ASTRO's Playroom

in Hive Gaming6 months ago (edited)


ASTRO’s Playroom is a 3D platformer from Sony’s first party development studio where you’ll follow the adventures of ASTRO, an excruciatingly cute little robot, as it explores the components of a fantastical computer, and the many vibrant worlds within it. It’s an engaging way to explore the fancy new graphical and mechanical features of the PlayStation 5, and celebrate the almost 30 years of the brand’s history!



ASTRO’s Playroom is one of those unique games where when it was first introduced, everyone was talking about it. Mentioning how it was a perfect showcase of what the PlayStation 5 is capable of, or that it was Sony’s answer to Super Mario Odyssey, which in turn made me experience an intense sensation of FOMO. I mean, looking at it from the outside, it seemed to have everything I love about games like it. Beautiful and vibrant graphics, cute characters, lush worlds to explore, and fun gimmicky mechanics that bring a smile to your face.


Of course, saying it compares to something like the Super Mario games made me have my doubts, but I was excited to try it and test that theory nonetheless. The only problem was, getting your hands on a PS5 was becoming increasingly more difficult and that was literally the only place you could play it. Fast forward a few years, and with the hype surrounding the console and the game fading into memory, I was curious to see if it still had the staying power and could make my jaw drop like a good first party game showcasing a console should.



From the moment you start ASTRO’s Playroom, it’s evident the quality of work and love that was put into the game from its designers. Each and every corner of it is gorgeous from the vibrant stark whites of the CPU Place, to the lush greens of the GPU Jungle, to the neon accented SSD Speedway. It’s truly eye-catching and made me excited to explore every nook and cranny the game had to offer. Also, Astro and all of the other little robots are so dang cute! I loved that throughout each stage you’ll find them recreating scenes from iconic games that could be found on the PlayStation consoles throughout the years, like Crash Bandicoot, Metal Gear Solid, The Last of Us, and Uncharted. To top it off, all of their bouncy animations just made it all feel like you were playing through a living, breathing Pixar movie.


Speaking of the environments, it was fun to see how the designers would take various computer and PlayStation console components and integrate them into the worlds as if they were natural formations or the flora and fauna found in the universe. Things like buttons being used as platforms, or controller cables as ropes, or even flex cables being used as blades of grass!


Mechanically speaking, ASTRO plays without a hitch and short of a few hiccups here and there related to motion controls, it's as intuitive and easy to play as some of the best 3D platformers out there. Meaning from the moment you start the game, you’ll be zipping through the environments hovering over gaps, bopping baddies, and collecting the plethora of artefacts, puzzle pieces, and coins as if it came naturally. It just felt so satisfying to play, and if I missed a collectible or two, I was compelled to revisit each stage to clean it up, because it was just that fun. Well, except for the few motion control centric areas, like I mentioned. But even those aren’t that bad. Nonetheless, what made it fun was that the designers utilized every single gimmicky thing about the PS5 controller in clever ways. That instead of feeling gimmicky, felt like it enhanced the experience overall. Some of it we’ve seen before on consoles like the Wii and DS, like blowing into the mic to spin a fan, or using the gyro sensor to control a hang glider, but it’s that in combination with the controller’s haptics, touchpad, and speaker that truly made it immersive. It never felt so satisfying to trigger the boosters of a spacecraft, than it does with the variable resistance of the controller’s triggers, and it was so cool to feel the pitter patter of rain hitting Astro’s umbrella made real through subtle and clever rumbles.



Going into ASTRO’s Playroom I had no doubt that it would be fun, nor did I doubt that it would do a good job of showcasing what the PlayStation 5 had to offer. One thing I wasn’t expecting though, was just how charming and memorable it would be. It truly was a fantastic answer to the quality of games you would normally see coming from Nintendo in the 3D platformer realm. It was exactly what I had hoped for, and more. It went from a curiosity that I was compelled to play, to a game I’ll hold fondly in my memories as we move forward in the console generations. Honestly, if I didn’t already own the console, this would have been the game that sold me on it.


And the best part is, it memorialized the history of PlayStation in such a way that my nostalgia laden heart burst with joy. I gobbled every moment of it up, I savored every memory card, every disc, and every interactable retro console I uncovered. And as of the writing of this review, I still have a smile plastered firmly to my face.


ASTRO’s Playroom grabs onto your nostalgia and expands it into a vibrant, playful, and charming world that not only showcases the PlayStation 5 and its controller, but also celebrates the console family in general. If you’re looking for a solid platformer that’s not only free, but also does pretty much everything right, then it’s more than worth checking out! Two raytraced thumbs UP from us!

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