Astrobot Preview – Big and Bot Tier


    When I first played Astro’s Playroom on PlayStation 5, I was blown away by its beautiful art style, engaging level design, and sheer charm. Each level was so carefully packed with easter eggs and fun platforming challenges that I assumed it was a positive side effect of the game’s short play time. The only way to pack that much joy into each stage was because the development team only had so many levels to work with, so a long game would probably feel less impressive. But after going hands-on with Team Asubi’s full sequel, Astrobot, I can confidently say that wasn’t the case. If the rest of the game is anything like the short piece I played, it’s full of joy.

    The game opens in a world map, a void of outer space. Astro can maneuver through the area using a spaceship shaped like a dual-sense controller and visit one of six galaxies: a red octopus, a blue gorilla, a purple bird, a yellow lizard. , a green snake, or rainbow swirl. Most of the options are off for the demo, so I just hop into a red octopus, and start the first level, Sky Garden.

    A floating tropical paradise, the Sky Garden is a level made up of beaches, palm trees and water pools. Gameplay begins with a short flying segment in a sky filled with Flamingo and Astro’s ship, which I control by tilting my DualSense controller. As we touch down, I familiarize myself with the controls, which are unchanged from the tech demo. I can smash robot enemies to pieces or hover over them to blast them with my laser feet, and both abilities look just as good as I remember. As I progress through the surface, I go down a huge waterslide, accompanied by a merry group of brightly colored beach balls.

    This is where I encounter the first power-up – a beach ball bag ability that sends Astro hurtling through the sky. I use it to reach a puzzle piece carried by a flying flamingo, and you can also use it underwater to quickly move up. Climbing underwater is especially helpful when I discover a hidden astroboat (there are seven levels to rescue) deep in a lake and need to get back to the surface. The experience of activating the ability with R2, which offers just enough resistance to feel significant, elevates the entire section, and I fly through the end of the level.

    The second phase is called Construction Derby, and is set in a planet with an active construction zone. After a few seconds of exploring the area, a giant robot gorilla appears in the distance, causing buildings to be destroyed. It goes away, and I expect a boss fight at the end of the level, but I get no such encounter – maybe it’s the same gorilla I saw in the blue galaxy on the world map.

    The stage is a blast to explore, complete with little gorilla-themed enemies, a magnet object that I use to hurl clusters of iron ingots at targets, and the doggy bag ability, which lets me do a few things. Allows to move through the air to break. Complete platforming challenges. This is the second powerup in as many levels, and it looks just as good as the first. I also go to a hidden room where I have to use paint to create otherwise invisible platforms, which allows me to climb up and meet a bot dressed as Parpa the Ripper. When the level is over, that bot and the other bots I saved to the overworld map with Astro. Meanwhile, my doggy bag gets a cute little robot doghouse, which makes sense.

    The final level is a boss fight against a strong red robot octopus, Waco Taco. Luckily, I’m equipped with my third power-up of the demo, a pair of robot frog gloves that I can use to punch, grab, and swing at distant objects. But Waco Taco is no joke – it attacks me with boxing gloves on its tentacles, which come from above and below, shooting through the sand to form the island I’m standing on. Fortunately, I’m able to hit the weak points on his gloves and snorkel, which causes him to back off and lead me into a platforming gauntlet where I’m sure to avoid the choppy waves. Have to make sure if I’m too low a bullet hits me. Earth.

    When I finally get to it, there’s only one more step. I gouge out both of his eyes, catch his tears, and use the frog gloves to throw me in his face, throwing him into the distance Team Rocket style. If Astro wasn’t a cute little cartoon, it would be pretty brutal.

    Now that Waco Taco is gone, I can see an overturned boat in the distance, so I approach it. As I flip it over, Kratos and Atreus appear, grateful that I saved them from the monster, and the three of us hop on the DualSense controller and rocket into the sky. Back on the hub world, I see that a new level has opened up, and it seems to be based on God of War: Ragnarök. Sadly I can’t access it during this demo, so I’ll have to wait for the full game release to see what it’s like.

    The last thing I do is visit the two new levels that appear, one based on the red circle and the other on the blue X, and each is a small platforming challenge. Once you practice and learn to do them correctly, you can beat each level in less than a minute, but they are much harder than the basic levels and take some getting used to. take I manage to clear the red level, which is surrounded by icy floating circles, but I don’t get a chance to beat the time-slowing challenge in the blue level before my demo runs out.

    I entered the preview with high expectations, but as soon as I left, those expectations were somehow exceeded. Astrobot is set to be one of the highlights of the PS5’s already impressive library, and the parts I’ve played easily compare to some of the other titans of 3D platformers. The game launches on September 6 as a PS5-exclusive.


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