The next generations of consoles are here, and now we can fully say “current gen”. I’m super excited! This level of excitement brought me to exploring everything the PlayStation 5 had to offer, including a little gem called Astro’s Playroom. What seems essentially be a short tech demo for the DualSense controller, is actually an extremely fun 3D platformer that gave me the amount of enchantment that games like Ratchet & Clank brought me in 2016, Super Mario Galaxy did in 2007, and what Super Mario 64 did in 1996. Therefore, this will not only be a review of the game, but a mild review of the DualSense. Astro’s Playroom only made me more intrigued about how the DualSense would be integrated in other games, and how strong other PlayStation platformers like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Sackboy: A Big Adventure will be…
Astro’s Playroom is a collectathon of everything PlayStation. You’ll collect things as modern as the DualShock 4, something as old as the original PlayStation memory card, or as obscure as the PS Move Sharpshooter. As you unlock or find these “artefacts” they’ll be displayed in the main hub area called the PlayStation Labo. You’ll also collect puzzle pieces to deck out the room with PlayStation goodness. This is a PlayStation fan’s dream as each PS accessory and console is detailed very realistically including all ridges, ports and buttons. Even the walls have the tiny sacred symbols embedded in them like the PlayStation 5 and DualSense controller.
Little Astro bots will be cosplaying as Kratos, Alloy, Sam Porter, The Hunter form Bloodborne, or other beloved characters with the Sony exclusive family. The game is littered with PlayStation easter eggs at more corners than you could imagine. Even rain drops had the sacred symbols! Altogether, Astro’s Playroom has 4 world’s and 16 levels and can be completed anywhere between 2 – 6 hours. You’ll be a master at PlayStation trivia when you platinum this game.
I was a skeptic of the DualSense feedback hype until I played this game, and figured it was a gimmick until I witnessed it flawlessly integrated into this solid 3D platformer. The controller will vibrate differently depending on the terrain (water, sand, ice, grass) but what really blew my mind was when I was exploring Bot Beach. I walked in the sand, to the shore, and swam in the water. In doing this I felt three different senses in my hands. When I was standing right at the shore, I felt the rough sand and smooth water at the same time! Another cool feature is when my astrobot transformed into a monkey at Teraflop Treetops. There were certain damaged rocks that I had to gently press the trigger on or else the rock would break, whereas the rest I had to fully push the trigger down.
In combat, wielding a bow caused some cool resistance when cocking it back before releasing, meanwhile, a machine gun felt like thumpy cathartic sensation. These small details don’t seem like a big deal on paper, but if you get your hands on the Dualsense and play Astro’s Playroom, it feels better than it actually sounds. The haptic feedback, adaptive controls, and motion controls warrant all the hype. The DualSense adds a new dimension of immersion that I didn’t think would make much of a difference until I played this game.
Astro’s Playroom is colorful, fun, with tight gameplay, and full of PlayStation goodies at every corner. It’s a wonderful showcase of the DualSense features which genuinely creates a level of immersion that seems like a gimmick until you get your hands on it. I do think overall the Xbox controller feels better, especially in terms of competitive shooter gameplay. The DS Pad is also quite heavy in comparison. After sinking in an entire evening of playing my PlayStation 5 for the first time, I felt a slight cramp in my hand and felt a mild struggle holding the new controller. It wasn’t anything crazy and I haven’t felt it since then, so perhaps that muscle has been exercised, but it is still something that shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Otherwise, I’m not only looking forward to Sony’s new focus on solid 3D platformers but also what level of immersion the DualSense will bring when wielding Alloy’s bow and arrow, Kratos’s Leviathin Axe, or Ratchet’s new Topiary Sprinkler. 4/5 Bibles.
– Dee Assassina