Astro’s Playroom PS5 Review

January 11, 2021 by  
Filed under Features, Reviews & Features, PS5, PlayStation

Game: Astro’s Playroom Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe  Developer: ASOBI Team  Genre: Platformer

Players: 1  Age Rating: 3+  Other console/handheld formats: N/A

Astro Bot Rescue Mission is one of the finest games on PlayStation VR. Chock full of personality, charm and beautiful design, the game quickly became a favourite. Astro’s Playroom abandons the VR entirely, although it’s a PS5 launch title that comes preinstalled on every new console, and it’s also one that shows off Sony’s shiny new DualSense controller. 

Like Rescue Mission, Astro’s Playroom is a platforming game that isn’t lacking in the charm department. The titular robot as well as his friends are full of personality, and the game looks and runs very nicely. Something that adds an extra layer of personality to Astro’s Playroom is the fact that this is a tribute to over 25 years of the PlayStation, and while it does come across as a little self-indulgent, fans of the brand will surely lap it up in the way that I did. You’ll come across many little robots (as well as the titles of many of the trophies) that reference some of the more obscure games as well as those that are a lot more well known, with everything from God of War, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry to the likes of Jumping Flash, Ape Escape, Vib Ribbon, and many many more. You are also able to find collectable artefacts, which are comprised of eerily realistic and painstakingly authentic versions of consoles and accessories that Sony have released over the years, and it’s even possible to interact with them. With everything said, it’s a brilliant tribute to a brand that has done so much for gaming over the past 26 years. 

Astro's Playroom

Like Astro Bot Rescue Mission, coins can be used to purchase capsules, which have various surprises inside.

As a demonstration of the DualSense controller, you can get no better than Astro’s Playroom, with the game pretty much showing off everything that the new controller is capable of. It’s a fantastic showcase of the range of vibrations from the haptic feedback, meaning that walking on glass feels entirely different from walking on sand, and so on, and you’ll also feel things such as rain through the controller. The game also shows off how the adaptive triggers can suddenly tighten up when the situation calls for it, perhaps when, say, you are armed with a bow and arrow. Designed as a demonstration, this is a game that really speaks to us about the new controller as well as its future potential, and there’s definitely plenty of potential to be explored. 

Being a pack-in game, Astro’s Playroom is also a fantastic demonstration of other areas of the PS5, which includes fantastically fast loading times, which were apparently even quicker to begin with, although the decision was made to slow them down in order to give people a breather. Game Help is also on show in the game, and it’s definitely handy if you are struggling to, say, find a collectible that you have hunted everywhere for. As for the Tempest 3D Audio, well the game supports it, although so far I must admit that my own ears have been able to hear little difference with any of the supported games.

Astro’s Playroom takes place across 16 levels, spanning four diverse worlds. You run, jump and hover through jungles, snowy areas, sandy beaches, and more, and levels are definitely well designed, with their hidden areas and the desire to see as many references as possible. Other than the traditional platforming, variety comes in the form of Astro jumping inside a large robotic monkey, a ship, or a ball, all of which make use of the Dualsense’s motion sensing capabilities to control them. 

Astro's Playroom

Visuals are colourful, charismatic and attractive, with the game also running at what looks to be a very steady 60fps.

It’s another memorable game starring Astro, although in only three to four hours in length, it does feel like it’s over all too soon. While this isn’t a huge complaint as such (the game is essentially a free game, after all), the desire for more levels and worlds does speak volumes as to the quality of the game. If you do return to it to find any of the secret content you have previously missed, however, or to attempt a speed run, then the array of content can actually be called very generous for a game that you have paid nothing for. 

Astro’s Playroom is a superb demonstration of the DualSense controller, although it’s also a lot more than this. It could have just been a tech demonstration with little purpose other than showcasing the differences of the controller, although it’s a proper and colourful platforming game with memorable level design that is packed with references and secrets, and it also has catchy music. Not forgetting to mention that it is an amazingly good tribute to a powerful gaming brand. Let’s hope that we’ll see more from Astro and Sony Japan’s ASOBI Team in the future on PS5.