Astro’s Playroom arrives pre-installed on every PlayStation 5 and essentially serves as an introduction to Sony’s new DualSense controller, brilliantly showcasing its resistive triggers and uncanny haptic feedback. Not only is the game a love letter to the PlayStation generation, it’s a strong statement for Sony’s vision for the future of gaming. We went into this one unsure of what to expect from the new controller, but it really is something genuinely exciting. In some respects, Astro’s Playroom is the Wii Sports for PlayStation 5: the control system feels new and special and the game does a great job in selling the advantages to new PS5 owners.
The game itself is worthy of praise too – it may well be a free inclusion with every console, but this is no mere tutorial or demo: there’s a real game here and it’s a lot of fun. And beyond the remarkable feedback from the controller, the main aspect that really sticks out to me is the creativity on display. Making innovative use of the controller, Playroom really introduces a lot of neat mechanics and concepts into the mix that instantly helps you to understand what the DualSense brings to the table. The development team really is good at this – Astro Bot helped to introduce players to PSVR and eventually it received its own game, which is one of the best virtual reality experience ever made. Perhaps not surprisingly, the developer channels a lot of that work into this new game.
What’s perhaps ironic about Astro’s Playroom as a next generation showcase is that visually, this isn’t a game that pushes boundaries – but it doesn’t really matter. It’s still a gorgeous game to behold, with a clean 4K output running at 60 frames per second with support for HDR. Beyond that, it’s packed with little details around every corner: water that reacts and ripples as you move through it, physics-driven objects often litter your path, tumbling about as you run into them and all the little enemies and objects are supremely well crafted.