Back in 2018, Astro Bot Rescue Mission truly utilised the potential of the PlayStation VR and is perhaps even to this day one of the best PlayStation VR games. Developer, Asobi Team have led from the front once again with Astro’s Playroom, spearheading the different possibilities that are achievable with the new DualSense controller. The best part is Astro’s Playroom is a free tech demo pre-installed on the PlayStation 5, so you won’t have to worry when you get your gritty hands on the console.
Essentially, Astro’s Playroom serves as the ultimate guide to the new DualSense controller. Alongside, being a loving homage to PlayStation’s long arching history, that is sure to bring back a good case of nostalgia. A first, I was sceptical that a controller could really give added value to the gaming experience, but I am beyond pleased to be proven wrong. The moment you boot up Astro’s Playroom, you are thrown into a brief tutorial that showcases the DualSense controller in all its glory.
Rumbling on the DualSense is defined to all-new levels, with the touchpad being far more responsive than ever. The microphone has massively been upgraded as well, which is coupled fantastically with the motion sensor that helps submerges you into the environments, such as feeling slippery ice underneath Astro’s little feet, to having the sensation of rain-pour cascading onto you. When you pull back on the adaptative triggers, you are met with resistance from the haptic feedback, that emulates the sensation of a push and pulls tug o’ war. The haptic feedback is truly remarkable. It may not sound like much, but I guarantee you when you feel the DualSense controller for yourself, this will blow you away.
After the short tutorial, you’re taken into a mini hub-world called the CPU Plaza where you can choose to tackle one of four worlds that you can select at your own leisure. Each world is charming and brilliantly designed, accompanied by a colourful cute palette that makes journeying through these worlds nothing but pure joy.
The game plays remarkably like its successor. Astro has the ability to jump, hover and power up his almighty punch attack to smack down pesky foes that stand in his way. Every world is divided into four levels, with each world symbolizing a prior PlayStation console. One world starts with Astro at the seaside, but when progressing further, you’ll have to endure ice-bound environments. Astro isn’t just ready to jump into action, he’s also ready to put on some hero tights and jump into a range of mechanical suits to kick ass. Whist in these suits it will require you to use the DualSense in unique ways, like tilting the controller in certain directions to project yourself forward. At the end of each level you complete, there is a satisfying salute to the console that the level is based upon. This leaves you feeling fulfilled and triumphant not only for your personal efforts but for that induvial PlayStation generation.
The beauty of this game is the attention to small detail. For instance, leaving Astro unattended will result in the little guy sitting on the floor chilling with a Vita for a few moments, or even donning a PSVR headset, presumably to play his own game. On top of this, there are minor details like discovering collectable puzzle pieces and artefacts lurking within the environments that are gushing with PlayStation references that will make any long-term PlayStation fan giddy. That’s not all as there are also a lot of subtle nodes to many PlayStation franchises throughout. There’s way too many to name them all, but some honourable mentions include Kratos, Cloud’s Buster Sword and my personal favourite, Solid Snake.
It’s tough to say there are any flaws with this game, but the one drawback is that Astro’s Playroom is incredibly short. I was able to platinum Astro’s Playroom in under four hours. Usually, I wouldn’t complain that a free game only having four hours’ worth of content, but Astro’s Playroom is beyond fantastic that it left me hungry for more. That’s not to say there’s nothing to do after completing the game. There is a Network Speed Run where you can put your platformer skills to the test in a speedrun against others with a world leader-board.
Astro’s Playroom feels like one big party where everyone is invited, at the heart of this party are many delightful levels with an upbeat atmosphere holding it all together. The game is exemplified even further with the phenomenal DualSense controller, that creates a whole new gaming experience. If developers moving forward take advantage of the DualSense capability’s, the possibilities for the PS5 are incredibly exciting. After you experience the game for yourself, this won’t just be Astro’s Playroom but your own personal Playroom as well and is without a doubt the first game you should play when you get a PS5.
Astro's Playroom PS5 Review
Overall - Must Play - 9/10
Astro’s Playroom is a flawless introduction to the PS5 and showcases the true potential of the DualSense controller. If Astro’s Playroom is anything to go by, the future of gaming looks incredibly bright.
- Cute and joyful levels to adventure through
- A loving homage to PlayStation
- Incredible utilization of the DualSense controller
- The game is too short; more Astro, please!
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game bought at the expense of the reviewer. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS5.
We sometimes link to online retail stores. If you buy something from our links, we may make a small commission which goes towards keeping the lights on and coffee in the pot.