Japan Studio, rings a bell? These are the guys who have created hits such as Ape Escape from way back, Patapon, Ico, Knack, and much more. Japan Studio tends to push the peripheral hardware boundaries with their titles and with their latest foray into PSVR territory, they’ve sure made something special that it in itself may warrant a reason to purchase the rather pricey headset. Check out our review of Astro Bot Rescue Mission!
Astro Bot Rescue Mission takes it’s cute characters straight off of the Playroom title, which is why they may seem to be very familiar at first glance. Sporting its own title, Astro Bot is a platformer of sorts, and I say that because it’s a different take on the platformer type of games that you are used to. Thanks to the use of the PSVR peripheral, platformer takes on a whole new meaning as you’ll need to use the full breadth of motion to fully immerse yourself in the world. Immersion as well takes on a whole new meaning as there are some small details to it that make this title shine, such as the screen “cracking” when you take damage. It’s not a new idea by any means, but for what it’s worth, the implementation here is something quite admirable and adds that certain oomph to the experience.
As you put on the PSVR headset, you’re immediately thrust into a rich and vibrant world right in front AND around you. If you’re like me who isn’t used to the peripheral as much, it WILL take a bit of getting used to, that’s no question. I’ve yet to count the number of times I have fallen off the ledge just because I couldn’t quite get my bearings together. This game will force you to get creative and will require the extra effort – moving around the world will have you peek through crates and corners, enemies will require your coordination while you traverse the obstacles – it’s a bit of a challenge at first but you’ll get used to it soon enough. It’s this sense of “control” that made me appreciate the game more than I would normally have, and I’d have to say great job at taking this into a game and implementing it properly. I’d personally like to know your reactions once you encounter the slime spitting enemies!
As you play, you’ll note that in each level, your main goal is to rescue your 8 crew members, hence the term rescue mission. You guessed it, some may be in plain sight but some are hidden well enough that you’ll need your wits about you to get them out of the mess that they’re in. Rescuing these robots is actually enjoyable on its own There are a couple of other things to collect within a level, and one of them is a chameleon that is well hidden from plain sight (duh) which may require much more attention to detail for you to find. Capturing these unlocks challenge levels and completing those may reward you with additional crew members. Its a rather simple and straightforward affair, but definitely a welcome one given that a lot of the recent releases like Spider-Man and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey require so much to do.
That said, the whole campaign will probably set you back anywhere from 5-7 hours, 7 for me during my first try because it took me a while to get acquainted with the PSVR headset but as mentioned, once you get the hang of it you’ll be breezing through some of the levels like a champ. Take the campaign completion hours with a grain of salt because as previously mentioned, there are other items to collect as well and with the inclusion of challenge levels, expect your play time to maybe even double if you want to complete everything.
I did say that Japan Studio is known for trying to push the hardware limits and this game is no different. As you play through the levels, you have the ability to turn your controller into a tool that uses motion and touchpad inputs for you to utilize. See a ledge that’s too far? Use your grappling hook to cross the gap. It doesn’t feel gimmicky and the implementation for the game is spot on. As with everything VR, it will take a couple of tries to get it down pat but soon after, it’ll be second nature.
- Graphics are amazing
- Immersive experience
- Simple yet fun gameplay
- VR is not for everybody and you may be forced to chunk down your playthroughs.
- Enemies have very little variety
Final Verdict: 8.5/10
Astro Bot Rescue Mission, at its core, is a simple and fun game. Some titles tend to go heavy with the intricacies and details but Astro Bot is a prime example that gameplay and immersion is all that really matters… And gorgeous graphics! The environments within the game are beautiful and with the PSVR headset strapped in, it isn’t hard to appreciate the world that Japan Studio has made. Controls take a bit of getting used to but it’s intuitive enough to not turn a first time PSVR user away. I feel that so much of the PSVR’s potential has yet to be tapped into but with games like Astro Bot, we can see shades of what the future has in store for VR games as a whole.
*Astro Bot Rescue Mission was reviewed on a PSVR PS4 Pro setup via a review code provided by the publisher.