Astro Bot began life as "Robot Rescue", a minigame on the PSVR's 2016 Playroom VR app. The minigame had players controlling a single Bot moving through a 3D level to rescue his robot comrades. Fan feedback was strong enough to justify a full-fledged 3D platformer, which was released exclusively on PSVR in 2018.
The player controls two characters simultaneously. The first is Astro Bot itself. Astro Bot can jump, double jump, punch, spin attack, throw objects, and shoot lasers from its feet. While Astro Bot is nimble, he is very fragile and dies in one hit.
The second character is a different helper robot "played" by the player through first-person perspective. This robot follows Astro Bot through the levels. Generally, the function of the helper robot is an in-universe justification for the camera following Astro Bot. However, the helper robot can pick up special tools to help Astro Bot directly.
The two must work together to travel across worlds and rescue all of the Astro Ship's missing crew. Astro Bot was released on October 2, 2018 to critical acclaim, lauding it as a PSVR killer app. It was later bundled with fellow VR platformer Moss and the VR system for the 2018 holiday season.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission contains the following tropes:
- Art-Style Dissonance: The cute art style sharply contrasts with the difficulty of the challenge levels.
- Big Bad: A massive green alien that blows apart the Astro Ship, scattering the crew across the galaxy at the beginning of the game.
- Big Boo's Haunt: World 5-2, Bots & Goblins, takes place in a dark graveyard, where you get a unique item: the flashlight, used for warding off ghosts and waking up gargoyles.
- Blob Monster: The evil alien is a big green blob.
- Blue Is Heroic: Astro Bot has a unique blue paint job. Astro, the rest of the bots, the Astro Ship, and friendly plant life have glowing blue eyes. In contrast, anything with red and red eyes is generally dangerous.
- Book-Ends: The title screen song, as well as the first level's music, have the line "What did you say your name was?". The title and chorus line of the credits song? "I am Astro Bot!".
- Checkpoint Starvation: Dying in a challenge will send you straight back to the start of the level. No exceptions.
- Collection Sidequest: There are a total of 212 robots that Astro can rescue over the course of the game both in regular levels and in the special challenges. In addition, there are chameleons to find and gacha toys to collect in the Astro Ship.
- Console Cameo: The arena for the first boss fight is a helipad in the shape of an original PlayStation.
- Cool Starship: The Astro Ship, which is smashed in the beginning and gets repaired piece by piece after each world. The ship houses all the collected crew, the capsule crane game, and the collection of capsule prizes.
- Cute Machines: A defining characteristic of the game. Astro, his fellow bots, and even most of their machine foes are adorable robots.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Even though Astro is a One-Hit Point Wonder, the checkpoints are frequent enough that dying usually doesn't have a huge impact. Plus, there are no lives, so there's no risk of a game over. The only exceptions are getting hit three times in a boss battle, which sends you back to the start, or dying in a challenge, where there are no checkpoints at all.
- Defeat by Modesty: After damaging the Spider Boss three times, the player has to throw enough shuriken at her corset to knock it off, causing her to fall as she tries to cover herself with her legs. If you avoid looking at her as you do this, it'll grant you a trophy.
- Evolving Title Screen: The further you get through the game (and the more bots you save), the more bots will populate the title screen along with Astro.
- Final-Exam Boss: The player has to use the water sprayer, the shuriken, and the gatling gun to defeat the Alien.
- Flechette Storm: The player can obtain an (infinite supply of) shuriken. You can launch them as fast as you can flick the touchpad.
- Flying Saucer: The Alien flies around on a classic saucer UFO.
- Gatling Good: One of the pickups the player can use is a gatling gun. It obliterates nearly anything in Astro's path.
- Gentle Giant: Big Brother, a massive robot who, perhaps not coincidentally, bears more than a passing resemblence to The Iron Giant. In 3-1, he'll help Astro out by picking up parts of the level and allowing Astro to walk on his body to cross gaps.
- Grappling-Hook Pistol: A common tool the player can use although it's more of a winch than a pistol. The hook can pull out enemies and platforms, and Astro Bot can walk on the rope.
- Interface Screw:
- The camera is a physical entity in the game, represented by the helper robot. If a rocket/flame jet/laser/spiked object hits it, the screen will crack (though it can't actually be destroyed).
- Certain enemies will also lob goop at it to block the player's view of Astro, which the player can shake off.
- A more harmless/cute example is that Astro can get stuck to the camera in an underwater segment if he swims too close to it. Doing this will earn you a trophy.
- Making a Splash: The player can equip a water cannon. While the cannon generally only makes normal enemies wet, it can permanently quench fire enemies and create pathways through lava.
- Mirror Boss: The Alien has his own VR visor, and his own dual shock controller! It uses the water sprayer and shuriken abilities against you and Astro.
- No Fourth Wall: If the player looks down, they can see the helper robot's body. Various camera monitors will show the helper robot's body. Many enemies shoot ink or other projectiles at the player's screen to block their view of Astro.
- One-Hit Point Wonder: With the exception of boss battles, Astro Bot will always die in one hit. Luckily, checkpoints are frequent so death doesn't set you back far.
- Platform Battle: The bird boss is fought high up. Astro must jump from platform to platform as the fight continues.
- The very end of the credits lists Jean-Michel Bruitage and David Goodenough, two characters exemplifying bad game design on Joueur du Grenier.
- The French localization renames World 1-4 "Cowboy Bebot".
- World 2-4, the Minecart Madness level, has the name "Astro Jones".
- Big Brother, the helper in World 3-1, bears more than a passing resemblence to The Iron Giant.
- World 3-2 is given the rather obvious name "Under Tales".
- World 3-3 has the name "Feed Willy".
- World 5-2, a unique graveyard level, has the name "Bots & Goblins".
- Some Dexterity Required: The player often has to move the controller to use motion controls while simultaneously using the thumbstick to control Astro.
- Tactical Suicide Boss: All of the bosses are invulnerable until they launch a big attack and leave themselves open. The Alien gets so frustrated with Astro that it tries to smash him with the controller. From there, Astro can smack the Alien's fingers and the helper can pick up the controller.
- The Tooth Hurts: The Gorilla Boss is damaged by way of Astro punching his teeth until they're damaged enough to reveal a ring for the the hookshot... which the player then uses to yank out the poor thing's teeth! Ouch!
- Underwater Boss Battle: The shark boss starts off on water's surface. But as the fight goes on, the shark floods the area, temporarily submerging the player while Astro is still floating on the surface.
- Wave-Motion Gun: The Alien's gatling gun turns into one of these for the final blow, firing a massive laser to finish it off for good.
- Womb Level: World 3-3, Feed Willy, has you navigating the inside of a whale that swallows you. In the end, you get shot out of his blowhole.
- Wutai: World 5-3, Dojo Danger, has you navigating a dojo and bamboo forest. Of course, you get the shuriken for this level.