Who would have thought that a tiny robot would be responsible for the best VR game yet, but that’s exactly what’s happened, thanks to the arrival of Sony Japan’s Astro Bot: Rescue Mission.
The only other platformer I have played on PSVR is Moss, which was also a fantastic game and Astro Bot seems to follow a similar concept, having you look down on the main character, while being fully in control of his movements, although there will also be times where you use tools and even your head to interact with the environment and lend a hand.
As with any good platformer, the main premise behind the game is to rescue your friends, who in this case have been cast off into different parts of space by the enemy. This results in you visiting various planets, each with their own platforming challenge and minions to negotiate your way through, all while trying to find the missing crew members, who are often hidden out of sight.
Each level differs in many ways. At first, you’ll find yourself faced with general platforming, seeing you get from area ‘A’ to ‘B’ by negotiating your way past enemies, however as you move through the worlds things get a lot more complex for both you and the robot.
To aid you on the way, you’ll be given tools such a grappling hook, which you can fire to attach to various objects, allowing for you to create a tightrope for your robot friend to walk across, you can even bounce him up to collect coins and in some instances, robots awaiting rescue. Each world has its own new tool for you to discover and play with, although I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you what they are.
When it comes to combat, you can bash enemies using the square button, or jump above them and destroy them with your rocket boots, the latter of which can also be used to gain some distance to get from one platform to the other. Some enemies will also target you directly by spitting goo at you, which will have you shaking your head to get your vision back.
During missions, you will be able to find hidden chameleons and if you do you’ll unlock bonus levels. These levels are varied but give you the opportunity to win coins and rescue crewmates too. These challenge levels offer a fast-paced and mix things up a little from the main worlds since often they are a lot more difficult than anything else you’ve faced up to that point.
The main missions on each world all finish up with the classic ‘end of level boss.’ Each boss provides their own challenge, in the first world, for example, you’ll face a huge gorilla whose teeth you need to pull out, all while trying to avoid his flame attack, which spreads around across the floor. These boss levels aren’t overly challenging, however, they are a lot of fun.
To wrap things up, the coins you collect can be spent in your Astro Ship. Here you can wander around and even use a grab machine to win collectables, which can then be placed within the ship for you to interact with.
One of my favourite parts of the game is the different interactions there are between the main character and yourself, it’s both cute and clever. In one level, for instance, you are in an underwater world and if you make him ride on the back of a dolphin he’ll move past you and give a wave. Little moments like this really set this game apart from standard platformers and even better, they could really only be done in VR.
Speaking of VR, the sense of scale you get within Astro Bot Rescue Mission is amazing. The best compliment I can pay Astro Bot Rescue Mission is to say this is what I imagine even the most popular platformers would be like in VR. Everywhere you look this is something to see, and you’ll need to make sure you look around to ensure you find all the hidden coins and robots so that you can complete the worlds to the best of your ability.
To me, Astro Bot: Rescue Mission is platforming at its finest, it’s fun, looks fantastic and is challenging enough to keep you coming back for more. I can’t recommend Astro Bot highly enough, I just hope this is the start of more quality content for PlayStation VR.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*