To stop what you're doin'
You can't break a date
With the Rhombus of Ruin!
Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin is a 2017 virtual reality look and click Adventure Game developed by Double Fine Productions. The game is a new part of the Psychonauts series, set in between the original 2005 game and 2021's Psychonauts 2. It was released on February 21st, 2017 on PSVR and April 15, 2018 for Steam and Oculus.
It picks up immediately after the first game left off, concerning the kidnapping of Truman Zanotto (Grand Head of the Psychonauts, and Lili's father). Raz, Lili, Sasha, Milla, and Oleander have all hitched a ride inside a jet and manage to track down Truman's location to an underground Abandoned Laboratory. Unfortunately, it lies inside the Rhombus of Ruin- a part of the ocean where many ships and planes have gone missing, due to the humongous deposit of Psilirium, which is known to interfere with technology, at the heart of the Rhombus. After Raz does some initial recon of the area with his Clairvoyance, the jet suddenly malfunctions due to the Psilirium and crashes, scattering everyone around the facility. It's up to Raz to find his friends, save them from their Psylirium poisoning, rescue Truman, and discover who is behind this dastardly plot.
The gameplay is very different from the original. Instead of a platformer, Rhombus of Ruin is a first-person puzzle look-and-click revolving around the Clairvoyance ability, which allows Raz to see through the eyes of whoever he is using the ability on. Raz must use this to solve puzzles and navigate his way through the facility.
This game provides examples of:
- Abandoned Laboratory: The Psychonauts facility in the Rhombus of Ruin has been abandoned for years.
- A God Am I: Using Clairvoyance on a whale immediately goes to Raz's head, as he immediately starts comparing himself to Poseidon.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Lili used to view her father as this, as he would use the camp's jet to come and visit her until she told him to stop.
- Art Shift: Loboto's memories of his mother and father are depicted in a choppy style reminiscent of stop-motion animation.
- Ascended Fanboy: Raz goes from reading about the Psychonauts in True Psychic Tales magazine to rescuing the organization's head.
- Astral Projection: Raz spends most of the game projecting his mind out into others as he strapped down.
- The Bermuda Triangle: The eponymous Rhombus is a pastiche on the legend. Here it's a cover story by the Psychonauts organization but it does have dangerous trapping properties because of a massive Psyrillium deposit that clouds the minds of anyone unprotected that comes near. Somehow even land vehicles such as a train and school bus ended up there as well.
- Big Bad: Doctor Loboto, who has apparently survived his fall from the previous game.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: It appears as though Dr. Loboto has this. After restoring his moral compass, his first act in the real world is to blow up the base everyone is in.
- Book and Switch: One of the Fish People can be seen reading a comic book, and not an instruction manual when using Clairvoyance.
- Body Horror: Burning through the giant monstrous Loboto's shower-cap reveals that his brain is exposed!
- Body Surf: Downplayed with general gameplay being Raz successively switching POV using clairvoyance on line-of-sight targets and channeling his other psychic powers through them.
- Bus Full of Innocents: Milla's Psilirium hallucination involves thinking she's on a bus full of orphans that's stalled on the train tracks, and she has to use her telekinesis to stop the train from running them over.
- The Cameo: Some characters who do not make an appearance in this game (Dogen, Bobby, Linda, Ford, and a Censor) make it into the game as figments viewable from the main menu.
- Chekhov's Gun: Crab Sandwiches (a live crab between two slices of bread) are advertised on the back of comic books, and come into play later as food for a hungry guard.
- Continuity Nod: Raz mentions at one point that he has experience with sorting baggage, though at least these bags aren't crying. He also names a bull Edgar, after a bull-obsessed painter from the first game.
- Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: The song that snaps Milla out of her trance, which in this case is heard on a radio, is the same song which plays in the level Milla's Dance Party in the previous game.
- Dragon Ascendant: Doctor Loboto goes from an Evil Genius working for Oleander to a Big Bad in his own right, who was hired by an unknown individual.
- Fake Band: All Paul, a mermaid-themed boy band whose three members all have the same first name. Oleander is seen singing along to one of their songs in the remnant of their stage which apparently fell into the Rhombus of Ruin. When Raz pulls back the curtain behind their stage, he finds the band members' remains, which are just skeletons in mermaid tails.
- Family Eye Resemblance: Loboto apparently got his mismatched eye colors from his mom, who had red eyes, and his dad, who had green.
- Fantastic Racism: Loboto's parents found out that he was born a psychic, and had him lobotomized as a result.
- First Contact: According to Milla, Sasha's obsession is aliens, and he hopes to use psychic powers to encounter them. When under Psylirium poisoning, he hallucinates that the Fish People are aliens.
- Flying Saucer: You can find Sasha Nein in a replica UFO under analysis by the antagonist's minions, convinced that he is talking to aliens while under Psilirium poisoning. When Raz manages to snap him out of it, he reveals that the "spaceship" is actually a cheap reproduction of a spaceship used to confuse and panic foreign countries during the Nuclear Arms-Race, and the ocean floor is apparently full of them.
- Oleander's Psylirium poisoning being unaffected by the loud dance music isn't due to "a mental-echo chamber for the Psylirium waves". He's just Not Brainwashed.
- The Underwater Base is populated by Fish People, and contains dentist chairs that prisoners are strapped to. Both of these tie into The Dragon of the previous game, Doctor Loboto.
- Genre Shift: The original Psychonauts was a collect-a-thon action-driven 3D platformer. This new game is a first-person adventure experience involving interacting with items and solving puzzles to advance the story, and the player is stationary, and granted the ability to move between the perspectives of characters to see the environment.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Someone wanted Truman Zanotto kidnapped, as well as Raz's brain, but their identity is never revealed. The second game reveals it was Gristol Malik, who hired Loboto to remove Truman's brain and replace it with his own.
- Harmless Freezing: a crab is frozen solid in a freezer, but seems no worse for the wear once thawed out.
- Homage: The plane crash transitions into an opening credits sequence that would not be out of place in a James Bond film. It is accompanied by a music piece that also sounds like one of its title tunes. The visuals are clearly riffing off of Skyfall, while the music sounds quite a lot like "You Know My Name" from Casino Royale (2006). In addition, the villain's lair is an Underwater Base, much like in The Spy Who Loved Me and GoldenEye.
- HeelFace Turn: Subverted. Raz returns Loboto's moral compass in his mind and offers a chance to make up for his actions, and Loboto seems to take it, telling his minions to release the prisoners and bring them to his location... Only to immediately activate the self-destruct and abandon ship.
- Immobile Player Character: Raz spends the whole game tied up in the villain's secret lair, and must use Clairvoyance to hop from mind-to-mind in order to find his friends and save the day.
- It's Up to You: Despite the presence of three qualified Psychonauts (and Lili, who might as well be one), it's up to Raz to save the day. Justified by his training, which makes it harder for him to be affected by the Psilirium than the others.
- Immediate Sequel: Happens moments after the cliffhanger ending of Psychonauts.
- Interquel: It's basically Psychonauts 1.5, as far as canon goes. Psychonauts 2's story starts immediately after the credits.
- Kryptonite Factor: Psilirium, a rare yellow rock similar to Psitanium that is disorienting for psychics.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: The Psilirium causes this effect on the other Psychonauts - Milla sees herself trapped on a bus full of orphans with a train heading their way, Lili sees herself in a flower garden, and Sasha sees himself making first contact with extraterrestrials.
- Meet the In-Laws: Part of the ending when much to Truman's surprise, Lili introduced him to Raz as her boyfriend.
- Musical Nod: The level theme from Milla's mind in Psychonauts is heard at one point when breaking her out of her Psylirium-induced hallucination.
- Musical Trigger: Raz snaps the rest of the group (except Coach Oleander, who really was having an impromptu concert) out of Psilirium-induced hallucinations by playing familiar music to them on nearby objects.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: Raz repeatedly has to remind himself to include Coach Oleander in his list of people to rescue.
- Not Brainwashed: Oleander isn't under the influence of Psirilium, he just has Skewed Priorities and is in a lavish holding area.
- Oh, Crap!: Oleander comes to a horrible realization when Raz fills him in on the situation and realizes who the only person who can be behind genetically engineered fishmen is. Unfortunately, his warning comes too late to save Raz from a face to face encounter with Dr. Loboto.
- Psychic Block Defense: Raz's Training from Hell gives him the ability to resist Psilirium better than others. Oleander, being the provider of said training, has the same resistance.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Truman's captors seem to be this, as they use technology similar to see-and-say toys and hide comic books inside of textbooks.
- Redemption Rejection: Subverted. Raz returns Loboto's moral compass in his mind and offers a chance to make up for his misdeeds. Loboto seems to take it, telling his minions to release the prisoners and bring them to his location... only to immediately activate the self-destruct and abandon ship. However, this is shown to be less out of malice and more out of insanity, since Loboto tells the Psychonauts repeatedly to escape.
- Sequel Hook: Multiple, as this was meant to help set up for the events of Psychonauts 2:
- The mysterious mastermind Loboto mentioned hired him to kidnap Truman and try to steal Raz's brain, adding to Augustus' claim about the Aquatos having many enemies.
- Raz's new relationship with Lili, daughter of the Psychonauts' Leader, who Raz now works for, is bound to make things somewhat awkward.
- Raz is heading to the Motherlobe, the headquarters of the Psychonauts, the setting of Psychonauts 2.
- In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment at the tail end of the game, Loboto's claw pokes out from one of the overhead compartments in the jet, revealing that he's a stowaway, and will more than likely show up again in the next game. And he does... because he was quickly captured and is being interrogated by Raz and company.
- Ship Tease: As the plane is about to crash, Sasha says he has something to tell Milla... and they're seen grasping for each other's hands during the opening credits.
- Sympathy for the Devil: After learning about Loboto's past, Raz feels sympathy for what he went through as a child.
- A Taste of Power: Raz has full access to his psychic powers in the tutorial, but starting with when he projects himself into Truman Zanotto's mind he can only use Psi-Poke and Clairvoyance, due to the Psilirium dampening his powers. To get full use of his abilities back, Raz has to save his team-mates so they can lend him their psychic energy.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: Clairvoyance lets Raz do this. The ending reveals that playing as him also counts as no one else can see the water curse that supposedly haunts him.
- Tragic Villain: According to his memories, Loboto's parents didn't love him because he was born with psychic powers. His madness is the result of a botched lobotomy his parents made him take as a child to remove his psychic abilities.
- Underwater Base: Truman Zanotto is being held captive in an underwater lair, where the Psychonauts' jet crash-lands after the very first level of the game.
- Unreliable Narrator: We get backstory on Doctor Loboto once entering his head, but how much of it is accurate is unclear.
- Upper-Class Twit: Implied with Loboto's parents. They're clearly upper-class due to his father's job as a doctor, and are highly prejudiced against Psychics (to the point of lobotomizing their son to get rid of his psychic abilities). The one positive memory Loboto has of them as a baby even proves that they're classist, as Loboto's mother jokes that he might become a dentist when he grows up, which his father responds with snooty laughter and a "God forbid."
- Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Loboto escapes the facility after activating the self-destruct.
- Wham Shot: When Raz finally puts it all together in Loboto's mind, the stuffed toys in the memory crib all have square holes suddenly open up in their heads, exposing their stuffing "brains".
- Worldbuilding: Part of the game is helping to build and expand the world of Psychonauts.