around a lot. Thankfully, it’s not a mindless platform jumper (that would be awkward). Occasionally and inevitably, you’ll face puzzling moments that will require your full mindfulness and a dose of finger agility. A quick search online for those with little patience will yield spoilers and solutions to your predicaments. But just a little perseverance (okay and a lot more of the same repetitive jumps for old video gamers) is all you need to frolic forward.
Beauty: Strange beautiful mind
Screenshots of Psychonauts and Psychonauts 2 are immediately recognisable. If you’re into drab and dreary wardrobe and shades of grey, the Psychonauts universe will not be your bland cup of tea. Yes, at times, Psychonauts feels like a fizzy overpowered energy drink that has been shaken with extreme violence. Anything is pretty much possible, as long as you can imagine it. Fantastical burst of colours supported by perfectly acted dialogues and cinematic soundtrack tell the stories of the human mind, digging deep into weirdness, but with careful empathy for the emotional baggage we all carry around.
The Old Video Gamer’s Prattle: Colourful and endearing jumping 9/10
Psychonauts 2 is a work of video gaming art that looks and sounds good. The game is delightfully playful and is a fun experience, with only the occasional annoying jumps and puzzling conundrums. A cast of colourful characters carries the epic story through plot twists and turns. Combining role playing, skills and levels build up, mindful battles with heavy dollops of exploration, Psychonauts has matured into a more polished and streamlined experience that levitates impishly to new gaming highs.
Looking for more one of a kind platforming games? Jump around and hold your heart out in Spiritfarer, a visually and emotionally crafted experience, or dress up for Halloween in Costume Quest, a casual Double Fine classic.