Astro Bot hands-on report – PlayStation.Blog

Astro is back with his biggest adventure yet, and I got a chance to play about 40 minutes in an early preview. Team Asobi’s colorful platformer is filled with stages with new power-ups, creative obstacles, and fun PlayStation guest characters.

The demo includes five fun stages to explore including full levels, smaller difficulty challenges, and a steamy wild boss fight. While there are only a few stages available to play in this preview, the galactic map hints at the scale of the final game — Astro’s new adventure features dozens of diverse stages and tons of gameplay. Guest bot to the rescue.

Let’s dive in.

Trusted platform control

If you’ve played through Astro’s Playroom, you’ll know that controlling this little robot is a tight and responsive experience. Astro still has the ability to jump, attack, a reliable spin attack, and flexible laser hovering abilities. If Team Asobi has made major updates to the core platform mechanics they are too subtle for me to notice. But if it’s not broken…!

A galaxy has many different difficulty levels

Astro Bot’s overworld (“universe?”) consists of multiple galactic maps. Once in the specific galaxy shown in the demo, countless colorful planets are scattered throughout the galaxy, each with its own level. Helpfully, hovering over each level displays its difficulty level (Easy, Normal, Hard).

Rattan garden

One of the “easy” levels in the galaxy, Sky Garden is a vision of an idyllic paradise with pink robo flamingos wading in inviting blue ponds. Cherry blossom trees dot the landscape with their petals floating on the water. Astro explores many connected floating islands during this period.

Astro hype

In the Sky Garden, Astro can collect a new item that can fill him with air, causing him to swell to plump proportions. Not only will this help you reach new potential heights, but it’s also adorable.

Swimming robot

Astro must have received a software update since Astro’s Playroom because he can now explore underwater to find bots and hidden treasure. The controls are simple, with the Circle button to go down and the X button to go up.

Hidden secret

Speaking of swimming, plunging into the pond will reveal an underwater area protected from water impact by a bubble dome. Defeating the enemy within will reveal a hidden vulnerability. Inside, a Rivet-themed robot from Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is being held hostage by a group of enemies. Defeating these thugs and draining the pool will free Rivet for a quick rescue. Subtle secrets like this underwater corner show that players will be continually rewarded for their exploration.

Construction derby

Astro heads to a mile-high construction site for this casual difficulty level (maybe the name is a reference to the original PlayStation game Destruction Derby?). Cranes, I-beams, scaffolding and other equipment reach above the clouds, creating precarious foundations. The sumo robot guards the helipad mid-level, forcing Astro to target his vulnerable back.

Jetpack for dogs

Like Sky Garden’s inflation abilities, Construction Derby has unique and cute gameplay mechanics. A new robotic canine companion latches onto Astro’s back, providing jet-propelled power for both effective attacks and mid-air propulsion. The powerful dash also allows Astro to break through specific walls to progress.

Unlock difficult levels

One planet in the galaxy, Swinging Sentry, is marked as Hard difficulty. The seemingly simple, short course features a lot of platforming with enemies brandishing shadow weapons and spiked chains. Don’t let the cute visuals and relatively short stage time fool you, Astro’s Hard difficulty will challenge seasoned platforming fans. Thankfully, the quick respawn after each failure makes it easy to keep playing.

Finishing this phase triggers a new comet to fly across the galaxy map, which explodes and takes on the form of another Hard level. In Slowdown Showdown, Astro throws an hourglass item to slow down enemies, platforms, and environmental hazards that move impossibly fast.

As a nice nod, both Hard stages are themed after PlayStation’s sacred symbols, Circle for Spinning Guard and X for Slow Race.

Fun stage design

The levels are bursting with exciting details and jewels that exist just to be played with. Bouncing inflatable balls will roll down the waterslide with you in the Sky Garden and Construction Derby filled with cans of sticky paint, shiny bolts and colorful spray paint cans. Throwing these trinkets around is fun, and the detailed physics add to the fun

PlayStation guest character

Rescuing the robot is one of Astro’s main directives. Like previous titles, these helpless fellows lurk around the levels, hanging from ledges, hidden in bushes, or trapped. The game menu shows how many bots are hidden throughout the level, and PlayStation icons highlight special guest bots. This subtle, fun wink leaves players excited to see what familiar references can be spotted around the corner. I won’t spoil the cameos here, but just know that there’s much, much more than just Astro’s Playroom.

Rescued bots will control the DualSense controller on your screen. Using the controller’s motion sensors to make these buddy robots somersault and bounce around is a real treat.

Soak the DualSense controller

Astro’s Playroom served as an introduction for players to the PS5 console when it launched as a pre-installed title on the console in 2020. The Asobi team continues to impress with its implementation Express the haptics and adaptive triggers of the DualSense controller.

Tactile effects convey terrain texture as the Astro rover moves across shaky grass, rough paths, or plunges into ponds. An interesting moment in Construction Race involves a puzzle in which Astro runs on a path made of circuitry, sensing a secret switch through his keen sense of touch.

Robot octopus boss battle

The big galactic boss in the demo is a giant octopus named Wako Tako. The underwater phase begins with Astro landing on a shipwreck, receiving new items for the upcoming battle. These extendable frog boxing gloves allow Astro to punch from a distance, pivot from grappling points, and hang on to the post for slingshot-style moves. Without taking away from the twists and turns of the boss fight, these gloves come in handy when destroying Wako Tako’s scuba mask. Rest assured, Team Asobi’s penchant for bombastic boss fights is thriving in Astro Bot.

New mythical companions

The preview ends by revealing new friends themed after Santa Monica Studio’s latest God of War game. Astro discovered an overturned canoe floating on the water. When you flip the boat upright, you’ll see adorable robot versions of Kratos and Atreus, and the crew flies together on the Dual Speeder.

I’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of game demos in my career, but rarely have I loudly groaned in frustration when the good times were about to end. Team Asobi is building an expansive and exciting game, bursting with the lifeblood of great foundations: variety. Get ready to explore Astro’s universe when Astro Bot launches on PS5 on September 6.


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