Psychonauts is a platform video game developed by Double Fine Productions, initially published by Majesco Entertainment in 2005 and 2006 for Microsoft Windows, Xbox, and PlayStation 2; Budcat Creations helped in the PlayStation 2 port. In 2011, Double Fine acquired the rights for the title from Majesco, allowing the company to republish the title with updates for modern gaming systems and the Microsoft Windows version of the game and creating OS X/macOS and Linux ports of the game.
Psychonauts follows the player-character Razputin Aquato (voiced by Richard Horvitz), a young boy gifted with psychic abilities who runs away from the circus to try to sneak into a summer camp for those with similar powers to become a "Psychonaut", a spy with psychic abilities. He later finds that someone is stealing people's brains in the camp, turning the people into mindless people who only say "TV!". Only Raz can collect their brains and put them back into their owners.
Why It Rocks
- Interesting premise and concept.
- Razputin can gain psychic powers such as Pyrokinesis, Telekinesis, Clairvoyance, Levitation, Invisibility, Confusion, Marksmanship (firing energy shots at enemies), and even the ability to generate a Psychic Shield.
- You can purchase an upgrade that allows you to change the color of Raz's psychic powers.
- Collect mind figments to increase your rank, collect five tags in people's minds and combine them with the correct bags to increase your rank and combine nine cards and a PSI Core to get a PSI Challenge Marker to increase your rank even further. You can also find a few PSI Challenge Markers in certain locations and they automatically increase your rank. Increase your rank to unlock three psychic powers, then get upgrades to ones you already have. You can reach up to rank 100, or 101 if you complete everything in the game.
- Very stylized graphics that make the game stand out from other games in its time period. They also look like something out of a Tim Burton movie.
- An overworld hub where you can go into the minds of people using a Psychic Portal. There is also a hub where you can go to minds you have already entered.
- Solving problems in other people's minds increase your positive psychic energy increasing your maximum health.
- Collecting brains stolen from people restore them from being mindless zombies who only say "TV!" and also slightly increases your maximum health.
- Incredible writing with lots of great humor.
- Lots of varied levels. One level you go into a warzone battleground. Another level takes place in a dance party. A later level Razputin is suddenly a large giant person and is attacked by turrets and then a giant superhero, and the next you are suddenly thrust into an investigation to find the "Milkman".
- Lots of intriguing and possibly memorable characters.
- Controls with a mouse and keyboard layout is very playable on PC.
- Lots of dialog is included in the game, and almost all actions you can do to a person or even some objects will trigger a line or scripted dialog, adding to the experience.
- See Razputin from the point of view of everybody in the game using Clairvoyance, and experience how each character views Razputin.
- A potentially game-breaking glitch can occur where the Cobweb Duster stops appearing in your inventory after entering certain levels when the Cobweb Duster is supposed to always appear in your inventory after purchasing it from Ford Cruller. Another game glitch can make it impossible to purchase the tool again from Ford Cruller when this glitch occurs, and as cobwebs block access to required paths in certain levels this can permanently block progress through the game if you can't purchase the Cobweb Duster and it isn't in your inventory. This usually occurs when playing the PlayStation 2 version of the game on the PlayStation 3 by emulation, but some people have claimed this bug can occur in every version of the game. Also, at the end of the game, after you reach the Point of No Return as actually titled by the game, it is impossible to go back to the camp to re-purchase the item from Ford Cruller. If you can't purchase the Cobweb Duster again you must load a save from before the Cobweb Duster disappeared from the inventory.
- There are some camera bugs.
- Autolock can be annoying at times.
- The PS2 Version itself is kinda unpolished.
- The quest involving you collecting 800 arrowheads to buy a cobweb duster is really annoying, as you have to get it just before the Milkman Conspiracy level. It hobbles the game experience quite a bit when you have to spend an hour or two grinding up arrowheads to buy the duster.
- The Meat Circus is a very maddening and disappointing level. Proof:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7k1rj5VTRG4&t=461s
Psychonauts received critical acclaim, with aggregation site Metacritic declaring reviews on all three release platforms as "generally favorable", scoring from 86 to 88 out of 100.
Despite strong critical praise, Psychonauts did not sell well with only about 100,000 retail units sold at the time of release, leading to severe financial loss for Majesco and their departure from the video game market; the title was considered a commercial failure. Psychonauts since has earned a number of industry awards and gained a cult following. Following the acquisition of the game, Double Fine's republishing capabilities and support for modern platforms have allowed them to offer the game through digital distribution, and the company has reported that their own sales of the game have far exceeded what was initially sold on its original release, with cumulative sales of nearly 1.7 million as of December 2015. A sequel, Psychonauts 2, was announced at The Game Awards on December 2015.
- You will need to increase your rank to at least 30 to get through the entire game as certain abilities are unlocked by increasing your rank and going to Ford Cruller. After getting to rank 30 upgrades to your abilities will be unlocked every five ranks, so try to get as high a rank as possible.
- Before you free Lili at the end of the game automatically saves your game to a separate save file called "POINT OF NO RETURN" for backup as saving Lili will cause you to go to a segment of the game where you cannot go back to the camp. If you want to go back to the camp you must load a save file from before you saved Lili.