Astro Bot Rescue Mission is a 3D virtual reality platformer for the PlayStation VR featuring a cast of extremely cute robot characters that live inside the DualShock 4 controller.
Developed by SIE Japan Studio and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, ABRM really pushes the boundaries of a VR game for the PSVR and creates a genuinely fun and interactive game.
In ABRM players take control of Captain Astro, a rescue bot, and goes on a quest to find his lost crewmembers across five different worlds and 20 levels.
The player themselves wears a VR headset and becomes part of the game as well as a giant robot that follows Astro. The player also has the ability to interact with the environment and can destroy walls by headbutting them, must dodge attacks my enemies that fly at the player (or even spit), and can blow on the microphone to scatter flower petals.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission combines first-person view and third-person platforming seamlessly
The environments in ABRM are beautiful, well-rendered, and composed of numerous challenges and puzzles that must be overcome by the player using the VR headset as well as controlling Astro. The platforming takes place mostly using Astro’s abilities to traverse areas using jumps and other gadgets.
There are seven gadgets in total: a hook shot, water gun, shuriken, tight rope, magic light, machine gun, and slingshot.
These gadgets are deployed by the giant robot VR player and can be utilized by Astro as part of platforming. For example, the shuriken can be thrown onto flat surfaces to form new platforms for Astro to jump on. The hook shot and tight rope can also form more ways for Astro to traverse platforms. As the game progresses, and the puzzles become more complex, many of these gadgets become an important part of solving areas and finding missing crew robots.
Being in VR, players can “look” over walls and behind things by leaning and turning
As the player is in VR, it also means that they can look around objects and lean forward to look over obstacles to find ledges and potentially otherwise hidden crew robots. The game also makes good use of 3D sound, because crew robots talk out loud, meaning that the player can locate them by listening to the sound of their voices and direct Astro accordingly.
At the end of every level, players must go up against a boss. These bosses run the gamut of mechanics and use everything the player learned in the previous level, including learning how to dodge incoming fire (by leaning side to side) while still directing Astro to avoid the boss’s mechanics. Bosses include a giant robot monkey (similar to Donkey Kong), a giant spider wearing a corset, and more weird and wacky enemies.
ABRM represents one of the best VR games created using the different controls and immersive effects available in VR. It combines the use of a headset and a controller at the same time in a way that makes the game immersive, intuitive, and fun. The cute robots – and Captain Astro himself – make the game enjoyable and memorable.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission began its quest to rescue the robot crew on Oct. 2, 2018, for PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation VR.