There's something special about having a game ready to go as soon as you turn a console on for the first time. It's true that you should probably update the console and the game before anything else, but even if you don't, you will have a perfectly functional version of Astro's Playroom at your disposal from the get-go. As it's a free game, included with every PlayStation 5, you may think that Astro's Playroom is some kind of demo, or a simple game without substance, but you would be mistaken.
Team Asobi had already done an exceptional job with PSVR's Astro Bot Rescue Mission, and now it has once again proved that it knows exactly what to do with a platformer, even if Astro's Playroom has a very unique concept. The basis is to present all the features of the new DualSense controller, but also to take the player on a journey through PlayStation History. From consoles to peripherals, along with countless games associated with the brand, Astro's Playroom is a true museum and tribute to PlayStation's legacy.
The game includes a central area, that is the PlayStation 5' CPU, and four more areas that represent other components of the console's hardware, namely cooling, SSD, GPU, and RAM. Each area includes four levels, all of which are built around the component they represent.
In the refrigeration area you will come across beaches and ice platforms, in the ultra-fast SSD you will have to travel through sci-fi like high-ways and avoid electrified platforms.
Each level also includes four pieces for a huge PlayStation mural, plus two pieces of PlayStation History, either a peripheral or a console, all modelled with incredible detail and interaction. You will also hear sounds and see visual cues that will certainly arouse some nostalgia, like the sound of the PS2 turning on, or the layout of PS3's XMB in the sky. If you can't find one of the collectibles, you can use the new PS5 card system to quickly watch a video indicating its location. It's a great function, which we hope to see used by more studios.
The game also has good gameplay diversity, as each area includes some type of exclusive mechanic, such as levels in which you will take the form of a ball, or even a rocket. This, of course, while using all the different DualSense features, from the adaptable triggers to the motion sensor.
In addition to these levels, there's also a "PlayStation laboratory", where all your discoveries will be exposed. Here, several Astrobots play around with the consoles and peripherals you find, and there's some small interactions for each component, such as punching the PS Vita for it to turn on and present it's main menu. In this area you will also find a machine where you can exchange the coins you collect in the levels for more pieces and other missing peripherals.
On top of all this, you can also participate in levels specifically designed for time trials. There's two time trial levels unlocked for each completed area, which implies a total of eight levels, each with its respective online tables. Oh, and there's also a surprise at the end, which we obviously can't reveal here.
Astro's Playroom is a game with a generous dose of content, especially considering that it is free, but more importantly, it benefits from excellent design, gameplay, and attention to detail. On each level you can find references to several games with strong ties to PlayStation, such as God of War, Uncharted, Metal Gear Solid, Gravity Rush, and many others.
In short, we had a lot of fun with Astro's Playroom, and not just for its nostalgic value. There's a really great game in here, where it's only sin is that it ends. We want more adventures with the Astrobots, much more, and we can't wait to see what Team Asobi will do next.
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