Home Game Reviews ASTRO’s PLAYROOM: PlayStation 5’s Fantastic DualSense Controller and Genuine Platforming Game

ASTRO’s PLAYROOM: PlayStation 5’s Fantastic DualSense Controller and Genuine Platforming Game

Astro Playroom Astro Sitting
Astro Playroom Astro Sitting

Title: Astro’s Playroom Developer: Japan Studio (Team Asobi)
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platform Reviewed: PlayStation 5
Released: November 12th, 2020
Platforms Available: PlayStation 5
Article Reading Time: 10 minutes

Astro Playroom Astro Dark Face
Astro Playroom Astro Dark Face

As with every generation of PlayStation, we’re treated to a cute little robot named Astro and his more minor but very detailed game that, as always, introduces players to new hardware options and an integral controller when they purchase the console.
Of course, with the new 5th generation PlayStation, there are once again a lot of new things that this console from Sony can offer and show off thanks to several times the performance of its predecessor, the PlayStation 4 from 2014, and several new technological features processed into the new Dualsense controller. The biggest attraction of the previous generation, specifically the DualShock4 controller, was the vibrations that deepened the gaming experience and immersed the player even more in the action. However, the Dualsense controller goes one step further than its predecessors…

New Haptic Response Technology in Adaptive Triggers

With the PlayStation 5 controller, Sony is breaking with the DualShock gamepad series that began in 1997. But the new DualSense controller truly lives up to its name, as it conquers our senses with significant innovations – adaptive triggers and haptic response. The adjustable “triggers” can change the resistance applied when squeezing, allowing the player to sense, for example, the gradual tightening of a bowstring or an empty magazine, indicated by a twitch of the controller’s trigger.

The haptic response replaces the pair of vibration motors, after which the DualShock series controllers are named. Technologically, however, based on sound waves, haptic response allows the player to get the feeling that something is happening in a particular part of the screen, for example, and combined with the built-in speaker, the developers can then let the player know that their character is moving through, say, a snowstorm or swimming, using only their sense of hearing and touch, without having to look at the screen at all.

Initial fears that this would be an unused “gimmick,” i.e., a seemingly exciting feature that developers won’t use as a result, have gradually disappeared. Adaptive triggers and haptic feedback are used extensively not only by PlayStation exclusives but also by multiplatform games.

This should sum up what the new DualSense controller is about, and we can finally talk about the game itself.

Astro Playroom Retro Consoles
Astro Playroom Retro Consoles

Genuine Platformer

ASTRO’s PLAYROOM is, first and foremost, a platforming affair like the legendary Crash Bandicoot or Ratchet & Clank, which is precisely the kind of game genre that, unfortunately, never really appealed to me. However, I was still curious about what the game could offer to showcase a new generation of consoles and controllers.

Astro Playroom Cannon
Astro Playroom Cannon

Right from the start, the aforementioned haptic feedback comes into play, which is literally at every turn in this game, and you’ll encounter it in almost everything there is to do in the game, from simple walking to jumping and climbing to punching enemies or shooting guns and bows. Each action has a unique resonance and will make you feel like an integral part of the game. While you’ll feel a light touch in your hands when walking, you’ll feel solid impacts and pressure when punching enemies and shooting, depending on direction, as the Dualsens controller combines left and right independently. On the other hand, when climbing, you’ll feel the adaptive trigger in the L2 and R2 buttons for individual grips on rocks and walls. The whole thing is also varied with a motion sensor, for example, in passages requiring correcting the character’s balance in the air or when crossing over a chasm on a rope.

Level Design with Context

As previously stated, ASTRO’s PLAYROOM is a genuine and unadulterated platforming affair, and this is also wholly subordinated to the level design with a massive amount of verticality and frequently occurring passages with puzzles that are fun to solve. More than once, I was left wondering how elaborate they were, and overall, I felt a constant motivation from the game to push myself further and witness what the game would have in store for me in the coming hours. The levels consist of four main sections, forming smaller chapters that hide several collectibles closely related to PlayStation and Sony products. The primary levels are, for example, the so-called SSD highway, the cooling beach, or the graphical jungle, which represent, in a way, the critical internal parts of the console. With this, the player (with more reserve and in a playful way) can get a slightly more profound insight into what is happening in the console and what mediates the game’s launch and subsequent operation.

Astro Playroom Playstation Consoles
Astro Playroom Playstation Consoles

Each level is very thematically visually and gameplay-wise. You will meet some familiar characters from previous Astro installments, including a variety of easter eggs from previous PlayStation exclusives, with whom you can often interact in a certain way and witness a nice or sometimes even comical animation that adds variety to the experience of moving around the locations and exploring them in minute detail.
Each level also has its own unique music, which, by the way, is in a particular retro style of games from the nineties, and these songs are subordinated to the environment and level. The music was one of the finest for me and was very in tune with the individual passages. During the gameplay, I always had the feeling of a complete experience in which the puzzle pieces fit together perfectly.

Astro Playroom Jump
Astro Playroom Jump

Furthermore, it is also necessary to mention the visual aspect of the whole game, which is very pleasing to look at although it is a cartoon graphics, so it definitely hides a great charm esp, especially in 60FPS, which is another standard for the upcoming games that this new console promises a very smooth and pleasant experience.

Haven for Collectors

Now for the part of the game that has pleased me as a PlayStation lover perhaps by far the most, and that is the collectibles mentioned above that have been made up of Sony and PlayStation products since the first console sold on the market until today. Some of the most famous items are all four significant generations of consoles and even versions such as the FAT and Slim variants, handheld consoles such as the PlayStation Portable, and complete accessories even for the VR headset. Perhaps the best part about this is that all of these collectibles are stored in what’s called the PlayStation Lab, where you can examine these items in detail and even perform various interactions with them, from turning on the display, opening the drive, or lighting up the indicator light and so on and so forth… In short, a lot adds to the game’s length even after playing the primary levels, but especially for me, a form of education in Sony products. I learned a lot of new information, and the game showed me the existence of various game consoles and accessories, which I just discovered today…

In conclusion, one last thing mainly aimed at trophy hunters is that it is 100% a straightforward game suitable, especially for beginner trophy hunters motivated to collect these glittering trophies.

Astro Playroom Cute
Astro Playroom Cute

Last Words on Another Great Astro Iteration

ASTRO’s PLAYROOM is, therefore, a game that will show you what Sony has prepared for you with its new console through the new Dualsense controller technology in a very motivating and playful way that will teach you maybe one or two things you didn’t know about Sony, looking back at the almost 30 years of PlayStation history and on top of that it will also offer you maybe another platinum trophy for your collection. In short, this game has perfectly fulfilled its purpose down to the smallest detail, and there is nothing to fault it.

Download Astro’s Playroom in the Playstation Store


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