Astro’s Playroom is a brilliant showcase for a brilliant controller
The PlayStation brand is omnipresent in Astro’s Playroom. The Triangle, Circle, Square, and X button symbols litter each area. Elements of PlayStation hardware can make up part of the geometry in surprising ways. Each level focuses on one of the older PlayStation machines. For this cooling station stage, you’ll discover tributes to the PlayStation 3 era. If you ever had any love for any PlayStation, you’ll have a smile on your face the whole time you play Astro’s Playroom.
That’s why this game is the ideal first experience for a new PlayStation 5 owner. It shows what makes their new controller special, and it’s a celebration of the PlayStation consoles that came before this latest machine. Of course, it’s also a fantastic 3D platformer in its own right.
And you’ll see all of that just by playing this first level.
Astro’s Playroom on PS5 might be the best pack-in game since Wii Sports
Don’t write this one off
But even when all of the bells and whistles of the DualSense controller aren’t on display, Astro’s Playroom is still a great platformer that shows off an imaginary world inside your PlayStation 5. The entire game is packed with adorable references to classic PlayStation titles, as reenacted by the crowds of robot spectators. One of the earliest shows a bot with a beard and a massive red tattoo sailing along in a boat with a smaller bot — a clear nod to the latest God of War. There are dozens of these Easter eggs hidden about these levels, providing a real treat for anyone paying close attention.
Without playing it, it’s easy to write off Astro’s Playroom as a silly, ignorable pack-in game, something to fill up your system storage while you wait for the actual games to download. But it turns out that this is one of the best platformers Sony has ever made, matching the charm and fluidity of a Nintendo platformer while also demonstrating the power of this new console. It should be a major launch-day treat for those lucky few who managed to score a PlayStation 5 pre-order.
The PS5 controller is wild — I’ve been playing Astro’s Playroom (the game that comes with the system) and the combo of rumble/haptic feedback/adaptive triggers feels more “next gen” than any graphical improvements we’ve seen yet. More to come in my review closer to launch— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) October 27, 2020
The most amazing thing about the #PS5 so far is the wild #DualSense controller.— M.H. Williams (@AutomaticZen) October 27, 2020
It feels like the mid-point between the DualShock4 and Xbox controller, but the haptics and *Adaptive Triggers* are mad impressive. The first time a trigger fights you, you'll believe. pic.twitter.com/YWpc6BjTar
Apparently Astro is quite nice and the dual sense is killing it.