We play four levels of Psychonauts 2
‘Don’t be depressed, life is beautiful’, ‘Don’t be anxious, don’t think about it anymore’. How many times have we not heard or even said these kinds of phrases? Forever illnesses and mental states have been minimized by the simple fact that they are not seen with the naked eye.
The phrase “each head is a world” has never been so literal. In Psychonauts, the player’s mission is to enter the minds of various characters, extract their deepest secrets, know their fears, fight against their demons, and in general, analyze them more visually than any therapy. Now mental illnesses and conflicts can be seen with the naked eye.
Your developer team calls it astral projection – that is, projecting your psyche into someone else’s mind.
Many of the elements of the gameplay, story, and art in Psychonauts are a metaphor for how complex the human mind can be.
For example, we will see some enemies called regrets or doubts, and their mechanics is not only to be a conflict for the player, but they will even slow it down. The censors also return, who will try to eliminate any element that does not belong to the mind, such as Raz.
Other characters in this story have anxiety, regrets and even panic attacks, and this action-adventure platform game makes them part of its mechanics.
The legacy of Psychonauts
In 2005, Psychonauts, the first game from the Double Fine studio, was released. This tells the story of Raz Aquato, a circus who wants to leave that life behind and dedicate himself to being a Psychonaut: a kind of secret agent of the mind.
Despite the fact that at that time the subject of mental health was not in the trends as it is now, the subject was treated with great respect. And that Psychonauts really is a very funny game.
To explore the brains and in terms of gameplay, the player has at his disposal powers such as telekinesis, levitation, psi-blast, pyrokinesis and slow enemies.
And now, in this sequel we try a new one: the mental connection, which we will talk about later.
The most interesting thing about the powers is that they not only fulfill a single function, but they serve both for crossing and in combat.
For example, the mental connection helps us both to solve puzzles and to move through the scenarios and, also, if we use it in combat, it will link the enemies to bring them closer.
At last a psychonaut
Psychonauts 2 begins right after the events of the first game and Rhombus of Ruin, the VR spinoff.
Raz eventually made it into the Psychonauts, yet he’s hardly an intern. From the first hours the player will meet Hollys Forsythe, who is in charge of the “problems” that Truman Zanotto had.
Hollys is a very apprehensive person who not only has a lot of stress from the Psychonauts’ financial woes, but she fears that the interns will be injured or killed if they go on a mission.
So Raz enters her mind of her and, through her mental connection of her, makes her stop associating ‘Risk’ with ‘Death’ … and inadvertently makes her addicted to gambling and risk.
Later we will also meet the mythical founders of the Psychonauts, very thoroughly … so thoroughly that it is inside their minds, but at this point we will avoid these parts for spoilers.
Even though the first game is over 16 years old, in a way they feel very similar. And I say this in a very positive way, because this type of platform is no longer made.
This time there are more collectibles and items to collect and this could be a bit “retro” for some, both in good shape and bad. Most of my time was spent exploring and searching for every last object, although of course this is entirely optional.
A nice addition is that you can now level up your psychic powers and even give them a modifier, like changing their color. This is achieved precisely by searching and taking collectibles.
Is Psychonauts 2 worth it?
Like its predecessor, the main feature of Psychonauts 2 is that it is a lot of fun. Both the powers, as the imaginative and diverse worlds take the spotlight. In a moment we will be jumping between teeth inside the mind of a frustrated dentist, and, a couple of hours later, we will be in a mental casino watching a couple play roulette over and over again to finally have a baby.
However, once you play more levels and understand this universe, what will drive you the most to follow is the story, because in addition to the mysteries, it turns out that entering the mind of a character is the fastest way to create empathy with their emotions and motivations.
Psychonauts 2 will easily be one of the most memorable experiences of the year.
This game will be released on August 25 on PC, Mac, Xbox Series, Xbox On