Psychonauts 2 (, Xbox, PC, or with Xbox Game Pass)
Verdict: Therapy session
Monster Train (Switch, Xbox,PC)
Verdict: Devilishly good
Well, that only took 16 years.
The first Psychonauts came out in 2005, and, while there was a short VR release in 2017, we have had to wait until now for a full-blown sequel. The time of psychonought is finally over.
But what even is Psychonauts? Marketeers would call it the thinking person’s 3D platforming game — for reasons that are all too literal.
It looks much like other 3D platformers, such as the Crash Bandicoot series, in that it’s cartoonish and involves a lot of jumping around.
But it also happens to take place inside the human mind.
Psychonauts could be the the thinking person’s 3D platforming game
And that is a pretty adult place to be.
The architecture of each level is made up of characters’ fears, regrets and bad thoughts. We go from the tooth-strewn inner landscape of someone with dentophobia, through to hospitals, hairdressers and alcoholic sumps.
If that makes the game sound grim or unsuitable for kids, don’t worry — it’s neither.
Just like the first Psychonauts, which you don’t need to have played, the sequel feels like a spy caper.
Its protagonists, including the wide-eyed Razputin Aquato, are funny and upbeat.
In fact, it’s so close to being a Pixar animation that sometimes it’s too close. The scripted sequences are so frequent that they can get in the way of actual gameplay.
After the in-the-hands brilliance of recent 3D platformers such as Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, that is a significant loss.
Or perhaps that’s all in my mind? I should get someone to take a look…