I’m a sucker for cute mascots. But with the age of mascot-centered-marketing campaigns now a thing of the past, brands have become synonymous with graphical fidelity, whatever exclusives were available, and whatever sponsorships are present. That said, Sony has struck gold with a little robot named Astro Bot. Astro started out as a PS VR title, but is now the mascot for the PlayStation 5 with Astro’s PlayRoom. This game comes pre-loaded on every PS5. And it is a game that shows off the possibilities of the system, along with the new DualSense controller.
Astro’s PlayRoom may seem like a simple tech demo, but it’s much more than that. Astro is a simple platformer that has four separate worlds that work in tandem to show off what’s possible with the new DualSense controllers. This includes the haptic feedback, improved touch pad, smoother motion controls, and the new built in microphone.
Players are in control of Astro, a little robot who lives inside the PS5 controller as he explores the PS5 in an attempt to find other friends through simple platforming challenges. The entire experience is roughly two hours, or three if players wish to platinum the title. While the experience may be short, the end result is a graphically stunning nod to Sony’s past.
Each of the four worlds shows off a separate entry into the PlayStation family. Not only will players be tasked with finding artifacts that show off Sony’s history, there will be plenty of little cameos and easter eggs for brand new titles such as Ghost of Tsushima and all the back to Ape Escape and Ridge Racer. I had an absolute blast trying to track down all of the nods and trying to figure out what they were.
Also, each of the four worlds shows off a different aspect of the DualSense controller. One world has the player controlling Astro in a ball similar to Super Monkey Ball, only using the touchpad to move around. Another stage will have the player tilting the DualSense controller and using the haptic feedback in the triggers to climb a mountain side. Each challenge felt hard enough to keep going, but easy enough where anyone would be able to make it through.
In between worlds, players have the chance to explore their PS5 and find a lab room which shows off all of the artifacts found within each level. Players can also spend their tokens earned in the worlds on a gacha ball machine to find more collectibles.
Honestly, I knew Astro’s PlayRoom had to be the first thing I played on the system. But I didn’t expect it to be such a great time. During the two hours I played it, I had a massive smile on my face. Between the great music, stunning graphics, and rose tinted nostalgia goggles, Astro’s PlayRoom stole my heart. Not only was it a great way to show off the new technology. It was a love letter to what makes Sony such a titan when it comes to video games. Please do not skip this when you boot up your PS5. You’ll thank me.
This review is based on the free downloadable game pre-installed on all brand new PS5 consoles. Images provided in the review were captured in-game.