Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin: Once! Lily! Sasha! Milla! How many years, friends! Returning to the world of “Psychonauts” is like a meeting of classmates, only one where you are sincerely concerned about the fate of all those present, and in twelve years they have not aged at all and have not lost their former charisma. Like any alumni reunion, Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin only briefly resurrects its former magic, but in this case, more is not required: after all, we have already agreed with Double Fine on a full-fledged reunion of old friends.
Fun fact: even though the original game ended with a powerful Back to the Future cliffhanger, Tim Schafer never intended to tell the story of rescuing Lily’s father and psychonaut chief Truman Zanotto. It was supposed to be something along the lines of: “Wow, what a cool adventure it turned out to be – it’s a pity that no one will see it!” should be one of the first jokes of the sequel. Well, now the situation has changed a bit: only a select few people, endowed with a rare gift, the PlayStation VR helmet lying at arm’s length, will be able to see this adventure.
Is the passage of Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin important for those who care about the history of the series? Strange thing: if you do not visit the Rhombus of the wreck, you are unlikely to notice that you have missed something important. Didn’t you feel like something was missing in the original game? However, the first official mission of Raz not only creates a thin, barely noticeable bridge between the main parts, but also pays due attention to at least one character, for whose full disclosure Double Fine once did not have enough time, or resources, or desires. As a result, Rhombus of Ruin begins to feel like an inadvertently lost part of the first game that we finally got back – one that did not spoil the impressions of the original, but with the advent of which the picture gained its proper integrity.
Except that the gameplay of this lost episode is radically different from anything we’ve seen in Psychonauts before… but that could be said about every second world of that game. It’s just that now they give you to look at what is happening exclusively from the eyes of the characters, you can’t move at all, and numerous psi-abilities force you to return one at a time.
Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin is basically a quest. You get on the screen, look around, find active points and objects, compare what you see with other currently available screens, and start solving the task, usually associated with awakening one of your colleagues in the shop. And how you will deal with problems (by the power of your mind or boorish enumeration of possibilities) is solely your business. Is it worth it to understand in advance that Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin is a quest that is painfully easy, perhaps inferior in complexity even to the first act of Broken Age? The developers at Double Fine wisely decided that any puzzle becomes more difficult in VR, but in the end, they overdid it with compensation, and they ended up with a simple, linear, and short game that can brighten up only one,
The duration of the communication and the obvious economy of development do not help. Calling the game “low-budget” language will not turn – the VR version of Psychonauts looks exactly as it should. But if the original game was filled to capacity with optional content and features (burn the squirrels!), then in Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin there are offensively few active zones and objects that are not involved in puzzles (the exception is the introductory scene on the plane).
Still, Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin is a success both as Double Fine’s first VR game and as a news story in the world of Psychonauts. The main thing is not to overestimate your expectations and put on a Sony VR helmet for a fun, exciting, and long-awaited adventure with your favorite characters, and not for a gameplay revolution, for which you need to urgently run to the store for PlayStation VR.