I remember, vividly, the review process for Astro Bot’s Rescue Mission. There were certain segments of the media, bound by embargo, who were bursting to talk about the PlayStation VR game. I actually recall one critic – I apologise, I can’t remember who – comparing the title on Twitter to Super Mario 64, in terms of its impact on the platformer genre. While I wouldn’t go quite that far myself, I remember seeing the comparison hand-waved away by forum posters and social media users, and thinking to myself: you have no idea.
Because make no mistake, Astro Bot’s Rescue Mission is not just one of the Best PSVR Games available – it’s also one of the Best PS4 Games period. And I think it’s really important that Astro’s Playroom has opened the franchise to a wider audience, because now perhaps more non-VR players will understand what everyone was so enthusiastic about back in 2018.
So for those of you who haven’t played it – and you can enjoy it on PS5 if you want to through backwards compatibility, you just need the PlayStation Camera adaptor – I’m going to give you the hard-sell on this wonderful title one last time. It plays much like Astro’s Playroom in many ways – there’s light combat, you can glide by double pushing the jump button – but the main difference is that the levels completely immerse you.
Think of it like this: in Astro’s Playroom, you’re looking through a window into the game. Make no mistake, it’s a wonderful, whimsical window – but it’s a window nonetheless. In Astro Bot’s Rescue Mission, however, there’s no window – instead, the levels are built around you. That means there are platforms below you, above you, and from side-to-side. It’s like sticking your head inside a fish bowl, except Astro’s world is being beamed onto the entire inner-surface.
It’s an unbelievably immersive experience, and it feels surprisingly natural to play. When you need to run from left-to-right, your head naturally follows the path of the character, meaning you’re seeing different parts of the world as you look around. The gameplay is similarly imaginative, using the DualShock 4’s various features and functions to provide a surprisingly tactile experience – although it obviously lacks the haptic feedback you’ll have experienced with the DualSense in Astro’s Playroom.
The level design is just as good, though, and crucially there’s more of it. Where you can see all four worlds of Astro’s Playroom in a couple of hours if you’re not a completionist, it’ll take you a good seven or so hours to complete all of the levels in Astro Bot’s Rescue Mission, and there are multiple boss fights spread across its campaign.
Look, I know PSVR is not for everyone, but I do think it’s worth reiterating: Astro Bot’s Rescue Mission is every bit as good as Astro’s Playroom – in fact, it’s almost like an extension of that game, with more levels but equally enjoyable gameplay. I personally think platformers excel from this perspective in virtual reality – there’s just something unique about having the levels physically surround you.
If you loved Astro’s Playroom, and you’re looking for more, then just remember this is an option. Yes, you’ll need a PSVR headset – but it’s worth it the price of admission for more Astro Bot!
Has your interest in Astro Bot Rescue Mission increased since the release of Astro’s Playroom? Were you already a fan of the lovable platforming mascot? Locate all of the hidden bots in the comments section below.