Psychonauts In the Rhombus of Ruin – Review

The Rhombus of Ruin is an album by The Rhombus of Ruin, a band that, according to the artist’s blog, is a “lunatic-puppet-rock-musical-person ensemble”. If that doesn’t ring a bell, I’m sure today’s review will. This is the kind of music I can happily listen to for hours on end, and I think it would be of great interest to a great many people. The band’s members are incredibly talented, each working in particular areas of composition and performance.

Metalbits is a relatively new blog that focuses primarily on the latest developments in the computer industry, especially in the world of mobile devices. We hope to cover topics that range from the most newsworthy to the most trivial, as well as our own personal picks for the next must-have gadget.

Everyone who has played Psychonauts has a unique interaction with the game. It is easy to lose one’s track in the twinkling lights of Carnival, the rousing music of the Zephyr’s theme, and the colorful, surrealism of the Rhombus of Ruin.

I completed the first two levels of the game Psychonauts in VR, created and distributed by Double Fine Productions, last week. This is a first-person point-and-click adventure game utilizing the Oculus Rift VR device. The game is a sequel to Double Fine’s Psychonauts, a PlayStation 2 game of the same name.

Sony’s PlayStation VR may have been a letdown in terms of availability, but it doesn’t mean the device isn’t worthwhile. Despite the fact that I’ve only had a few hands-on sessions with the device, I’ve been a big admirer of virtual reality since I first experienced the Oculus Rift.

Psychonauts In The Rhombus of Ruin is a psychedelic journey through the brains of characters from the bizarre and hilarious world of psychic spy Scott Mccarthy, the evil company Colorman, and a bunch of youngsters pulled into a world of espionage and deceit in Double Fine Productions’ newest game.

 

Psychonauts In the Rhombus of Ruin takes place between the events of Psychonauts (2005) and the upcoming Psychonauts 2 expected out later this year. With a mobility system that enables you to transfer your mind into other living creatures, In the Rhombus of Ruin, which is exclusively available in VR, breaks from its flatscreen brothers’ 3D platformer genre and harkens back to the early days of point-and-click games.

 

Gameplay

The story picks up where Psychonauts left off, with Raz, Lili, Sasha, Milla, and Coach Oleander flying out to rescue the Grand Head of the Psychonauts, Truman Zannotto. For Raz’s first mission as a genuine member of the super hero team, you’re sent into the heart of the Rhombus of Ruin, an exceedingly enigmatic and dangerous area of the ocean similar to the Bermuda Triangle. With the rescue party’s plane stuck in the Rhombus of Ruin, you’re left with nothing but your psychic abilities to reunite with the rest of the Psychonauts, figure out who the mysterious kidnapper is, and free Truman before the Rhombus’ craziness drives everyone crazy. In a word, it’s the plot of an animated adventure that will likely be released in theaters or shown on Cartoon Network.

Despite the fact that your team has been kidnapped and an unknown adversary has cast a mind-bending spell on them, the game only features one (very minor) combat scenario and primarily concentrates on puzzles. You’ll utilize buttons and levers to explore areas and solve puzzles, as well as some of your other psychic powers including pyrokinesis and a psy-blast, a percussive surge of mental energy, with the ability to transfer your mind to any living thing in sight.

Psychonauts-In-the-Rhombus-of-Ruin-Review

The puzzles range in difficulty from simple (find the code) to a little more difficult (but still quite easy). Much to my dismay, Raz, the protagonist, is spoken, so you’ll always have that helping hand to assist you through each issue. On the one hand, I find this annoying because if you don’t get something right right away, you’ll be forced to listen to an exclamatory (and completely unprompted) piece of repeated dialogue along the lines of “I wonder what would happen if I try this obvious answer.” On the other hand, the voice acting is excellent, taking the edge off what could otherwise be a frustrating nuisance. Finally, I found the challenges to be varied yet too simple to keep my attention.

The Psychonauts series is renowned for its campy comedy, but it’s the sort of corny dad jokes that make you cringe while still making you smile a bit.

ROR-4

While the game’s level design only allows for a straight path through it, it does lead you to a variety of places. After a while, the whole forward push got a little too paint-by-numbers for me, as you teleport from nodes that always appear on time, whether it’s a fish swimming into view or a rat scurrying out of a hiding place just in time. There’s little to no actual exploration to be done since you’re constantly guided by Raz’s kind advice, which is a shame considering how enticing everything seems.

In the end, I felt the 1.5-hour playtime was a little short, particularly given the abrupt ending, which left me feeling a little let down.

Immersion

The beauty of the Psychonauts in Rhombus of Ruin is one of the first things you notice about them. The visual design creates an incredible mood, as if you’ve stepped into a late-90s Saturday morning cartoon.

ROR-8photograph courtesy of

Not just in terms of color and texture, but also in terms of how the characters express themselves, the character design is nothing short of amazing. To that end, I felt the world’s humanoid creatures were a little too near to the uncanny valley, if only because of how realistic they acted while yet seeming odd when seen from the 1:1 immersive viewpoint of a VR headset. You’re just flying from one cartoony animal to the next, or from one diving suit-wearing opponent to the next, so it’s not anything I got worked up over.

ROR-5photograph courtesy of

You don’t have hands since you’re a bodyless, handleless monster that pops into the heads of other people and species. However, you don’t have arms even when you need them, making the experience less immersive than it might be. You utilize telekinesis to interact with the world’s many objects since you don’t have any hands, which works out pretty well.

The constant talking from both Raz and your teammates is my biggest problem with Rhombus of Ruin in terms of immersion, but you’ve already heard me moan about that. Everything about Psychonauts makes me believe it’s targeted for a younger teenage audience, and let’s face it, those kids don’t know when to stop talking, so it’s a lot less damning on the surface than I make it out to be.

Comfort

While gaze-based controls are in keeping with the general concept of psychic abilities, they may be clumsy at times. It’s not always easy to highlight and choose an object or node, and I found myself using my neck for something it wasn’t designed for—as a fine point device, which I know may cause neck discomfort in the long run. Because of the game’s brief length, I didn’t have any issues with my neck tightening up, but if the game were longer, I wouldn’t want to go in for a 2-hour session.

Aside from that, node teleportation is by far one of the most enjoyable ways to travel about a virtual reality game, despite the fact that it has the usual disadvantages of limiting visual consistency and reducing the player’s overall immersion by a few milliseconds.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long is Psychonauts Rhombus of Ruin?

Psychonauts Rhombus of Ruin is a four-hour long game.

Can you play Psychonauts rhombus of ruin without VR?

Yes, you can play Psychonauts without VR.

Where can I play Psychonauts?

Psychonauts is not available on PS4.

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