I’ve been exhausted after this weekend of DIY (because I’m such a pampered desk-jockey most of the time), so when I haven’t been fixing the odd bug in Ogre, I’ve been unwinding with Psychonauts. I’ve cleared a couple more ‘minds’, and although they all have their own unique style, the Milkman Conspiracy is definitely one of the more memorable. I won’t give anything significant away, but you enter the mind of ‘Boyd’, avid conspiracy theorist, oftentimes guard, and general fruit cake. Just standing next to him listening to him ranting about who is the puppet-master of whom is funny in itself, but his mind is completely bonkers.
A suburban town, hideously twisted around in shape (looking up you can see a house ‘upside down’ from your perspective because the road twists all the way over, very confusing), which once again ties in perfectly with the with the convoluted intertwining plot threads that are no doubt saturating Boyd’s mind. People peep out of windows, hidden cameras pop out of everywhere (as Boyd says - ‘they are watching, everywhere’), and ‘agents’ make a hilarious attempt to blend in as everyday citizens. All the while they try to wring out of you who the Milkman is, a legendary figure that Boyd is obsessed with, and whose ‘true purpose’ (and location) is being kept secret.
The next most interesting mind, which I’m in at the moment, is that of a Spanish artist obsessed with bullfighting - the art direction on this level is astounding, it’s style is lots of deep black and highly saturated highlight colours, all very stylistic. Very impressive - the psychic nature of this game means they can play with art styles that any other game would have trouble justifying due to the problem of maintaining consistency and suspension-of-disbelief. But the nature of entering completely abstract spaces moulded around some disturbed minds means they can really let their imagination run riot. Every mind in Psychonauts is very individual, and does a great job of keeping things interesting whilst being very consistent (with the mind at hand) at the same time.
I think I only have a couple of minds after this one to do, now; it’s not a particularly long game, but that’s not what matters, especially to me since I have no time for 40+ hour epics anymore. What you do with those hours is what matters, and Psychonauts has been constantly entertaining and eye-opening so far; it’s a game that goes out on a limb, if not in terms of the play mechanics (it’s a 3D platformer when you peel away everything else), but certainly in terms of the content and style.