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Astro's Playroom Cooling Springs stage is a delightful introduction to the power of PS5 and DualSense

You've got your new PS5, lovingly unpacked it, and given it pride of place underneath your TV. While you wait for Spider-Man: Miles Morales or Fortnite to download, you'll want to check out Astro's Playroom, the game, and showcase that PlayStation has cleverly pre-installed on the PS5. It's a cute and colorful ride through the innards of your new favorite machine, and you can see what's in store for the Cooling Springs level right here. 

Astro's Playroom follows on from the tradition of the PS4's Playroom, which also came preinstalled and was also the work of ASOBI Team. The first Playroom focused on the augmented reality capabilities of the PS4's camera, letting you tickle a robot or play holographic air hockey. Astro's Playroom looks like a much more traditional game, with a lot more to say about what developers can unlock from the PS5's new capabilities. 

Cool as a frozen cucumber

Astro's Playroom

(Image credit: Sony)

The level Cooling Springs is like a resort for robots, packed with important lessons about all the new things your PS5 - and that new DualSense controller - can do. Prepare to use the touchpad to zip your bot into a spring bounce suit, or blow into the microphone to spin a pinwheel that'll power an ice platform across the water. Motion control hasn't gone away either, and once you're in a spring bounce suit you tilt the DualSense to control the direction of your bounce. And that's just in one level.

It also makes the most of that subtle new haptic feedback, which lets you feel the building tension of a bouncing spring thanks to the new adaptive triggers, or the tinkling of shattering ice, as you explore collecting coins, punching enemies, and collecting artifacts that will be familiar to any PlayStation fan. The haptic feedback is actually the biggest factor in my new love affair with DualSense, and what it could mean for the next-generation of games. Think of feeling your own racing heartbeat in a horror game, the twang of a bow and arrow, the click of an empty magazine in your space pistol, and you'll get why the potential for haptic feedback is so exciting. 

Astro's Playroom

(Image credit: Sony)

Of course, it all looks incredible too, harnessing the power of PS5 to make colors that pop so hard you optic nerves will feel it, and making those Pixar-esque little astrobots look like you could reach into the screen to pat their plastic little heads. ASOBI Team has made sure that wherever you are, there's something to see - other bots burying each other in sand, filming each other, playing Dude Raider on their own tiny console, looking for butterflies, giving a little nod to PaRappa the Rapper with some cardboard cutouts. Someone had some fun cramming all this in, and it's almost impossible not to get infected with it. 

Astro's Playroom might not be the game you buy the PS5 for, but it is one that you should give a chance. As well as being the perfect showcase for the potential packed into the latest PlayStation, it's a genuine delight to explore.

If you’re still looking to put down a pre-order for your own PS5 unit before launch next month on November 12, head over to our PS5 pre-orders guide for a complete list of retailers with current stock.

Rachel Weber

I'm the benevolent Queen of the US, or - as they insist I call it - US Managing Editor. I write news, features and reviews, and look after a crack team of writers who all insist on calling trousers "pants" and don't think the phrase fanny pack is problematic.