See the world through different perspectives in this clever platformer.

User Rating: 9 | Psychonauts PS4

It has been a couple years since I first experienced Psychonauts so I thought it was worth revisiting before I jumped into the sequel. This story-driven platformer is truly one-of-a-kind as it offers great variety as your travel from one mind to the next. Every character you meet has a very different perspective on the world so getting the chance to jump into their heads lets you experience this first hand. Their are definitely some aspects of the platforming that haven't aged very well but that shouldn't discourage you from playing this classic. Honestly the game overall has, for the most part, aged well thanks to the great writing and excellent level design.

In Psychonauts you play as a young boy named Raz who is attending a summer camp for psychics. Raz is clearly ahead of his peers so he is offered some advance training from his teachers. This is very useful because shortly there after he witnesses one of his friends get their brain stolen. In order to save his friends he'll have to get through an insane asylum, helping the many patients along the way. Of course Raz his own demons to deal with as he has some lingering trauma from being raised in the circus by a strict father. His father despises psychics because they cursed his entire family to die in water.

In Psychonauts the campgrounds act as an overworld where you can talk to the other kids and explore for collectables. The main stages of the game all take place in other people's minds which you can enter in through a psycho-portal. Once inside a mind everything is themed to that characters past trauma and present interests. For example your camp counselor Sasha Nine has a very organized mind which takes the form of a perfect cube while Milla, who is much more charismatic, features a mind full of dancers and groovy music. In each mind you'll have a different objective such a helping a painter get his confidence back or helping a former actress with her mood swings.

In combat you'll have your standard slap-like attacks in addition to a range of psychic powers. You'll usually get a new power in each mind: some of which include pyrokinesis, telekinesis, and levitation. While some of the powers can be helpful in battle they are heavily relied on for various puzzles. Each mind has several figments which you can collect to increase your PSI rank. As you PSI rank goes up you'll be granted upgrades to enhance your psychic powers. Also scattered in each stage is five pieces of emotional baggage which once collect lets you look a concept art for the game. You can also find a couple safes in each level which will like you see key memories that shaped that person's mind.

This is such a clever and original platformer that holds up surprising well considering it is over 15 years old. Sure the technical limitations become more clear with some of the later, more challenging, stages. However, the engaging plot and variety found from one mission to the next makes it easier to look over some of the shortcomings. I've heard that it isn't nessacary to play this first game to enjoy the sequel but I'd definitely at least recommend giving it a shot. While rooted in traditional 3D platforming mechanics this game offers a wholly unique twist on the formula. Are you ready to poke around in other peoples minds and confront their inner demons?