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Astro's Playroom Review

Astro's Playroom Review

Sony does love bundling free tech demos with its consoles. The PlayStation 4 came with The Playroom. No one remembers it because no one played it, but it was a thing that was installed on your console when you first switched it on. The PlayStation 5 is no different, launching this year with Astro’s Playroom. This cute platformer is focused on showing off the DualSense controller’s fancy lights and switches. This free add-on for the PlayStation 5 deserves a lot more recognition than simply being seen as just another tech demo.

Despite being only three hours long, I couldn’t help but smile all the way through my playthrough of Astro’s Playroom. The premise is simple: Astro and his little robot friends are all real and exist inside the very PlayStation 5 the player is using. The game world is made up of the internal hardware you would expect to find inside a PlayStation and generally acts as a showcase for the DualSense. Despite its purpose as a controller showcase, Astro’s Playroom succeeds in being an extraordinary 3D platformer. Players are made to jump, climb, hop and roll through 25 years of PlayStation history. On their way, there are homages to classic games, collectable artefacts and a reminder that the PSP had some horrendously niche attachments (PSP GPS, anyone?).

Astro’s Playroom is designed to take advantage of everything the DualSense controller can do, and pushes the controller to its limits. Throughout the game, the gyro, touchpad, haptic feedback and in-built microphone all come into play. All of them are used to traverse levels in various different robotic outfits. Using the DualSense’s advanced rumble feature, running around with Astro on various surface types gives the feedback you would expect to feel from the appropriate surface. Running across snow feels soft whereas running across hard metallic surfaces gives sturdier feedback in the controller.

The tiny robot is more than just a DualSense tick box though. Astro’s Playroom offers a fun and well-controlling platformer. By the time I got to the end of Astro’s short, but enjoyable run, I couldn’t help but find myself wanting more. I went back in and collected all the trophies, mastered the time trials and was still pleading to the platforming gods for more. Although Astro’s Playroom is given as a freebie to players to show off Sony’s newest hardware, what it delivers is not just a great showcase, but a great 3D-platforming experience too. Alongside a full price launch title like Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Astro’s Playroom is an absolute steal. As unlikely as it is we’ll ever see a sequel, Astro’s Playroom definitely deserves one. It’s incredible really, that for all of Sony’s big hitters on launch, it’s the gimmick game we all get for free that both looks and feels the most ‘next gen’.

The ability to pop in and out of levels is a big help for anyone who would consider themselves a collector. Astro’s Playroom also takes advantage of the PlayStation 5’s ability to jump between incomplete levels on a whim. Not sure what you have left? Hit the PlayStation button on the controller and you can see each level progress, before jumping to the one that catches your eye the most. The loading times are snappy and the mundanity of collecting is eliminated by the quality of life additions to the console that the game takes full advantage of. Admittedly, the majority of collectables are hard to miss, but having the tools to see each level's completion percentage will make life easier for a lot of people.

Astro’s Playroom sends players on a nostalgia-filled, platforming trip through the history of PlayStation. A reminder to old fans and an education to younger fans about what led us to the PlayStation 5. Despite being a free add-on with the console, it stands alongside the PlayStation 5’s biggest hits and even towers over some (looking at you Godfall). As a game, it’s the best Sony exclusive platformer we’ve seen in a very long time. There’s not much replayability, but this cute little robot will have you squeezing every drop of fun out of this game. Not a shabby effort for a freebie tech demo.

8.00/10 8

Astro's Playroom (Reviewed on PlayStation 5)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

Sony’s obligatory ‘tech-demo’ game is a fun-loving trip through PlayStation history. Despite looking like a throwaway title, it easily stands alongside the biggest hits on the launch of the PlayStation 5.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Adam Kerr

Adam Kerr

Staff Writer

Doesn't talk about Persona to avoid screaming in anger

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