Underrated Games

Why Psychonauts is one of the Most Underrated games of All Time

After writing about my love for Bioshock a few months ago, I’ve decided it’s time to revisit the old nostalgia train and talk about another game I adore. This time, things are going to get a little bit strange, as I explain why Psychonauts is one of the most underrated games of all time.


Psychonauts is a 2005 platforming adventure game created by ex-LucasArts employee Tim Schafer, who also is the founder of the studio that made it, Double Fine productions. The plot centres around the goings on at the Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp. This is a camp for young psychic children and run by camp counsellors who are trained psychic agents called Psychonauts. The story follows Raz, a young psychic who runs away from his family of psychic haters to join the camp. But, over the night he is there, sudden mysterious happenings begin to occur at the camp. Children are going missing and then later being returned with their brains entirely removed. It comes down to Raz to save the kids at the camp and figure out the mystery of who is taking them, and for what nefarious brain-related purpose.


One of the biggest stand outs for me in Psychonauts has to be the world building. Despite the fact it takes place really in only two major hubs, the world building in this game is incredibly rich. The story of the Psychonauts themselves, how they came to be and what they do for this world is super interesting. On top of that, there is a lot of hints to the world beyond the camp, and it really feels like a small part of a far greater universe.

The major location of the summer camp though also feels really fleshed out. The other campers there really feel like they belong there, and the environment has this incredibly cosy, fun vibe to it that I imagine reflects what a real summer camp is like. On top of the camp itself, all the various levels that take place in character’s minds are just so incredible and unique.

source: GOG.com


For me, the next area in which Psychonauts excels, is in its character development. Almost every character in the game has an incredibly interesting backstory, from Raz himself, to even some of the campers you hardly even interact with. Each of the mindscapes you enter also helps this further, with each of them allowing a unique perspective on the person’s mental state that you might never have known prior. On top of this, Psychonauts in my opinion has some of the most unique characters in any game. From a damaged milk man who throws Molotov cocktails, to a girl who is half squirrel and wears a space helmet. The creativity in this game is second to none, and it certainly shows in the characterisation of the campers and other characters.

source: Psychonauts Wiki


I’ve always felt plot and gameplay should go hand in hand. I can deal with poor gameplay if the plot is amazing – but I can’t deal with the other way around. Despite that though, I do actually think the gameplay of Psychonauts is it’s crowning glory. The plot, while good, is relatively simple and it’s in its characters and world building that is gets elevated. The gameplay of Psychonauts is firstly, incredibly versatile. Raz has access to a variety of psychic powers and abilities, that you can often utilize in whichever way suits you. We’re talking pyrokinesis, levitation, telekinesis, and a plethora more.  On top of that, Raz is a trained circus performer, so you spend a lot of the game flipping, jumping and scaling all sorts of things.

But, despite that, the platforming elements are incredibly generous if you are also like me, horrific at platformers. On top of the main quest, there are also some fetch quest elements to the gameplay if you’re a bit of a collector too. This includes a scavenger hunt quest and collecting ‘figments’ or ‘cobwebs’ from inside people’s minds. These are entirely optional too, which is great for gamers who aren’t a fan of that side of thing too.

source: Destructoid


I replay Psychonauts at least once a year and it honestly never gets old. It makes me truly sad that it didn’t get as much love and attention as it deserved at the time. Luckily, with the release of the long-awaited sequel in 2021, a lot more eyes are finally on this game. If you want a game that is tons of fun to play, and also possesses the ability to really stick in your head long after the credits roll, Tim Schafer’s Psychonauts, is most certainly the game for you.

But before you run off to check it out, why not read my previous gaming dedication  post to Bioshock right here, or check out some of our other content over on our YouTube Channel.


Appreciator of fantasy novels, RPG games, cats and good tea.

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