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Psychonauts 2: 9 tips and tricks for combat

Combat in Psychonauts 2 plays out much faster than it did in its predecessor. Within minutes, you’ll have access to multiple skills, dozens of enemies bombard the screen, and you’ll need to stay on your toes in order to make it out unscathed.

Despite some radical changes, combat in Psychonauts 2 never becomes overtly difficult — however, newcomers might need a bit of assistance to wrap their brains around its intricacies. If you’re getting booted out of brains more often than you’d like, here are a few pointers to help master the combat in Psychonauts 2.

Further reading

Purchase Pins

Psychonauts 2 Otto Matic Pin screen.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Otto Matic at the Motherlobe has a bunch of cool features, but purchasing Pins is arguably the most important. These items grant you unique perks — such as dealing more damage with melee attacks, the ability to hold enemies in place with Mental Connection, or the option to use the ground as an unlimited source of Telekinetic ammo.

Many of these are locked behind specific level and psitanium requirements, but make sure you swing by after each mission to see if there’s anything that catches your eye.

Purchase Psi Pops and Dream Fluff

If you’re having trouble with the combat in Psychonauts 2, the quickest fix is purchasing a Psi Pop or Dream Fluff from the always-helpful Otto Matic. These consumable items restore a portion of your Mental Energy — essentially providing you with a larger health bar. They cost a good wad of psitanium, but for anyone struggling with Psychonauts 2, they’re a worthwhile investment.

Dodging is key

Combat is a bit more difficult compared to the original Psychonauts, and you’ll need to make liberal use of your Dodge button if you’re hoping to survive. Whether you’re facing a dozen Censors or a single overpowered boss, the easiest way to cut a fight short is by forgetting to dodge. Most of your opponents do a great job of signaling their attacks beforehand — so just keep your eyes peeled for any strange movements and prepare to roll out of the way.

Don’t stop moving

Raz runs through a colorful mental palace in Psychonauts 2.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you’re not dodging attacks, you should at least be moving around the battlefield. Razputin isn’t quite as nimble as Batman, but combat still requires you to juggle multiple enemies at once. Whether you’re Psi Blasting targets out of the air or bouncing from Censors to Bad Ideas, make sure you’re not standing around waiting for the bad guys to make the first move.

Upgrade your skills

This one is a no-brainer — but head over to your pause screen every so often to upgrade your skills. Not only does this make some of your moves more powerful, but it’s also possible you’ll unlock combos and movesets not previously available. If combat seems a bit too difficult, there’s a good chance you have a bunch of unused Intern Credits sitting in your pocket.

Newcomers will benefit the most from upgrading their melee and Psi Blast skills, as these are the two skills you’ll be relying on the most throughout the early hours of Psychonauts 2. Clairvoyance, meanwhile, is a perfectly fine skill to ignore until you reach the endgame — it has plenty of practical uses but isn’t very powerful in most combat situations.

Figure out each enemy’s weakness

Most enemies are susceptible to all your skills and abilities, but some are more effective than others. Bad Ideas, for example, are easy to defeat by using Mental Connection to pull them toward you and hammer away with melee attacks. Doubts, on the other hand, can be removed using Pyrokinesis.

There are a variety of foes you’ll stumble upon in other people’s brains — so take the time to test all your abilities on them and figure out which is the most effective.

Make liberal use of all your abilities

Raz hits an enemy with a giant hand in Psychonauts 2.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Figuring out an enemy’s weakness is just one reason you’ll want to spam all your abilities in combat. The other reason is a bit more pragmatic — most skills can only be used a few times before they need to recharge. Instead of sitting around waiting for that to happen, it’s in your best interest to continue dealing damage with one of your other skills.

A good skill rotation for most early battles is:

  • Use Psi Blast until it’s depleted.
  • Pull in enemies with Mental Connection.
  • Use melee attacks and Pyrokinesis.
  • Dodge away and repeat.

As you unlock more skills, you can pepper them into the above sequence, but that basic cycle should cover you for the first five hours of Psychonauts 2 until things become more difficult.

Find Half-A-Minds to increase your health

Raz near a brain in Psychonauts 2.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Half-A-Minds are some of the rarest collectibles in Psychonauts 2. Only a few are located in each brain you’ll visit — and you’ll need to scour every fold and wrinkle in order to find them. If you manage to collect two of them, your Mental Energy will grow by “a whole brain.”

In other words, Half-A-Brains increase your available HP pool. If you’re having trouble with combat, run through previous locations using the Collective Unconscious and try to pick up a few of these valuable items.

Pick up Mental Energy orbs

One of the easiest ways to keep yourself alive during combat is to pick up Mental Energy orbs. These can be found by destroying items in your surroundings and are easy to spot by their glowing green aura. Picking these up will immediately refill a portion of your health. Anyone who doesn’t have a Psi Pop or Dream Fluff on hand will want to be on the constant lookout for these drops, as they’ll be the only surefire way to restore health during tense battles.

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Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
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