When I played PlayStation VR Worlds at launch, it felt like that was a sample disc that should have come with every headset. Astro’s Playroom is much that for the Dual Sense, and fortunately the game comes preloaded on your PS5.
Astro’s Playroom is a simple platformer that has the little bot Astro going through four worlds taking out bosses and collecting relics of PlayStations past.
There is no story as such, but there is a whole lot of PlayStationness and not much else. A riveting tale however won’t be the reason why you are launching this little gem.
The game is an excellent excuse to learn and appreciate the brilliant tech in the Dual Sense controller. You need a blast of wind in the game which you achieve by blowing into the mic, you need to zip up a suit by flicking up on the touchpad, and you swing between bars by moving the controller up and down.
They have mastered those previous bits of tech and this is shown seamlessly in the game.
What is apparent, and battery draining is the haptic feedback and the adaptive triggers. Haptic feedback has taken the vibration in previous controllers to the absolute extreme.
Running as Astro has little vibrations on the corresponding side of the controller, hitting the ground is accented with a big vibration, and so much more. It feels so much better than I could have imagined and Astro’s Playroom uses it perfectly.
Haptic feedback has shown it’s true potential here and I hope they use it like crazy in games going forward. In a ball machine where you pull a lever and a ball pops out which you break with the other trigger is made better by the initial pull feeling normal, and the second half of the pull where the ball starts to crack is much harder to yank back.
It is so hard to describe how brilliant this is as you have to experience it, but man the game uses it for so many moments to absolute perfection.
The other reason to play through Astro’s Playroom is that it is an unapologetic love letter to the PlayStation ecosystem. Every level is dotted with the four PS symbols as well as things shaped like controllers, or discs for example.
It is harder to find a spot without a reference than ones with one. Bots are dotted throughout levels acting out references to games, which I won’t spoil as they are a lot of fun to try and spot.
On top of this is the collectables. You find puzzle pieces which create a mural, but then there are the artefacts you collect throughout the levels. Each region of the game has collectables for a different PlayStation Generation and consists of consoles and peripherals.
So many things were blasts to the past like remembering PS2 discs were blue on the bottom, or that original Eye Toy camera. Then there were some surprises, like did you know the PS1 had a mouse? I certainly didn’t.
Astro’s Playroom is a celebration of PlayStation past, and showcases PlayStation future with its use of Dual Sense. It is a fun platformer that is short enough to not get stale, and long enough that it is bonkers that it is free and preinstalled on your PS5.