Map Review of psyko

Map review of Psyko

by dunkelschwamm | November 20, 2022 | 4504 characters

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Psyko is a psychedelic map for Sven Co-op. It is a contest-winning Sven Co-op 5 official map. Is all this prestige deserved? Let's talk about it!

First off, the gameflow is like this: you begin in a square hub area. On each wall is two doors, as well as two hatches on the floor. These doors open to worlds themed after their corresponding color, and after facing some trials you collect the door's symbol. Collecting the symbol unlocks the next door until every symbol is unlocked and the players proceed to the final arena and win the map.

Combat happens in segmented chambers, often involving wave spawners to wait out. Players use shotguns and desert eagles to fight xen aliens and strange slime enemies (each with charming color-coordination and naming devices). Rooms range from pitting players against some houndeyes and headcrabs to more advanced battles against many alien grunts or alien controllers. I commend the map on its creative use of stuka bats and the final boss (no spoilers, no worries), as I feel they are often underutilized in the rest of the mapping scene- or at least not utilized to the same effect that they are here. Overall, though, I think there were only a couple battles I found particularly challenging (playing with 2 players). When we'd collect the door's symbol, it'd drop enemies behind us, and we'd often die, but more because respawning was the fast-track back to where we needed to be. Maybe it's just because I kept gobbling up HEV, maybe it's just because I've been playing so much of this game, but combat was a bit lackluster until the end- where I admit the final battle was quite decent.

The map isn't all about combat, though. There are a few puzzles as well- the pink area requires herding some manipulatable brushes in the shape of pigs into containers to continue, and one ice level requires matching up shapes on either side of a window (a great 2-person team activity) before continue. There's also a couple jumping bits- jumping on platforms over lethal liquid, or ascending platforms.

The point is, the map is a smorgasbord of playstyles. It's like LemonSoda took every idea or gimmick they could think of and executed it as simply and cleanly as possible. I think this is a really fantastic approach and works out- if there's any bit you're not a fan of, it doesn't really stick around long enough to be a bother. There's something here for everybody, and on top of that a lot of it plays more into co-op in creative ways than other maps.

The presentation is also very memorable. Most of the map shares majorly black floors/ceilings combined with colored walls (or the opposite), and those walls are the color of their area's theme. Areas without a theme (like the hub) are a spectacle of the chromatic spectrum. The textures are very simple, but the way they're applied to the expressive brushwork does a lot of favors. On top of that, the brushwork is pretty simple and minimalist even when portraying a giant pig vomiting enemies, or the inside of a giant pumpkin. There's also some little music boxes which can play upbeat background music, but it gives things kind of a childrens' funhouse feel that I think pairs poorly with the bloodshed and violence. That said, there's some really fun cutscenes that I think greatly enhance the map's memorability as well.

Overall, I think this map lives up to the hype for the most part. If you're easily bored by easily firefights and don't have a friend who'll help make the experience lively with you, I can see things feeling slow at times. But, I feel like I really have to reach to make that criticism, and I otherwise think this is one of the better crafted Sven walkthrough maps out there.

I'd recommend this to play, or for servers.

Pros:

  • Great, memorable atmosphere with variety which shakes up throughout the map
  • Lots of varied gameplay styles
  • Funny enemies with funny models and names
  • Lots of content that moves by quickly
  • Great final arena

Cons:

  • Some of the combat is extremely easy on the side of being almost boring
  • Being stuck with the shotgun and the desert eagle until the final arena started feeling very stale- was hoping for another weapon.
  • Spawning enemies behind us on the way back was often just busywork
  • The music was kinda lame, ngl
Score: 8.9 / 10

Review originally from *

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