Psychonauts 2 is right up there with The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy XV when it comes to highly anticipated games. After a swift Fig campaign, Tim Schafer and his studio Double Fine Productions announced a bridge between the original Pyschonauts and its sequel called Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin. This unique, first-person puzzle game was on hand this weekend at IndieCade 2016 and I was able to dive in using the PlayStation VR headset.
Starting off the adventure, players find themselves floating in an endless void that is sparsely filled with colorful outlines of the series’ characters. In this void, you are treated to a quick recap of the events of the first game as Raz, the game’s protagonist (voiced again by Richard Steven Horvitz), thinks to himself. Once Raz snaps back into consciousness on the plane he took off in at the end of the first game, I was treated to a brief, but story filled demo/tutorial.
The entirety thing takes place in very small but cozy plane with Raz’s kind-of girlfriend Lili, and Psychonauts Sasha Nein, Milla Vodello and Coach Oleander. The experience is very calm as each of the characters remains seated through out the demo (sort of). You interact with the environment through the Telekinesis and Pyrokinesis abilities, while changing your perspective by taking over the minds of other characters through clairvoyance. Throughout the demo I was able to burn and throw things all around the three dimensional environment and even terrorize a nesting squirrel.
Fans of the series will immediately notice the distinct difference between the gameplay of Rhombus of Ruin and the that of the original title. Thematically, there are a lot of similarities, but the VR adventure game is intended to be a completely different type of experience when it comes to gameplay. The game is played entirely sitting down and in doing so, captures spacial movement incredibly well. Players may not be able to get up and move, but they can turn around, or lean to look around something or to glance out of windows. All of which combines to generate one of the better VR experiences for people to try without fear of getting dizzy or queasy.
The overall narrative is basically Raz and the crew making their way to the Psychonaut headquarters. In the air, they learn of the kidnapping of Truman Zanotto (Lili’s father and head of the Psychonaut organization) via a message he left waiting for Lili, warning her to stay away. After they decide to ignore the ominous message, the plane is attacked and crash lands, bringing the end of my experience with the demo.
However brief the demo may be, the design and art style of the original Psychonauts title is in full effect through the high powered PlayStation 4. Thanks to the non-photorealistic art, the PSVR renders the environment at a stable frame rate, all the while keeping gameplay as smooth as possible.
In the end, the one aspect that stood out the most in Rhombus of Ruin, was the writing. Tim Schafer has returned with his creative wit as the pre-recorded content that permeates the interactive experience is not only hilarious but weaves itself in and out of each of the present characters in a way the heavily teases the upcoming sequel.
While Psychonauts 2 is still a ways off in development, Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin delivers justice to gamers who have been waiting 12 years for even the slightest hint of Raz’s return. Fans of the series will definitely enjoy what the Double Fine team have put together as they also experience the world in a way only virtual reality can deliver.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.