Maybe it was bad marketing, or perhaps the cover art, but for some odd reason Psychonauts was overlooked by most gamers in 2005.
This game is a 3rd-person platform game, where the hero visits impossible worlds that exist inside the mind. Along the way he gains new powers and abilities that allow him to reach areas that were inaccessible the first time through (much like Metroid Prime or Castlevania).
The gameplay is solid and engrossing, but it doesn’t reflect the most enjoyable part of this game, the story. Psychonauts has a wonderful, hilarious story, coupled with a bizarre, yet inspired artistic design. By hilarious, I don’t mean raunchy (like Conker’s Bad Fur Day), but clever, intelligent, and way more insightful than any video game has a right to be.
The level design is incredible. In one world you are fighting your way through an obstacle course across a war-torn battlefield , in another you bounce your way happily through a dance party, in another you are dodging girl-scout snipers held up in a book depository, in another you are smashing your way through entire armies as the mighty Gogglor, in another you are playing a turn-based board-game where the entire level is the playing field, in another you are directing a musical threatened by a mysterious “phantom”. And those are just the levels that spring immediately to my memory, there are many more.
Throw into the mix a summer camp, a cute love story, a rivalry with the camp’s bully, a plan to redeem yourself in the eyes of your father, a plot to conquer the world, a bacon-loving mastermind, and a lungfish named Linda and you are in for the kind of good time that only game designer Tim Schaefer can bring.
Rent/purchase this game while you can, for it is destined to be a sleeper classic like Ico or Sam & Max Hit the Road.