Still one of the most unique games around, Psychonauts is a great way to spend a weekend.

User Rating: 8.5 | Psychonauts XBOX
Pros: Constantly creative and often hilarious scenarios; Neat, twisted art style; A good variety throughout

Cons: Platforming feels a bit imprecise at times; Progression is inconsistent; Not a terribly long game; Collection elements are too intrusive

The most impressive thing about Psychonauts is that one level of the game probably has more creative ideas than almost any other major release. This is not modern-wartime-middle-east-military-corporation-shooter 12 (coming soon to a game store near you). This is not even fantasy-rpg-with-the-elves-and-goblins, or mildly-annoying-anthrophomorphic-platformer. No, here is a game that is genuinely unique.

Psychonauts throws out reality right off the bat with its concept: explore the minds of campers at a psychic summer camp. The moment you enter someone's mind, things become wildly different. Objects float in air, color schemes are shifted, neighborhoods are twisted into a giant knot, and much more. Each mind is wildly different and provides an extremely unique take on the platforming genre. One mind will have you rampaging around a town like Godzilla while the next tasks you with getting to the bottom of a hilarious conspiracy, and then the next forces you to solve a theatrical dilemma.

It's not all perfect though. What is more or less your average platforming can be imprecise, leading to frustration as you attempt to gauge some of the tougher late-game jumps. Progression is inconsistent, bombarding you with new items and abilities one moment, and then forcing you to take some time to collect items the next (speaking of which, there is too much collection going on, and it's tough to justify for even the most diehard completionist out there).

But the aforementioned brilliant creativity and a stellar presentation help sell the game in spite of these issues. While the graphics have aged, the art style is still pretty sharp, giving a skewed, discolored version of the world that almost feels like it belongs in a Tim Burton film. The writing is equally twisted, downright hilarious at times, and frequently smart, albeit immature. And the music suits the mood nicely, whether adding to the demented charm or building up for a dramatic climax.

However, this presentation adds, rather than takes away from the last flaw: it's simply too short. Running at about 7-9 hours for the average player with little reason to go back, Psychonauts doesn't have much lasting power. Nonetheless, with a unique and entertaining premise, cheaper prices nowadays, and unlikelihood of a sequel (no matter how much the game deserves it), Psychonauts definitely deserves a spot on your collection.