A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is witty, creative, and at times extremely funny. But its scary-looking, bizarre, and sometimes cruel characters make it inappropriate for younger children. There are also some references to tobacco use and some negative social behaviors that are encouraged by adult characters.
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What's it about?
In PSYCHONAUTS, players take the role of Razputin, or Raz for short -- a not-so-subtle reference to the famous Russian mystic Rasputin. Desperate to become a world-famous Psychonaut agent, Raz runs away from home, which happens to be the circus, and his overbearing father, who doesn't approve of Raz's psychic abilities. Raz escapes to the one place where he can learn how to use his powers and become an international secret psychic agent: Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp.
At the camp, Raz meets many strange and unique characters, each of whom will help him develop his skills as a psychic. However, the longer Raz stays at the camp, the more he realizes something is amiss -- someone or something is attempting to take over the camp, and in the process is stealing his fellow campmate's brains. Raz soon finds himself as the only one who can save the day.
Is it any good?
Psychonauts deserves praise for its original story and interesting character development, along with some engaging puzzles. It is filled with psychological terms: For example, players need to find the luggage tags to pieces of "emotional baggage," or they need to clear out "mental cobwebs" while avoiding "personal demons." But it can be dark and disturbing. This is a good choice for teens (and parents) looking for a change of pace.
The characters, while cartoons, are creepy-looking and usually pretty odd, and the camp bullies are mean and cruel. Adult role models do not always send a positive message: A camp director tells Raz he should use his ability to ignite objects only when it's really important -- or entertaining. Characters soon learn that they can cause all sorts of objects to start on fire, including animals. After igniting a squirrel or seagull, Raz makes distasteful comments like, "You had that coming" or, "See you in hell."
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