Reaction: You Said You Were Sick of PS5's Sad Dad Sims, So You Better Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is 1
Image: Push Square

For years now, Sony has been criticised for its supposedly samey first-party software. You’ve probably seen that meme circulating on social media, which shows a trio of trees from God of War, The Last of Us, and Days Gone. It’s nonsense, of course, how do you even make different looking trees? But it obviously represents an underlying sentiment: that PlayStation’s exclusives all look and feel the same, with overly serious storylines and hyper-realistic visuals.

This Christmas, though, there’ll be none of that – and if you’ve ever been critical of the organisation’s output, this is a good opportunity to put up and shut up. Astro Bot is leading the way, of course: a charming platformer with pin-point controls, colourful visuals, and ear-worm audio. If it’s anything like previous entries, this will be straight out of the Nintendo playbook: whimsical, inventive from start-to-finish, and above all else fun.

We’ve already seen some corners of the web criticising the release’s price point, like platformers should inherently cost less than the latest first-person shooter or action adventure. While it’s ultimately up to you where you spend your hard-earned readies, it’s perhaps worth remembering there’s a reason Sony’s become known for its Sad Dad Sims: they bring home the bacon, and justify their exorbitant investment ten-fold. If you want more Astro Bot than angst, make sure the firm knows.

Reaction: You Said You Were Sick of PS5's Sad Dad Sims, So You Better Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is 2

It's not the only light-hearted game the company’s got cooking this Christmas, by the way: LEGO Horizon Adventures may be inspired by a franchise that subscribes to a more familiar Sony schematic, but it’s clear Guerrilla and its development partners are having a lot of fun here. Voice actress Ashly Burch is having the time of her life making protagonist Aloy as silly as possible, and even the graphics – made up entirely of Denmark’s most famous toy-based export – are delightfully light-hearted.

This is Sony targeting families for once, something it hasn’t really done since the Buzz years – one-off titles like Sackboy: A Big Adventure and perhaps the odd Ratchet & Clank aside. It’s the type of title that, once again, those fed up of PlayStation’s self-serious escapades should be lining up for; you’re not going to get a new Sly Cooper or Jak & Daxter if you don’t show up for these.

Obviously, we’re not encouraging you to cough up your cash just on the off-chance of it helping to greenlight something else, but for all those who’ve lost interest in Sony’s output, this year’s holiday lineup is clearly looking to buck the trend. This is a great opportunity to put your money where your mouth is: if you feel PlayStation’s first-party output has been getting stale and samey, then it’s genuinely got something different on the docket this time. But, at the end of the day, there’ll only be more like this if these titles succeed.

Reaction: You Said You Were Sick of PS5's Sad Dad Sims, So You Better Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is 3

Are you looking forward to Sony’s first-party games this holiday? Are you happy to see the platform holder push a different type of title for a change? How do you think the likes of Astro Bot and LEGO Horizon Adventures will perform? Take yourself less seriously in the comments section below.

Which games will you be buying?