While it might be tempting to dismiss Astro's Playroom as a free gimmick for new PS5 owners, it's actually anything but. Yes, it is free and pre-installed on your PS5, but what better reason than to give it the well-earned spot of your first-played PS5 launch game? Well, actually, I've got seven great reasons why you need to play Astro's Playroom on PS5 before you do anything else. I promise you won't regret it.
1. It's free and pre-installed
Okay, so I'm labouring the point a little here, but whether you're unwrapping your PS5 on launch day, at Christmas, or just whenever you feel like you deserve it / can afford it, you can be safe in the knowledge that Astro's Playroom is just there waiting for you.
Anything that's shiny and new is going to be locked behind a download time for now, or a potentially hefty PS5 patch, so why not bide your time while you wait by exploring Astro's Playroom?
2. You get to explore the power of PS5
Astro's Playroom is a bit like one of those Saturday morning cartoons where they take a tiny spaceship through the human body to see how it works. Technically set inside the PS5 itself, each area of Team Asobi's next-gen showcase takes you on a fantastical tour through core components of Sony's new console.
You've got Cooling Springs for the PS5 fan system; SSD Speedway for an intro to that shiny new internal hard drive; Memory Meadow for a wander through the 16GB GDDR6 RAM on board; GPU Jungle (complete with very catchy theme tune) for a look at what's powering next-gen graphics; and even a CPU Plaza to bring them all together. While it might not be a realistic portrayal of what the inside of your PS5 looks like, it's a great way for new players to learn more about the PS5 without having to stare at a specs sheet.
3. It shows off the new DualSense features wonderfully
But, more importantly, it's the best way to introduce you to the brand new DualSense controller. Two of the key differences between the DualSense and the PS4 DualShock 4 are haptic feedback, and the ability to limit the movement of the triggers on the DualSense. Both are used in really creative ways in Astro's Playroom, allowing you to feel the true power of each in their application within games.
You'll be able to feel the different textures that Astrobot moves across, the different movement styles he has, and even something as simple as the feeling of crushing a gacha machine toy between the fingers of his robotic hand. I won't spoil the intricate details of everything you'll experience in Astro's Playroom, but it's a delight from start to finish.
4. It's crammed full of gaming Easter eggs and references
While you're experiencing the PS5 inside and out, make sure to see how many little PlayStation gaming Easter eggs and references you can spot. As you progress through each level, you'll realise that Astro's Playroom's world is absolutely packed with them.
The little bots will be acting out scenes from various PlayStation games - exclusives and multi-platform titles to boot - so keep your eyes peeled for a little bot pointing a big camera to help you spot them. I kid you not, there are literally hundreds of them across the game to be found.
5. It's a fantastic tour through PlayStation history
PS5 is basically the culmination of five generations and 20+ years of PlayStation gaming, and Astro's Playroom is a huge celebration of that. There's an area in the game called PlayStation Labo (although Nintendo might want a word about that), which is the place where you'll gather all the collectibles you'll find in game.
These take the form of Astro's Playroom artefacts, which are basically all the various PlayStation hardware releases since the original PS One, ranging from consoles to peripherals and game formats. Then there are the Astro's Playroom puzzle pieces, which will join together to form two huge murals across the back walls of PlayStation Labo.
It's a nostalgic joy ride through PlayStation history, and I got weirdly emotional while collecting the full set. It helps of course that you can clamber over them all and interact with them inside the Labo area too. There's even a huge Easter egg for the dedicated players to discover in the basement.
6. And a surprisingly good game to boot
Tech showcases and tours through next-gen innards aside, there's also the fact that Astro's Playroom is just a really good game too. It features some neat mechanics, beautifully crafted levels, and some silly jokes to boot, all combining to make a delightful little package stuffed full of appeal.
7. You can get your first PS5 Platinum
Oh, and did I mention that the trophy hunter among you will be pleased to hear that it could also be your first PS5 Platinum? Go on, treat yourself.
Don't forget to get your PS5 pre-order in while you can, and watch our PS5 review below to find out why: