When you have Virtual Reality in your hands, you can open a door to a gateway to anywhere you want to go to or become whomever you would like. But sometimes it’s the knowing that the door we are about to open is going to be the one we all want to go through. And I am more than happy to say that Developer Japan Studio has given us all the golden ticket with ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission for the PlayStation VR.
From the moment I heard the music, I knew everyone would be in for an awesome time and I haven’t even started playing yet. Just something about the title music gets into you that starts moving along with it.
So the story of ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission has this mean old bully of an alien riding in his UFO-like he runs the galaxy doesn’t like the way you look or anything and gets right up in your face. Since you didn’t’ back down, he decides to take the ship and try to rip it apart and in doing so pulls off the face of the ship and puts it on his head, clicks a button and turns into an even more evil alien. So the ship breaks apart into what will be the worlds you visit where your goal is to try to rescue as many of your bots as possible all while trying to recover the pieces of the ship.
But what I absolutely love about ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission is the designs of the levels. How each of the levels within its own world is themed. There are points where when you are moving ASTRO BOT that he sometimes will be going above you or you may have to look around to see one of his friends hidden below. Enemies can be flying at you or even spitting things in your direction that you will literally have to duck out of the way or even when a soccer ball comes flying at you that you have to use your head to hit it back. The way this all comes together in Virtual Reality from the atmosphere to the graphics is truly remarkable.
When you see an enemy you can hit them, but sometimes the enemies can trick you. Some may have spikes and some may land on top of you or some may be electrifying, the way you handle them starts to become second nature. Punching, super spinning, and even double jumping to have this extended jump can all do damage. Defeating enemies and along your adventure, you will be earning coins. The coins are used to unlock parts of the world, bonus levels as well as using them in your ASTRO SHIP. This is actually pretty fun when you start to use the claw machine to catch the mini collectibles.
Now, of course, ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission is first and foremost a platformer and a beautiful one at that. But you cannot have a platformer without some bosses. The bosses are here are some of the most colorful ones I have ever come across. Once you see them up close you get the sense of how big these bosses are. Somehow Japan Studio has given us the modern-day David and Goliath in Virtual Reality. So thank you Japan Studio…thank you.
Of course, that is just some of the bosses. You really don’t want everything spoiled for you, do you? I do want to talk about something that is pretty imaginative here and that is how Japan Studio incorporates the DualShock 4 controller. From the start before entering the world of ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission, the DualShock 4 controller is present in front of you. You don’t realize it until some of the levels may show a reflection to reveal that you are a robot yourself using the DualShock 4 controller.
There will come points in the game where you will receive additional help with items such as a grappling hook that you have to pull back on the controller to progress or even a water cannon to help put out fires. Each robot friend you rescue then flies into the touchpad of the DualShock 4 controller which is pretty cool. At the end of the level, ASTRO BOT will jump onto the touchpad so that you can then slingshot him at the correct moment through rings. But to play as a big robot who is really playing the game, it is all really awesome.
Sound-wise the music to the collecting of the coins to the dramatic music where and when it exactly needs to be is perfect. Graphically if you did not think PlayStation VR could not get any better looking, it is almost as a new level has been set. One of my favorite levels and everyone is amazing especially when you can ride in vehicles, but there is something about traveling down into the ocean and seeing everything so clear and immersive as I have experienced, makes it all worth the purchase.
If there is one thing at all and it’s a minor one is the camera controls. Through certain points of the levels, you get to save points that way if you die you can restart at that point. However, since the camera does move forward, if you happen to hear one of your robot friends that are needing to be rescued, you have to turn your head to look back or die on purpose to restart at the point. It’s not that big of a deal, but I wish that there was a way to turn the camera around without you having to move around.
Speaking of hearing your robot friends, there are points where your friends are hidden out of sight. One could be stuck in the sand or behind a wall. As glorious as ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission is, pay attention to the sounds around you as it does complete the experience.
ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission is out now on PlayStation VR. To learn more about Japan Studio, please visit their site, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am just going to go back in and enjoy it all.
Mr. PSVR, October 6, 2018, theplaystationbrahs.com