The cute little bots from The Playroom and The Playroom VR became the de facto mascots of the PlayStation 4, and the fact that their faces bear a vague similarity to a virtual reality (VR) headset meant that seeing them return for more adventures in VR for almost inevitable. At E3 2018, the VRFocus team managed to try out the Astro Bot Rescue Mission demo and report their findings.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission is a third-person VR platformer, working in a similar way to other titles such as Moss or Lucky’s Tale. The player takes control of Astro, who is the captain of a ship whose crew has gone missing across various planets.
As with The Playroom, the conceit is that the bots live inside the Dual Shock Controller, and pop out from under the touch pad area as if it were a hatch. Its designed to be very cute and endearing, as well as making full use of the various functions of the Dual Shock 4 controller, requiring players to use the motion control aspects along with the touchpad and the standard buttons and thumb sticks.
Astro can jump, hover, run and the player can take action to help keep Astro safe, which becomes particularly challenging during the end-of-level boss fights. Players can use the VR to peek around the levels and find hidden items or different pathways to take.
One frustration noted was that there doesn’t seem to be much option for backtracking, which is a time-honoured tradition among platform and RPG videogame fans. The levels seem to have a kind of ratchet scrolling effect, so if you accidentally miss on of your objectives, it is difficult, of not outright impossible, to go back.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission is being developed by Sony Japan Studio for PlayStation VR, though a release date for the title is yet to be confirmed. You can check out the full hands-on video report below. VRFocus will be sure to bring you the latest on new and upcoming VR titles.