Review: Astro’s Playroom

About this Game

Astro's Playroom

Publisher

Sony Interactive Entertainment

Developer

SIE Japan Studio, Team ASOBI!

Release Date

November 12, 2020

Console

PlayStation 5

Time to Plat

~4h

Platinum Difficulty

Easy

Online Trophies?

No

Difficulty Trophies?

No

Follow Us

A Love Letter from Sony’s PlayStation Family to Sony’s PlayStation Family

What an exciting day the 19th of November proved to be! My PlayStation 5 pre-order arrived and within minutes I had the console set up and ready to go!

Excited about the DualSense’s new features, and looking for something to do while my games downloaded, I obviously looked to Astro’s Playroom for my first PlayStation 5 experience. Pre-installed on the console to serve as a PS5 demo, Astro’s Playroom is a 4-hour fully-fledged game of its own – complete with Platinum Trophy!

So, MrZhangetsu and I sat down together side-by-side, ready to dive into the new generation together. It goes without saying that from the moment we booted the game up, we didn’t close it again until we had that tantalising platinum in our grasp.

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Astro’s Playroom Review

The Power’s in my Hands

The obvious stand-out feature of Astro’s Playroom is the way it truly makes full use of the DualSense’s built-in features such as Haptic Feedback, Adaptive Triggers, Microphone, and more.

In-fact, the whole game was built around these features as the developers came up with ways to get the most out of it, like having a stage where you play as a spring-loaded frog and experience the adaptive triggers and motion controls to the fullest.

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You can feel the resistance building up in the spring via the adaptive triggers which push back at you the lower you go.

Or a stage where you roll around on the ground as a ball, feeling a full range of different textures – such as grass, gravel, tarmac and speed bumps – beneath you through the insanely accurate haptic feedback.

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Riding across this texture, I had the sensation of running my hand across a radiator!

The list goes on, there’s a couple of levels where you fly a rocket, and you can feel the adaptive triggers click down fully when the rocket boosters kick in and there are some stages where you climb up walls using the triggers and motion controls to swing yoursxelf from handhold to handhold.

The most interesting thing about the latter gameplay is that there are some more fragile handholds which will break if you push the triggers in too far, so you need to use the adaptive triggers to feel out how lightly you can grip them without them crumbling.

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These climbing segments proved to be interesting puzzles, but I wasn’t a fan of the control scheme which proved a little tricky to get the hang of. No pun intended.

We started off in the Cooling Springs stage and I would stop every few seconds and pass the controller to MrZhangetsu, saying “You need to feel this, bro”. There was a moment where we stood on a fan and through the haptic feedback, we could feel the sensation of there being a fan in the controller.

Later, we’d run along the beach and exclaim in glee at the way we could feel the sponginess of the sand beneath our feet, only to squeal in delight again at a sandstorm section where we could feel every particle of sand pepper our character through the controller. Needless to say, throughout this whole experience our minds were blown over and over again.

Nothing Wrong with Self-Love

The other beautiful thing about Astro’s Playroom is that it stands as a homeage to everything which led up to the PlayStation 5’s launch, the other consoles and their peripherals – both coveted and quirky – as well as the many fantastic exclusive titles that have blessed our libraries in the past 26 years.

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An adorable God of War Easter Egg in Bot Beach

Throughout every stage there are many Easter Eggs, depicting bots dressed as iconic PlayStation characters from Uncharted’s Nathan Drake to the iconic Aloy from Horizon.

These Easter Eggs are easy to spot thanks to blue camera-bots who stand nearby ready to catch the action and while finding these isn’t a requirement for any trophies, we spent a lot of time seeking them out and trying to see if we recognised the references.

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Joel and Ellie bots take cover from a mushroom-coated cordyceps-bot.

That’s certainly not all, though. The main goal of each stage is to collect one of the previous PlayStation consoles, from the original PlayStation to the PlayStation 4, and along the way you can find Artefacts which are popular or iconic peripherals once associated with the level’s featured console.

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These Artefacts can be inspected quite closely, revealing the insane amount of effort and detail put into realistically rendering them in high quality.

The artefacts are then all gathered in a room called “Labo” where you can interact with them, jumping on buttons to open disc trays and smacking power buttons to hear the console’s iconic boot-up sounds, there’s a lot of fun to be had here just running around and inspecting your collection.

There’s even a Gatcha machine in this room which you can use to unlock even more artefacts, puzzle pieces, and small scenarios which play out throughout the area.

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Puzzle Pieces are used to complete the gorgeous murals on the Labo’s walls, which serve as loving homages to the PlayStation lineage. They can also be found within levels, with there being 4 to find in each stage.

Finding the collectables and filling up the Labo is incredibly satisfying and it truly is a lot of fun just taking a tour of the room and going on a nostalgia trip.

In short, the game’s not just Sony getting themselves off over their success, it’s a very respectful journey through torrents of nostalgia, a celebration of every player who’s joined them on their journey, no matter if they started with the PlayStation, or only just hopped on board today and I can really feel the love.

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There’s even a surprise guest in a bonus level at the end of the game. I won’t spoil the surprise but I definitely made some very excited noises when I saw what was in store!

My Astro’s Playroom Trophy Experience

Collectable-focused

Our approach to this game was pretty standard. When we entered into a new stage, we took care to check every nook and cranny for collectables (while writing this Astro’s Playroom Collectable Guide), refusing to progress to the next stage until we had them all.

Typically, we’d find them quite easily and rarely had to even consider whether to progress without collecting everything, but I’m not ashamed to admit there were one or two levels here and there which we had to restart so we could take a second look to find the more well-hidden ones.

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One such collectable that I missed the first time around is this puzzle piece down here on the left.

After each stage, we’d play around in the Labo for a bit, grab some new items from the Gatcha Machine and pick up a few misc trophies while we were there.

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A trophy we got for hitting the PS icon on the PlayStation 2 Slim.

Naturally, by the time we finished the main stages of the game, we’d gathered all of the collectables in every one and just needed to use our money on the Gatcha Machine to collect the rest!

After a short stint at the Gatcha Machine, we took the time to do the time trials in the Network Speed Run area, which are a full set of 8 unique but short stages. For one particular trophy, we had to complete them all with a total time of 7 minutes or less, which we were able to do with ease – only needing to replay one or two that we didn’t run very well the first time around.

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Cleanup

All we had left then was a pleasant handful of miscellaneous trophies, from shooting rabbits with a bow in Mt. Motherboard, to taking shelter from the rain in Gusty Gateway.

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While we had managed to collect most of these throughout our initial stab at each level, there were quite a few which required us to revisit some stages and do things we’d missed the first time.

The majority of the remaining trophies, though, were found in Labo. For example, we had to unlock trophies from the Gatcha Machine, find them in the room, and then grab one.

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The last misc trophy we needed to get was for shooting an enemy spitter’s projectile out of the air using the bow, something which was simple to do but that we never would have thought to try until we checked out the trophy list to see what was left.

Having done that, the platinum popped on screen and we sat and smiled for a moment, sad to see the experience end, but glad to have been a part of it.

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Time Breakdown

Grabbing the collectables

Clean-up

Astro’s Playroom Trophy Guide

Just got your PlayStation 5 console and are ready to grab your very first PS5 platinum? There’s no better place to do this than in the console’s pre-installed launch title; Astro’s Playroom! And our Trophy Guide will help you do it!

Check out our Astro’s Playroom Trophy Guide here.

That concludes my Astro’s Playroom Review. If you enjoyed reading this review, please do let us know, it means the world to us when we hear feedback and we love engaging with people over the game we just platted. It’s basically the only thing motivating us at the moment!

You can follow us on Twitter @GetPlat and Instagram @platget where we’ll be sharing updates, screenshots, upcoming reviews and general gripes about the games we’re working on so feel free to follow us or use it as another channel for feedback!

Verdict

Plat

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You should absolutely plat this game! Whether you only load it up because your AAA titles are downloading, or if you never had any intention to do so, it's an experience you absolutely need to have and will show you the real joys of the DualSense - don't miss out!

Pros

  • Incredible showcase of the DualSense Features
  • Lovingly crafted homage to the PlayStation lineage's history
  • Insane attention-to-detail on artefacts

Cons

  • Some of the more gimmick-based levels are a lot less fun than just the straight-up platforming stages
  • I'd have loved it to be longer
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Platinum Trophy

This game isn't just a poorly-crafted budget demo they've thrown in with the console, it's a fully-fledged game and a celebration of how far we've come. There's so much care and thought put into every single corner of the game and it fully exceeds expectations.

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About the Author

More fond of single-player experiences and story-driven games than anything else, TheDblTap has a keen eye for secrets and collectables, a skill which serves him well as a Trophy Hunter. However, with little patience and poor timing, he can struggle where MrZhangetsu would succeed.

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