A thoughtful look at the new platformer that comes with every purchase of the new PlayStation 5 game console.

From the get go, you know Astro’s Playroom will be a different kind of an experience. A virtual version of the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller appears on the screen and with a flick up on the touchpad, the cartoon robot Astro jumps out. You enter a small, but tall room.

Here in this hub, called CPU Plaza, you find a variety of gates to the four worlds of the game. These tantalize you with bigger worlds to explore. But there are other things that draw your attention — strange switches, floating puzzle pieces, and a strange congregation of fellow robots in the level below you, viewable through the glass floor.

Playroom was developed by Asobi Team, a division of PlayStation’s Japan Studio. It is a platformer, a game where you move a character and jump platform to platform, usually facing enemies and challenges. Super Mario Bros. is a classic of this genre, as is Sonic the Hedgehog. And like heroes of the past, our protagonist has a variety of moves that are his own. Astro can jump, he can float for two seconds with jetpack-like tech, and he can punch enemy robots.

Playroom has that alluring combination that many great platforms have, a mix of challenge and exploration. As you go from world to world, you find your attention drawn to things to interact with, or paths to explore, or enemies to defeat.

Read the full article at Medium.