Despite the high interest in virtual reality, I got close to PlayStation VR only recently and with some fear too much. First of all there is a poor stock of titles of that originality that would push players to purchase; secondly there is the technology itself which - especially on consoles - I personally still consider rather immature, at least as far as the videogame field is concerned. Well, I did not think a game like Astro Bot: Rescue Mission could make me change my mind so easily.
I am not exaggerating in saying that the work of Japan studio it is able to entertain even the greatest layman of the platform genre and amaze those who would not have bet even a penny on VR. Astro Bot is an electrifying concentrate of fun and genius, but let me tell you why.
It so happens that, a few days after the meeting with Rescue Mission, the undersigned has tried for the first time PlayRoom VR, free collection of minigames which also includes the prototype of the adventure we are going to tell you about. That's right, the little robot with the cloak had made its first appearance two years ago, when he had already managed to conquer us with nothing short of surprising mechanics.
The adventure entirely dedicated to Astro Bot has finally seen the light and kept us glued to PlayStation 4 for about 5 hours, the time it takes to complete its 26 levels of play. There are five worlds that we will be able to explore in Rescue Mission and on which we will find the robots that were part of the crew of our spacecraft, now destroyed following the encounter with an evil alien. The only member to have saved himself from the clash is Captain Astro Bot and it will be up to him to rescue his subordinates, threatened by monstrous and somewhat bizarre creatures.
Speaking of the planets we will visit, they surprised us with their incredibleness heterogeneity. We started from the urban environments of the first levels of the game to quickly move to a world dominated by nature, even exploring the seabed and ... the belly of a whale. Each 'globe' will thus be distinguished by a certain aesthetic style, but also by a different approach in terms of gameplay that gives a further pinch of variety to the entire formula. There will be a side dish an excellent musical accompaniment, composed of fitting and never disappointing pieces.
At the end of each world our hero will have to face an enemy of colossal dimensions, whose boss fight they will foresee completely unexpected solutions and a wise use of the tools at our disposal - as we will see shortly. Once we have overcome the five main obstacles, we will reach the final battle, the one in which we will be able to avenge our poor crew.
It will take just a minute to familiarize yourself with the elementary control system: with the analog stick we will be able to take control of Astro Bot, while moving our head we will view the game world 360 degree. This last option will not only be a pleasant excuse to take a closer look at the details that characterize the colorful levels - and enjoy the sensation of immersion - but it will also be an essential mechanic for identifying all the robots scattered in the surrounding environment. .
While some crewmembers will be easily found, many others will in fact be hidden behind walls, plants and other obstacles that we may not instantly see; then it will be essential to lean out with your head to scrutinize the world in which we are immersed meticulously. We don't hide from you that we were caught off guard when we surprised some little robots while they were taking a tan on a distant tropical island, with other little creatures who in the meantime were dedicated to much more productive activities, including gardening. Yep, that's exactly what happened.
Yet the one just described represents only one of the many possible interactions that will involve the user wearing the PlayStation VR viewer. In many levels we will find ourselves at breaking through walls to the sound of heads - without making excessive movements, of course - or to eliminate annoying fluttering enemies, making the work of our valiant Astro Bot easier.
And while we try to avoid a stiff neck, as we progress through the campaign we will unlock a series of gadgets and accessories for our most faithful companion, the DualShock. This is where the talented Japan Studio team seems to have given free rein to their own creativeness: with a simple touch of the trackpad, our controller can magically transform itself into a slingshot, a grappling hook, a water cannon and so on and so forth; these will allow us to overcome certain obstacles and slow down the most annoying enemies. Needless to say, we spent more time shooting water at hostile robots than pursuing the mission's true goal.
Returning to the technical sector and holding the magnifying glass we have had only positive feedback. Astro Bot: Rescue Mission is one of the most beautiful titles to watch wearing the viewer of PlayStation VR, thanks to a reduced blur effect - at least from what we saw on PS4 Pro, with the right calibration - and an excellent general cleaning. Applause also for the work done on models and animations, thanks to an extremely realistic realization of the materials and objects with which we will come into contact and to the fluidity that will animate Astro Bot and the other protagonists of this space adventure.
Bad news, however, for those who tend to suffer from motion sickness, 'side effect' of many VR games that unfortunately will not be missing even in this experience, albeit to a lesser extent.
The sound, as anticipated, will cheer you with the amazing soundtrack mentioned above, but also with environmental effects that will greatly benefit from the support to the3D audio: this will allow us to more easily track down the robots hidden in the game levels, even using the simpler headsets included with PSVR - even better, however, if you have a headset available.
So what about this Astro Bot: Rescue Mission? Simple: if you own a PlayStation VR it would be a crime to ignore the original creation of SCE Japan Studio. There have been very few games that have been able to intelligently exploit the VR peripheral and that, at the same time, have managed to conquer us with lots of healthy fun - and with an at least acceptable visual sector. Too bad only for the price (€ 39,99), still slightly high for the overall amount of content.
The super-robot has exceeded all our expectations and, to be honest, we already miss it.
- Lots of variety in the levels
- Original and fun gameplay
- Intelligent use of headset and controller
- Excellent technical sector
- 5 hours will not please everyone
- Price a little high