Astro’s Playroom far exceeds its role as a showcase for the PS5’s technical offering, with an extremely fun 3D platforming romp to explore and enjoy.
The PS5 is finally here, and Sony has waxed lyrical about its DualSense controller. With haptic feedback for a more varied sense of vibration through to its adaptive triggers, the controller could be a step up for PlayStation players in comparison to the beloved DualShock. To help bring its potential to life, Astro’s Playroom is here from SIE Japan Studio’s Asobi Team.
In essence, Astro’s Playroom acts as something of a tech demo. Asobi Team has served a similar purpose before with other games, such as Astro Bot Rescue Mission which showcased the opportunities for PlayStation VR. Here, the versatility of the DualSense controller is explored through a 3D platformer.
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Astro’s Playroom is certainly a lot more than a standard tech demo, however. Although its role as the most popular PS5 game is a bit of a fabrication since it’s pre-installed on every console, Astro’s Playroom is still worth checking out. It’s a short, enjoyable adventure in its own right, and one that ties into the ethos of the PlayStation brand.
Asobi Team has done a tremendous job in adding some variety to Astro’s Playroom‘s game worlds. The player will move from the lush greens of GPU Jungle to the chilly climate of Cooling Springs and the luminous technology of SSD Speedway. Its cutesy aesthetic of chibi robots and villains is a hoot, too, acting as a small toybox to explore.
From a gameplay perspective Astro’s Playroom is fairly simple. It’s full of 3D platforming with a linear progression through stages, similar to Super Mario 3D World but with a much smaller scope. With mild collection mechanics and some spots of combat here and there it feels like a blend between the LEGO games and LittleBigPlanet, with some fun little gimmicks like a spring suit thrown in alongside some boss battles.
The gameplay itself is of course all the wrapping around the DualSense controller’s abilities, and it’s here where Astro’s Playroom is at its most impressive. The player will swivel their controller and use the adaptive triggers to climb walls, tilt and fire jets during a space section, and blow into the microphone to set off propellers. If games are able to make use of the DualSense’s features at even close to the level that Astro’s Playroom demonstrates here, then it could lead to some unique control ingenuity.
Astro’s Playroom also acts as a bit of a love letter to PlayStation as a whole. Other bots can be spotted around the game’s levels dressed as memorable video game characters or acting out scenes from games, and the landscape is littered with PlayStation symbols and artefacts to collect from Sony’s past. Without going into spoilers, even the game’s final boss is a nod to PlayStation’s history.
All in all Astro’s Playroom is a perfectly charming little platformer. It’s obviously not a mind-blowing display, but as a game to get up to speed with how the PS5 operates and enjoy a look at some PlayStation hardware of day’s gone it’s hard to find fault. After all, it’s free and can be played while waiting for other games to install. What’s not to love?
Astro’s Playroom is out now for PS5, included with the console.
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