Psychonauts
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2005-07-15 Xbox Action/Platform E10 (Everyone 10+) Majesco / Double Fine Productions

If you had psychic powers, would you be using them to your own advantage or would you go out of your way to try to make the world a better place for everyone?

From the mind of Tim Schafer (Grim Fandango) comes another originally weird yet witty psychic adventure, Psychonauts.

In Psychonauts, you play the role of Raz (short for Rasputin), a young boy who flees his home at the circus to participate in a psychic camp - a sort of summer camp for kids with the psychic ability to enter the minds of other people.

The world of Psychonauts is divided in two. The real world, which is the campgrounds, and the mental worlds, which is composed of the several minds you can enter.

In the mental world, Raz will undergo some serious training to become what he has always aspired to be: a Psychonaut, a master of great psychic powers.

In the minds of his instructors, Raz will have to find his way through military obstacle courses, PSI blast censors into oblivion and learn how to bounce, roll and float inside a disco party of gigantic vertical proportions.

There are several intriguing things to find in the different mental worlds, and these are just the common ones:

  • Figments of imagination: graffiti-like drawings each worth a different amount of points. Collect 100 points to gain a PSI Cadet Rank.
  • Emotional baggage: when reunited with their respective tags, they unlock Primal Memories.
  • Mental cobwebs: clean them with a Cobweb Duster and then exchanged for PSI Cards at Cruller's Sanctuary.
  • Memory vaults: punch them to unlock and view memories from the mind you're in. -
  • Mental arrowheads: they add up to Raz's Psitanium value, which allows him to buy items in the real world.

HINT: Start digging for arrowheads as soon as possible so you can afford to buy the Dowsing Rod at the lodge. The rod will let you search for deep arrowheads, which are worth a lot more.

Throughout his training, Raz will obtain merit badges that will be proudly sewn on his backpack. These badges will allow him to use new psychic abilities such as Pyrokinesis (set things of fire with just a though), Marksmanship (PSI blast enemies into oblivion), Levitation (use your thought bubble to bounce, glide and float) and many others. Some of these have a PSI Cadet Rank requirement.

Aside from collecting figment points, Raz can also raise his rank by finding 9 PSI Cards and combine them with a PSI Core at Cruller's Sanctuary, by finding PSI Challenge Markers and by discovering scavenger hunt items (8 items will raise you four ranks).

The gameplay is non-linear, so there is always a little challenge to do: finding PSI cards and markers, digging for arrowheads, finding lost brains (yes, you read that right), telekinetic canoeing and searching for the scavenger hunt objects which are scattered throughout the campgrounds.

An excellent action/platformer, Psychonauts features an involving plot full of comical dialogs, colorful characters, extravagant and very imaginative environments, that will keep you hooked to find out what sort of crazy things are lurking in the next level.

If you like platform games, weird things, originality and wacky sense of humor, this is definitely the game for you. And you don't need to be psychic to know that this game is truly an entertaining experience!