‘Astro’s Playroom,’ an incredible love letter to the history of PlayStation

“Astro’s Playroom” artwork including the new PlayStation 5, “DualSense” controller. TEAM Asobi!/Sony

Alongside the release of the PlayStation 5, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Japan Studio, “Asobi Team,” developed a pre-installed free game available for all owners of the PlayStation 5, “Astro’s Playroom.” A sequel to the 2018 PlayStation virtual reality title, “Astro Bot Rescue Mission,” this smaller title serves more as a technical demonstration of the capabilities of PlayStation’s new “DualSense” controller. Taking advantage of the controller’s enhanced rumble, more precise touchpad, built-in microphone and adaptive triggers. 

Immediately when booting the game up it gives the player a short introduction on how the controller works and how each feature has been improved since the last console generation. On-screen, players will see many little robots thrown into the controller and allow them to hear them through the built-in speaker and feel them running around with the new controller rumble. Players will test the new touchpad by drawing a few pictures that appear on the screen, blowing into the microphone to switch on a fan and with the adaptive triggers, players will feel the tension while pressing down when trying to press down on them. 

It’s a unique experience, the controller’s feel truly makes the console feel next-gen and the game does not let go of that magic hanging on to it throughout the game. Astro’s Playroom is a 3D Platformer, Astro can jump, glide, spin and punch and that’s about it. Players launch Astro out of their controller by swiping on their touchpad and are greeted with four worlds to explore. 

The game world is entirely modeled after the inside of the PS5, the hub you start in “CPU Plaza” grants you four entrances to the game’s unique worlds. “GPU Jungle,” “Cooling Springs,” “SSD Speedway” and “Memory Meadow” are the four worlds you are able to explore, all with four levels each, dozens of collectibles and hundreds of easter eggs and references to the history and legacy of PlayStation. Each world has two levels focused on regular platforming and two levels utilizing a gimmick that focuses on the “DualSense” controller features. 

In some sections, players will equip a frog suit, where players utilize the controller’s motion controls to tilt and the triggers to jump. A monkey suit that uses the triggers to grab onto ledges and climb cliffs while using motion controllers, or even a ball suit where players swipe on the touchpad to control where the ball rolls. It’s a fun, short experience where each level does not overstay its welcome and some might even say that’s a downside. 

Since the game is pretty much just a tech demo for the controller, the game can be completed in around five-six hours. However, the experience is so enjoyable the whole way through that finding each and every collectible piece of PlayStation consoles, the peripherals and puzzle pieces that make this beautiful mural of PlayStation history. This game is truly for a PlayStation fan and grants so much nostalgia for those that have stuck with the console for years, no matter which iteration was their first.  

The number of references and easter eggs players will find whether it’s a small nod to an old forgotten piece of PlayStation, little Astrobots reenacting scenes from past PlayStation titles like “God of War,” “The Last of Us” or “Crash Bandicoot. ” All while platforming on controllers and old memory cards, this game is filled to the brim with nostalgia, and it could not be recommended enough. It’s free and already installed onto the player’s brand new PS5s so there’s no way that this should be missed out.