We Finally Played A PS5 Game, And It Literally Feels Like Something New

We Finally Played A PS5 Game, And It Literally Feels Like Something New
Screenshot: Sony / Kotaku

After months of online events featuring real gameplay footage of games running on the PlayStation 5, we finally got our hands on the real thing. It’s not Miles Morales: Spider-Man. It’s not Demon’s Souls. It’s the surprisingly engaging game Sony is bundling with every PS5, Astro’s Playroom.

Join us on a tour of the game’s frosty Cooling Springs level, the only level Sony will let us cover at the moment.

Astro’s Playroom stars the adorable robots that made their debut in 2013 as part of the PS4 pack-in game The Playroom. They later starred in 2018’s Astro Bot Rescue Mission for PlayStation VR and are back in this new game specifically to showcase Sony’s latest gaming tech.

Astro’s Playroom is a 3D platformer that serves as a tech demo of sorts for the PS5’s new DualSense controller. Players guide Astro through a series of levels based on the internals of a gaming console, collecting PlayStation artifacts, puzzle pieces, and coins, all while getting used to the DualSense controller’s unique features.

While I’ve captured video off of a PS5 to show you the level, I can’t as easily convey how impressive the new force feedback in the DualSense controller impacts the literal feel of the game. The DualSense hardly ever stopped rumbling as I ran Astro through Cooling Springs. The controller’s haptic feedback conveyed friction as the tiny robot rides the slide down into the level proper. I felt the robot hit the water. Running on sand conveyed a sort of crunching feeling, while walking through the localised sandstorm that leads to the next area peppered both my hands and ears with what seemed like grains of sand.

The controller’s touchpad, which is in the same spot as the PS4 controller’s, is used to zip Astro into a hopping suit. The suit jumps left or right along platforms using the DualSense’s motion tracking. The controller’s triggers, which the hopping suit uses to jump, are capable of generating resistance. Performing a short hop is a quick tap of the trigger. A longer hop requires holding the trigger down longer, which requires a bit more effort.

Screenshot: Sony / KotakuScreenshot: Sony / Kotaku

I don’t know if Astro’s Playroom looks like a next-generation game. It’s very pretty, but isn’t a massive leap beyond other 3D platformers I’ve played. What I will say is it feels like a next-generation game. The haptic feedback is an integral part of my enjoyment of the experience. That’s something new and exciting, and I’m looking forward to seeing what other PlayStation 5 games make me feel as the console’s library grows.

We’ll have more PS5 gaming impressions closer to the system’s release.


  • This game is obviously created to show all the new cool little features they’ve added. I cant help but wonder, how many of theses features will continue to be used throughout the new generation? Will other developers even bother to use them for cross platform games? Doubt it

      • I’m guessing Ring Fit does as well, since it wants you to cover it with your thumb when taking your pulse.

        But it fails 90% of the time, so it takes a lot of retries to get a reading. That or my usual ‘I can’t find veins!’ issue I get during blood tests is showing up in a different place.

      • Yeah that’s what I was thinking. If you look at the games that actually use the touch pad, at a guess, about 90% have are either owned by or have a deal with Sony. MOst developers will not bother

        Definitely has a Nintendo IR feel to it. I Don’t mind innovation at all, it pushes everyone to better things. Look at the WiiU, it had such great ideas that didn’t really work which lead us all the switch. I love the switch

        • Yeah, the only non Sony game I’ve seen that utilises more than 1-2 functions of the touch pad is Warframe which uses directional swiping for power usage.
          (I know other PC leaning games also made similar use but I didn’t play many of em)

          It’s definitely a nice to have feature, even if developers aren’t making full use of it yet because it can only get better as time goes on and puts them in a good position when developers start wanting extra functionally.
          I mean, many just want one or two extra buttons at the moment but if they want there’s around 14 extra basic functions and a broad number of complex functions to chose from.

      • Frankly, whenever a game insists on using the touchpad I get annoyed, because it’s not as easy to access as all the other inputs (I either have to stretch or take fingers away from other inputs) and is sometimes fiddly and misinterprets intended responses.

        I’m going to hazard a guess that many devs who ignore it have exactly the same criticisms I do, or are aware that many gamers are like me about it, and they don’t bother for that reason.

        However, by the sounds of it, the PS5 is including a bunch of this haptic feedback stuff into the other inputs beyond the touchpad, which is a welcome change that should probably see more use.

  • Really loving the sound of the new controller. So glad that Sony have decided to innovate rather than just stick a powerful graphics chip in and call it a day.

    I’m not expecting every game to make use of the additional features, but they are there, and have the potential to add nice chunk of immersion to those willing to use them.

  • Hopefully these new features aren’t like the Vita’s rear touchpad, or touchscreen features, which were showcased in a few games right at the beginning, then basically never used again.
    I am curious to see how often this stuff actually gets implemented into many games further down the track…

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!