Over the years, Double Fine’s Psychonauts has grown into something of a cult classic. It didn’t set the tills alight, but after years of clamouring for a sequel from its fans, Psychonauts 2 was announced and crowdfunded. At the same time Double Fine announced a game for PlayStation VR to bridge the gap between the end of the first game and the start of its sequel.
Rhombus of Ruin opens as you peer our through Raz’s eyes, embodying the game’s protagonist as he is shaken awake on the Psychonauts jet. You’re searching for Truman Zanotto, Grand Head of the Psychonauts, with Lili Zanotto, Truman’s daughter, agent Milla Vodella, agent Sasha Nein, and Coach Oleander along for the ride.
The first 10 minutes or so are heavily focused on getting used to Raz’s powers, which include telekinesis, pyrokinesis, poke, clairvoyance, and PSIblast. Each one of these powers is mapped to a button on the DualShock controller, but aimed via head tracking. Occasionally, it felt just a little bit off when trying to focus on targets.
The search takes a turn for the worse though, and you soon find yourself in the eponymous Rhombus of Ruin, a location that is inspired by the Bermuda Triangle. Though it would have been great to wander around and explore the area, you are confined to specific points. You begin in Raz’s mind but can jump into different bodies that are in the area using clairvoyance. All of these people stay in their spots and you need to use their points of view to look for solutions to the puzzles blocking your progress.
While Rhombus Of Ruin is a VR title it draws on Double Fine’s more traditional point and click adventure games when it comes to the gameplay. Instead of picking up items and putting them in an inventory, you find codes to open up areas or move one item towards another using telekinesis so they react together. Telekinesis is probably the power that takes the most getting used to, as you hold the left trigger to hold an item and then use head movement to move it around while the right analog stick changes its orientation. The rest of the powers simply rely on looking at the target and pressing a button.
Some puzzles will require you to use pyrokinesis to burn away obstacles while others need PSIblast to hit things out of reach. Poking things isn’t really used much, unless you really want to hear Raz’s thoughts on the thing he’s hitting with his mind. The majority of puzzles are very simple to get past, with one section focused on Sasha being the most challenging. Due to how few interactive items there are in the environment the solutions aren’t hard to discover.
There’s a lot to be said for the production values of Rhombus of Ruin, with the game easily being one one of the best looking on PSVR. Every environment is well rendered with eye catching points of view, and the character models could not be better. The voice acting is fantastic too, as well as the music that has been composed for the game. The opening credits in particular feel like an homage to classic James Bond movies, from the song to the way the art has been designed. Through all of this, the script is nice and humorous, with quite a few lines bringing a smile to my face.
However, it’s a short experience with my playthrough clocking in at just under two hours, and there isn’t any replay value unless you want to 100% the trophies. Each puzzle only has one solution, so once you know what it is the challenge aspect of the game is lost. There’s a sense that lot more could have been explored in the game, especially with the mystery of the Rhombus itself, which could have stretched the game out for a few more hours. As this is intended to act as a bridge between Psychonauts and its sequel, Double Fine could be saving that thread for the sequel.
Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin is a really good crack at a VR title by Double Fine. The characters will feel familiar to those who have played Psychonauts, but those new to the series will not feel too lost when following the story. However it is a short title that feels like it could have done a lot more with its intriguing setting, and while the tracking was on point most of the time there were moments where it could have been better. Rhombus Of Ruin is a fun experience and provides one of the best produced PSVR titles so far, but it ends a bit too soon.
Tested using PSVR on standard PS4.