Thursday, May 19, 2016

Psychonuats - 10/20 hours

Ten hours in and I'm still on the fence about this game. On the one hand, its visual inventiveness and snappy writing are a joy to behold. On the other hand, it's started doing the one thing I absolutely cannot stand - put me in a position where I don't know what to do next.

It's not really a matter of puzzles. I get that they're supposed to make you stop and think for awhile, but rather it's little things. Like getting an item you need to climb a telephone pole and then wandering around lost for a quarter of an hour because there are actually two special telephone poles in the level and the one that's in the main part of the map leads to a dead end (whereas the one you need to advance is tucked in the corner of an offshoot of the map). Or getting stuck behind a locked door because the game, for the first and only time, decides to have a locked door be keypad-activated. Or having a gate unlock by stealing the feather from a crow and then using your clairvoyance power on it to see from the crow's perspective as it flies overhead (how I would have figured that out without a guide, I can't even begin to speculate).

Which is to say, I really hated the "Milkman's Conspiracy" level. It's a shame because the level after it was pretty good (if slightly too obscure) and all the levels prior were their own kind of delightful (I especially loved Lungfishopolis, which cast you in the role of a kaiju terrorizing a city of lungfish).

In the grand scheme of things, though, one dud level doesn't mean anything. Psychonauts is bursting with creativity and its storytelling is pitch-perfect. I really just want to delve deeper and deeper into its world. If that means enduring the occasional overly-frustrating puzzle or poorly-explained one-off mechanic, then so be it.

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