You don’t see many pack in titles from Sony or Microsoft, but it is something Nintendo and Sega were doing to help sell you on their new consoles. Thankfully Sony has taken a leaf out of their books and bundled Astro’s Playroom with the PS5, and it was a great decision.
The standout feature of the PS5 apart from the upgrade in power in the DualSense controller. The name alone sets Sony up to fail, however, paired with Astro’s Playroom it shines. The promised fidelity of the rumble and haptic feedback is astounding.
After a few instructional demonstrations of the capabilities of the haptics you are thrown into the world of Astro’s Playroom, or should I say you throw Astro into the world as you begin by swiping the touchpad to launch him out of the DualSense into a hub world.
This hub world has platforming sections and secrets to unlock with many areas and surfaces that react well with the haptics. Walking on glass feels different to the metal floors and so on. The hub world uses the infamous ordinal face buttons of the PlayStation brand as fronts for different stages. Each one varies based on a console generation but mostly to highlight the special abilities of the aforementioned controller.
The layered levels of feedback fool you into thinking it all works perfectly, and it does. Clinking or scraping sounds spewing from the controller alongside the haptic motor pulsing truly displays what the next generation of games will look like, and why game developers should invest time in doing it right. Walking on ice, sand, glass all feel different.
Aside from the haptic feedback and sound. You also experience the resistive triggers and the motion sensing. Tilting to aim a catapult or to refine a bow and arrow shot. The triggers become firmer for each variant of weapon as well as pushing back when piloting a jetpack. Simply stunning.
The main goal of Astro’s Playroom is to explore the controller, but it is also a nostalgia trip for any gamer who started playing on Sony’s console from the PS1 era. The trip down memory lane is frankly heart-warming and collecting hidden artefacts throughout the stages is something you will enjoy, not only are the well hidden, but unlocking a 3D render of a rare PSP peripheral is oddly satisfying.
The PlayStation Labo arena displays all your unlocks, but on top of this hosts a Gatcha game that lets you spend your coins to further open up more artefacts and trinkets.
Astro looks great, though the visuals aren’t going to push your console to its limits, the art style alone is good. Every minute of Astro’s Playroom is killer and there is no padding whatsoever. The campaign can be completed in under 3 hours, but there are collectables and time trials you can compete in. A great unmissable experience and possibly the best end boss in a video game. Play this.
- Replay Value