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'Astro's Playroom' Review: An Excellent Introduction To The DualSense Controller

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'Astro's Playroom' Review: An Excellent Introduction To The DualSense Controller

Astro's Playroom is a cutesy little platformer that comes bundled with the PlayStation 5, and features (unsurprisingly) Astrobot, Sony's sort-of mascot for the new console. Having previously made an appearance trying to shift PSVR units, Astrobot now has its very own game that owners of the PS5 should absolutely try out before jumping into any other title.

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As much fun as it is, Astro's Playroom is really just a way to get you accustomed with the brand new DualSense controller, showing off its capabilities and giving players a taste of what the incredibly impressive haptic feedback is capable of.

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The gameplay focuses around getting Astrobot from point A to point B with a few unique traversal options thrown in for good measure. Four unique biomes of sorts are open from the start of the game to explore at your leisure. Each of these represents part of the PlayStation franchises' history, running the gamut of themes from the PlayStation 1 all the way to the PlayStation 4.

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Within each level, are numerous cute callbacks and references to PlayStation titles from years gone by, and it's rewarding to poke around in every level to see what you can see happening, and how many of the throwbacks you recognise.

Aside from being a very fun little platformer in its own right with plenty of incentive to replay the levels and grab all the collectibles and puzzle pieces dotted around the levels (there's also the option to speedrun every level for the best time) it's the DualSense that absolutely steals the show.

Astro's Playroom/ Credit: Sony
Astro's Playroom/ Credit: Sony
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Each level or set of levels is used to put a spotlight on a particular function of the DualSense. One level has it rain and hail while a violent wind blows to highlight just what the excellent haptic feedback is capable of. Individual raindrops pulse out sporadically around the outer shell while gusts of wind ebb and flow giving you a perfect storm in the palm of your hand; it's truly next-level stuff.

Then there's the use of the bumper buttons. Astro has access to a very limited arsenal outside of its own fists (much like the rest of us) but is able to get a bow and a mini-gun at various points during the game. Gently squeezing the R2 button to draw back the bow string makes the bumper stiffen slightly against your finger, giving it a tangible feeling of tension as you aim your shot. The mini-gun on the other hand causes the bumper to oscillate rapidly, bumping up and down as each bullet (also see bouncy ball) is fired. These are small inclusions that make the world of difference in feeling connected to the world you're gaming in, and the potential of this mechanic is wild to imagine.

Astro's Playroom is just that; a playroom for the next generation - a small glimpse into what the PlayStation 5 will be able to do with the DualSense. There's no reason not to play it and for long time fans of the console there's a lot of really fun callbacks to dig deep and discover. Highly enjoyable gaming and not an extra penny spent? Please and thank you.

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8/10: Excellent

Pros: shows off the DualSense superbly, enjoyable for a couple of hours, literally doesn't cost anything

Cons: not very long, watching Astro die is quite upsetting

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For fans of: PlayStation consoles, literally any platformer ever

Astro's Playroom is out November 12th on PS5. PlayStation 5 code for review was supplied by the publisher. Find a guide to GAMINGbible's review scores here.

Featured Image Credit: Sony

Topics: PlayStation 5, News

Mark Foster
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