Nostalgic explosion of the past
Astro Bot Rescue Mission remains one of the best RV’s on Playstation 4. A simple yet effective platform works perfectly with the controller and helmet to create an incredibly exciting experience. He also brought another unlikely Sony mascot, in the form of a cute robot called Astro.
The Japanese EIS studio returns to a much smaller VR experience with a 2-5 hour platform in the Astro game room. This studio has always been smart enough to innovate while demonstrating the best technology Sony has to offer, and here you are at the wheel of this charming freebie with the Playstation 5.
In a sense, this is more of a technical demonstration than a truly complete game, despite a few familiar moves that resurface in this sequel. Of course you have jumps and slides, as well as the same boxes and equipment used in the healing mission. This time, however, Playroom takes advantage of the new features of the PS5 DualSense controller to promote and improve on what was previously.
What can be very simple – advertising for the Playstation – evaporates quickly and turns into a 26 year party that returns to what was in the reassuring history of Sony. At the same time, it offers a noticeably inspiring and reassuring glimpse into the future of this new generation of games.
The Astro Game Room is a very simple but very enjoyable platform game, with a maximum working time of 3 to 5 hours. The platform is divided into four different zones, eloquently marked by the four colours of the Dualshock buttons: red, blue, green and pink.
Each of these areas is then divided into four sub-divisions, combining a simple platform (usually in parts one and three) with global activities using additional control functions.
In one world, use the Touchpad to click on a rolling ball as you negotiate obstacles and collect coins. Another time use the L2 and R2 triggers to control the height of the costume of the Jumping Frog or to scratch the side of the mountain like a monkey.
Each of them is useful in the context of a game very similar to the famous technical demonstration of these sections, to show what the controller can be used for in the future.
Given the innovative nature of these various components, especially with the sensitive and submerged vibrations associated with them, this creates a promising future perspective. Again, since the latest generation has quickly left the touch screen, it remains to be seen whether the developers are still using this feature or not.
There isn’t much history to tell either, so we’re back to the old idea that this is a glorified technical demonstration. Talk about demos: At the end of the game, after the completion of the four main worlds, there is a beautiful integration, with a special boss battle that represents a huge bang from the past.
In the meantime, I won’t say anything about spoilers. Suffice it to say that it is a great way to quickly see how far animation and graphics have gone in the early days of PS1.
Astro’s aesthetic range is fantastic and the brightness of the colours is truly striking on all levels. But in all this, there’s a special fragrance for Playstation that flows in triangular colours and jumping fields with an on/off button.
Also impressive is the layout of the drawing, which allows you to see far enough where enemies are walking according to simple patterns and platforms above you. There are also some cases where the time is indicated here, which gives a slightly different graphical impression.
There hasn’t been a single case of framerate drops in all this time. This is clearly visible on a level that produces tons of enemies while they are armed with a machine gun. This conscious sense of the level of design to demonstrate these different ideas continues into the game.
Besides these four worlds there is a litany of puzzle pieces and artifacts to collect. Given the aforementioned desire to describe this experience as purely PlayStation based, everything that is unlocked here works in exchange for all the pleasures that Sony has released over the years for PlayStation and its accessories.
From buzz controllers and SingStar microphones to thin-line Playstation 2 consoles, these explosions of nostalgia for the past remind us how far the game has come in such a short space of time.
You can also interact with these collectors based on the levels in the special Lab area, which acts as a playroom. In the back of this large outdoor area is even a Gatcha machine, with which hard-earned coins can be exchanged for prizes.
These calls are of three kinds – four if you count the useless soda cans that appear from time to time. The artifacts are in golden spheres, the special astro-statuses in white and transparent spheres for puzzle pieces. Most can be unlocked over time, but it takes some effort if you want to end up with a platinum trophy.
Astro’s Playroom has never felt like a platform in itself, because it has a natural desire to showcase all the tricks and innovative design features of DualSense. Don’t get me wrong, because it’s free on Playstation 5, but the lack of intrigue and functional but forgotten levels makes it hard to remember when you’re done playing.
In a year that has already yielded us several amazing platform names, Astro’s Playroom looks like another well oiled cog in a big, imposing car.
Nostalgia is enough to carry that, and as someone who grew up with games from the early days of the Amiga on the way to 5 different Sony Playstation consoles, Astro’s Playroom is an incredibly fun and beautiful journey back in time.
Although these memories are likely to be short rather than long, this dazzling 2-5 hour journey is the perfect tribute to the beginning of this new era of the game.
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