Platform: XBox Original, PC
Psychonauts is the highest console game to make my list. Everything after this is a PC game. This game is one of my favorites ever. Top 5, actually. It is also the most unique game on this list. I happened to have found this one day at a GameStop. I hadn’t heard of it previously, but it looked interesting. I have since bought the game two more times as I gave away my first two copies to other people because I want everyone to play and enjoy it as much as I have. I am a Psychonauts evangelist.
You play the game as a character named Rasputin, or Raz. Raz is just a kid. A kid with special powers. His family doesn’t approve of his powers and is in a circus. Raz runs away to a summer camp for kids with special mental powers hosted by the Psychonauts – a do-gooding organization whose members all have psychic abilities. At this camp, he makes new friends and quickly shows that he is special indeed. Then something bad happens and it’s up to you and Raz to return the camp to normal. Through the game, you learn new powers, which help you defeat many enemies.
The game play is broken into two main areas – the campgrounds itself and the psychic realm. In the campgrounds, you go from area to area, looking for hidden objects, buying upgrades and progressing the story along. In the psychic realm, you are helping individuals sort out their mental issues. This is really where the game shines. Every psychic level is completely unique. There is a level where you are basically Godzilla and hated, one where you are essentially in a pinball table, another in a person who thinks he’s Napoleon and so many more!
There are tons of things to collect in this game, which I always enjoy. The graphics are also unique. Some people like them, some don’t. Because they are a bit unusual, I feel the game still stands up today. What makes this game for me, however, is the writing. This game is HILARIOUS! There were a couple of levels where I laughed for a solid 5 minutes. When you play it, I recommend that you really take your time and listen to the things the other characters have to say. If you stick around, you’ll hear some really funny stuff. Read the billboards, too! The Milkman level is one of my favorites and I have played it over and over because it’s so funny.
This was the first game I had played by developer Double Fine, headed by Tim Schaefer. I have Psychonauts shirts, pins, a signed poster by Schaefer and Psychonauts figurines. This game has reached cult status, and I’m definitely there. I am a big fan of a lot of their other games as well. They all have that same sense of humor and excellent writing.
I only have one criticism about the game. The game plays really well, not overly difficult, until the ending. As many times as I have played this game, I have never finished it. The ending requires ridiculous precision and is really frustrating. It’s so disproportionate to the rest of the game. It’s never made sense to me.
Otherwise, however, if you have not played this, GET IT NOW AND PLAY IT!!! It’s available for PC on Steam and it’s available in the Microsoft Store for the XBox 360. I’m not sure if it’s been ported to the XBone yet.
By the way, Psychonauts 2 is in the works. I will likely disappear for a week or so after it comes out. I’ll come out a zombie, but a happy zombie. I’m a bit nervous about it, though, because this is a tough game to follow.