Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin

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Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin
Developer(s) Double Fine Productions
Publisher(s) Double Fine Productions
Producer(s) Andy Alamano
Malena Annable
Micheal Tucker
Programmer(s) Aaron Jacobs
Brian Anderle
Duncan Boehle
Evan Williams
Matt Enright
Silvio César Lizana Terra
Writer(s) Tim Schafer
Composer(s) Peter McConnell
Series Psychonauts
Engine Unreal Engine 4
Platform(s) PlayStation 4
Microsoft Windows
Release
  • PlayStation 4
  • February 21, 2017
  • Microsoft Windows
  • April 19, 2018
Genre(s) Puzzle, adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin is a first-person virtual reality adventure game developed by Double Fine Productions on the PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Released in 2017 on PS4, the game's story bridges the events between Psychonauts and Psychonauts 2.

Gameplay[edit]

Unlike the original Psychonauts, Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin is not a 3D platformer, but instead a first-person puzzle-focused game similar to a point-and-click adventure. As Raz, the player always remains in a seated position, and may interact with characters and objects in the world using his psychic powers such as telekinesis and pyrokinesis.[1] While many VR games have utilized a "blink teleportation" mechanic to allow players to travel in the virtual world, Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin instead requires the player to use Raz's clairvoyance ability to see the world from the perspectives of the other characters in the scene (who also remain seated throughout). These mechanics are used to solve puzzles to gain information and trigger events which further the plot and advance the game.[2][3]

Plot[edit]

At the end of Psychonauts Raz is recognized as a talented PSI Cadet and is asked to join his tutors as a fully fledged Psychonaut. But as Raz prepares to go home from camp with his father, news arrives that Lili's father, the Grand Head of the Psychonauts Truman Zanotto, has been kidnapped. The team, Raz and Lili included, fly off in the Psychonauts' jet to rescue him. Using his Clairvoyance ability, Raz discovers Zanotto is being held in the Rhombus of Ruin (a play on the Bermuda Triangle). The team travels into the Rhombus of Ruin, but the jet crashes before they can act.

Raz awakens tied to a chair in the chamber Zanotto is being kept. Using his psychic abilities to explore the junk filled ocean, Raz finds Sasha, Milla, Lili and Oleander trapped in hallucinations due to a Psylirium deposit below them. After freeing his team from their hallucinations, Raz is pulled back into the chamber by Dr. Loboto, the insane ex-dentist from the first game, and Zanotto's kidnapper. By using a Psycho-Portal given to him by Oleander, Raz enters Loboto's mind. There he fights a gigantic version of Loboto and enters his memories, where Raz learns Loboto was once a psychic himself, and his parents disapproved of his abilities and had him sent to Thorney Towers.

After Raz exits Loboto's mind, Loboto seems to have a change of heart, but instead leaves Raz and the others and floods the base. They escape from the base with Zanotto, and the game ends with Lili telling her father about their adventures, and him shouting in disbelief that Raz is her boyfriend.

Development[edit]

The concept for Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin came about during the lead-up to the crowd-sourcing campaign for Psychonauts 2. According to Double Fine's CEO, Tim Schafer, they were looking to see what types of games they could develop with a virtual reality (VR) system, comparing it to the games they had made for the Kinect system earlier. Due to their recent focus on Psychonauts, the team agreed that a VR-based Psychonauts game would be a good fit, allowing the player to become immersed in the odd environments within the Psychonauts universe.[4]

The game was released on February 21, 2017 for PlayStation VR,[5] after approximately a year and a half of development.[6]

A year later, the game was released on PC on April 19, 2018 for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.[7]

Reception[edit]

Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin received average reviews from critics.[8] Reviewers praised the unique gameplay mechanics and their integration into the story, as well as the continued expansion of the Psychonauts universe. Criticism was directed at the game's short length, limited replay value, and abrupt ending.

The game was nominated for "Best VR Experience" in IGN's Best of 2017 Awards,[9] and for "Immersive Reality Game of the Year" at the 21st Annual D.I.C.E. Awards.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dave Tach (June 16, 2016). "Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin is a fresh take on VR and pillows as toilet paper". Polygon. 
  2. ^ Scott Butterworth (June 6, 2016). "E3 2016: How Psychonauts VR Will Give You Psychic Powers". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. 
  3. ^ DoubleFineProd (YouTube channel) (June 14, 2016). "Double Fine's "Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin" - Pre-Alpha Gameplay". YouTube. 
  4. ^ Andrew Webster (December 9, 2015). "Tim Schafer on the return of a cult classic: 'Soon all games will be Psychonauts'". The Verge. Retrieved December 9, 2015. 
  5. ^ Liz Finnegan (February 22, 2017). "Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin Release Accompanied by Documentary". The Escapist. Retrieved February 22, 2017. 
  6. ^ Alex Wawro (February 21, 2017). "Making Psychonauts humor work in VR -- without making people sick". Gamasutra. Retrieved February 22, 2017. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ "Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 10, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Best of 2017 Awards: Best VR Experience". IGN. Ziff Davis. December 20, 2017. Retrieved January 26, 2018. 
  10. ^ Eddie Makuch (January 14, 2018). "Game Of The Year Nominees Announced For DICE Awards". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 26, 2018. 

External links[edit]