The PS5 may have only recently begun its existence as a gaming console, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t already a slew of fantastic experiences accessible to PS5 early adopters.
There’s a lot to choose from, with numerous exclusive launch titles, third-party next-gen games, and Sony’s new commitment to backward-compatible gameplay. Here are our selections for the five finest games you can play right now on your Playstation 5.
1. Sackboy: A Big Adventure
The cute Astro’s Playroom may have won people’s hearts at the PlayStation 5 launch (thanks, no doubt, to the fact that game was free), but any 3D platformer fan should not leave Sackboy: A Big Adventure in the toybox. Even if it lacks the precision and depth of the genre’s most-loved games, this spin-off (also available on PS4) is relentlessly appealing, bringing creative level ideas to a familiar framework with a focus on co-op play.
Sackboy may have been inspired by the LittleBigPlanet games before it, but A Big Adventure is more akin to Super Mario 3D World in terms of structure and design. Levels are usually wide-pathed, isometric dioramas that you and up to three friends can run around in, grabbing point bubbles, fighting monsters, and looking for collectibles.
It also foregoes the level editor and community sharing that have been synonymous with the LittleBigPlanet series in favor of conveying a straightforward tale about Sackboy attempting to preserve Craftworld from the villainous Vex.
Sackboy’s sense of design and presentation is irresistible – a never-ending stream of fun, feel-good stages built out of cardboard cutouts and other household items. It’s all very delightful, and the only thing keeping me from smiling the entire time was the occasional frustration of a missed jump due to an odd camera angle or unexpected landing behavior.
World themes span from yeti-infested temples to futuristic rocket labs with large, interactive touchscreens, but they all have enough artistic aspects in common to form an eclectic but unified whole.
Sackboy’s excellent music contributes significantly to their allure. This includes the game’s original score, creative remixes and reworkings of well-known classics (you might notice the tune of Madonna’s Material Girl in the middle of an otherwise orchestral track), and a few particularly music-focused levels.
The latter reminded me of similar stages in Rayman Legends, in which you jump and fight to the beat of songs like Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk – though, while these levels are undoubtedly fun, their use of those songs is a little more repetitive if you’re taking your time to collect everything because they’re not on rails like Rayman’s.
Most stages in Sackboy are pretty easy to complete, but locating all of the cosmetic items, completing it without dying, earning enough points for a gold medal, and collecting all of the Dreamer Orbs buried throughout can be difficult (which are used to lightly gate off new levels as you progress).
I only failed a level once in my initial run through the campaign, thanks to a generous life and checkpoint system, but I also seldom got everything attainable on the first try. That made Sackboy feel approachable to complete while still having enough to keep me coming back for more.
Later levels and time trials increase the difficulty a little more, but just slightly so that the challenge is there if you want it and not if you don’t.
To be fair, the structure here feels very similar to that of Super Mario 3D World, as well as Nintendo’s platformer playbook in general. That’s not inherently a bad thing (it’s a good playbook! ), but when pitted against a game like that, the areas where Sackboy falls short — notably, the feel and depth of its platforming – can’t help but stand out.
Although this is a fun platformer, its jumping can be a little sloppy at times, especially when trying to bounce off enemy heads or certain objects. Sackboy lacks extra methods that could offer subtlety to his moveset like Mario – you can lengthen your jump distance by punching and rolling midair, but that’s about it in fear of getting creative with movement possibilities.
Sackboy’s levels are even better when played in co-op, and this isn’t just because it’s fun to play games with your friends – co-op can make a lot of games “better” without actually adding much – but these stages were purposefully intended to be more enjoyable with more people.
The entire campaign can be played solo and still be a fun time (and you’ll probably want to play the time trials that way), but adding others allows you to take advantage of each stage’s multiple paths rich in collectibles.
While slowing down and retracing your steps to collect them all on your own can be monotonous, doing so as part of a group ensures that everyone has more fun items to collect.
There’s also some friendly competition to see who can achieve the highest score, and there’s actual value in hitching a ride on top of a rolling friend, only to pick them up and viciously throw them off a cliff for no apparent reason.
On that topic, it’s a pity that Sackboy doesn’t enable internet co-op from the launch. That’s supposedly coming in a free patch before the end of the year (and I was able to simulate online co-op using the PS5’s restricted but outstanding Share Play option), but it still feels like a vital missing element for a game that’s so inherently about teamwork.
Thankfully, the local co-op here is fantastic, allowing players to drop in and out even in the middle of a level and providing each profile with their wardrobe of clothes to collect and personalize.
A Big Adventure is a delightful LittleBigPlanet spin-off that’s full of charming sights and noises. It has adorable and creative-level designs that shine in co-op but are still enjoyable when played alone.
Its platforming might be frustrating at times, as it lacks the precision and nuance required to set it apart from other games in the genre, but the feel-good feeling that pervades every corner of its carefully constructed world makes it a joy to play.
2. Astro’s Playroom
Astro’s Playroom is a surprising amount of fun for a free game that comes with the PlayStation 5, one that is mostly designed to showcase all of Sony’s next-gen DualSense controller’s bells and whistles.
It’s not only a terrific toybox for getting a feel for the DualSense’s haptic feedback, adjustable triggers, microphone, and other features, but it also comes with the best proof-of-concept pack-in I’ve seen since Wii Sports.
This is both a happy ode to PlayStation heritage and an experimental platformer that I can only hope to see expanded into a broader experience during the PS5’s lifetime.
Astro’s Playroom, developed by Team Asobi, continues in the footsteps of its great PSVR exclusive, Astro Bot: Rescue Mission. Team Asobi has truly pondered what it means to construct a platformer around the DualSense, many ways that adventure built its levels and obstacles around the premise of viewing a platformer in VR.
Although you may play these levels without using any of DualSense’s new features, Playroom, like its predecessor, offers a compelling example of how immersive an experience can be when fully utilizing this new technology.
Astro’s literal Playroom is, amusingly, the “interior” of your PlayStation 5, with its CPU Plaza hub providing access to four different worlds: Cooling Springs, GPU Jungle, Memory Meadows, and SSD Speedway.
Each game features a different approach to conveying sensation through the DualSense and has its platforming hooks, ranging from Memory Meadows’ alright act of rolling a ball around on the touchpad to Cooling Springs’ enjoyable jumping frog suit to GPU Jungle’s fantastic monkey climbing and swinging.
You’ll largely be getting around with the same basic sprinting, jumping, punching, spinning attacking, and hovering that you used in Rescue Mission. It’s a straightforward control scheme that anyone should be able to learn, albeit Astro still has a sensitive jump and hovering window that necessitates some precision.
Team Asobi can keep stacking new concepts and new mechanics on top of Astro’s fundamental mobility possibilities by keeping them simple, resulting in a never-ending stream of imaginative uses for them in Playroom’s different worlds.
Everything revolves around the fun of using the DualSense controller. Astro Bot, as the first true demonstration of how its haptic feedback allows players to “feel” things like a character walking through muck or the difference between being in water versus on a grassy plain, does an excellent job of demonstrating the range of what it can do.
Water simulates Astro’s swimming by emitting light, wavy pulse through the controller, while ice provides light, steady taps of rumble that are accompanied by a reproduced ice sound through the controller’s speaker.
But once you do, the joy that comes from Team Asobi’s translation of in-game surfaces, objects, and movement into diverse DualSense experiences is undeniable.
The pull of a bow and arrow demands some more pressure on the trigger mixed with the satisfying plunk of release as the arrow shoots out, while hail hitting my bot on the head generates small pops of rumble all around the controller.
However, when Team Asobi integrates various DualSense features to achieve a product greater than the sum of its parts, it may be the best example of how developers may successfully evoke the feeling of swimming through water or pushing against a gust of wind.
Feeling the flow of grass as Astro dashes through a field, the gust of wind that tries to blow you off a platform, or the weird, rippling rumble as you swim through water are just a few of the ways Team Asobi incorporates these features.
But it’s the world-specific gameplay mechanisms, which combine fun platforming curveballs with some of the DualSense’s best sensations, that reveal some of the studio’s brilliance.
The structure of each Playroom world is the same: two sets of two alternate levels, the first and third of which offer more classic 3D platforming and exploration, while the second and fourth provide Astro with a world-specific outfit to wear. And it’s in the majority of these sections that Team Asobi’s aptitude for creating unique levels shines.
GPU Jungle’s full robotic monkey costume, which leads to vertically scrolling, 2D-view levels, is my favorite. Astro scales upward as a monkey by grabbing rock climbing handholds, which require you to alternately grab a trigger (representing one hand), physically turn the DualSense left or right to lift the other arm, and then grab a subsequent handhold.
Some handholds require you to only barely squeeze the trigger or risk causing them to crumble and drop you to your doom, making this game a true test of delicacy.
Astro’s Playroom astonished and enthralled me. This PS5 add-on is more akin to a technical showcase, a loosely-structured sandbox in which to play about and learn what the PS5 has to offer. However, there are enough collectibles, creative concepts, and genuinely thrilling uses of the DualSense in this game that PS5 users shouldn’t dismiss from the launch lineup.
Astro’s Playroom put promises into reality and impressively demonstrated what’s possible with the PS5’s new controller after months and months of hearing how it will immerse me like never before.
It is, indeed, time to talk Bugsnax. Young Horse’s bizarre voyage into the realm of edible beasts is brimming with charm and humor, which nearly always keeps the game from being a chore over its 9 or 10 hours.
It’s complete to tell from the trailers, but this is a story-driven first-person adventure game with simple puzzles and a surprising amount of emotional depth and character development, as well as a solid story with twists and turns.
Sharktooth Island is undoubtedly worth visiting for the animals alone, even if it isn’t much of a technical showcase for the PlayStation 5’s launch. Just don’t eat too many.
Bugsnax is a game that revels in its complete ridiculousness, as has been clear from the start. As an intrepid news writer, you’ve been enticed to cover Snaktooth Island’s peculiar wildlife, Bugsnax: walking, talking food that mutates the consumer’s bodily parts upon intake, by explorer Elizabert Megafig.
There’s nothing normal about this. Things grow even worse when you arrive and find yourself in the middle of an inquiry into a mysterious disappearance.
Oh, and you and the other villagers are both grumpuses, a colorful, fur-covered bipedal animal that walks and talks like humans. Everything about this is out of the ordinary. Whether you find a Bugsnak hidden in the sand or tearing up a ketchup patch, it’s evident that each one was created with care.
From flying pizzas to swimming Coke cans, there’s something for everyone. My particular favorite is the Spuddy, a tin-foil encased potato with a slice of butter on his head who likes nothing more than to charge foil-first and send you flying.
The primary goal of the expedition is to return the dozen or so people of Snaxburg, the island’s capital, to their homes so that they can be questioned for information. The problem is that each grumpus has dispersed around Snaktooth, requiring you to do duties for them to return.
Because Bugsnax is the only truly sustainable food supply on the Island, although it isn’t easy to come by, most missions follow a similar pattern: find the desired Bugsnak, catch the wanted Bugsnak, and present the desired Bugsnak to the mission-giver.
It’s a process that becomes tired after a while, but never to the point of boredom. This is due in great part to the excellent writing and voice acting throughout, as well as the fact that each grumpus is a distinct character with his or her own set of beliefs and problems to solve.
The writers and the realistic conversations developed in the backdrop of a fully fictitious environment must be acknowledged for a significant part of this. It’s easy to dismiss Bugnax as a gimmick-filled children’s game with little to say at first appearance, but nothing could be further from the reality.
There are moments for people of all ages here, just as there are in Pixar movies. There are sad moments when serious matters like relationships, mental health, and bereavement are delicately explored, as well as broader overarching issues such as climate change.
These, on the other hand, never feel forced or oppressive, and they all serve the story and its characters in overwhelmingly positive ways.
The likes, dislikes, and movement patterns of a Bugsnak will be revealed after scanning, and you’ll have all the information you need to catch the kinda bug, kinda snack in your trap – but not necessarily all of the equipment.
In that regard, Bugsnax has light Metroidvania features, which means you’ll gain tools (such as a launchpad to catch flying Bugsnax) later on and will have to return to past regions to catch a Snaquiri that was previously out of reach. Other options include using condiments such as spicy sauce or ranch dressing, to mention a couple.
To catch a Bunger, for example, you’ll need to stun it first; fortunately, these enraged whoppers are attracted to anything covered in ketchup, so hurl a serving onto a couple of them and watch them knock each other out.
Overall, catching Bugsnax is based on a half-dozen different mechanics that you’ll have to employ in various ways. This is just about enough variety to keep the objectives from becoming monotonous, though I must say that by the time I got to the end of the story, I was tired of the gameplay loop. It ended just in time for me to avoid becoming overly reliant on Bugsnax.
The major story missions take about six or seven hours to complete, with another couple of hours added if you opt to complete all of the side objectives. Although some side missions are a series of tedious fetch quests, others culminate in some of Bugsnax’s most dramatic encounters.
Without giving anything away, the conclusion of both Wiggle’s and Cromdo’s adventures was a special highlight for me, since it greatly shook up the standard Bugsnax-catching action.
Because Bugsnax catching is what you’ll be doing 90% of the time, that was a much-needed refresher. Thankfully, there’s plenty of variety on offer, even if I occasionally wished for a little more challenge.
Though it was rare that I had a minute to reflect and figure out how I was going to approach the puzzle, there were a few that required some ingenuity. The first time I caught a Cinnasnail was a memorable experience that took far longer than it should have.
Bugsnax’s blatant nonsense, on the other hand, kept me engaged throughout. It could have been a stodgy, repetitious drudge of repetitive actions without any drive to see where it all leads if it hadn’t been for the wonderful writing and the thrill of finding something you haven’t seen before.
Fortunately, Bugsnax keeps loyal to its ideals throughout, and just when you think you’ve figured out its story, it takes a left turn and lands an ending after a wonderful action-packed last 30 minutes.
Bugsnax is a light-hearted puzzle adventure with a compelling story and characters that I thoroughly liked till the very end. Despite certain simplistic mechanics, the laughter much outnumbered the complaints, and I became surprisingly immersed in the island’s and its people’s events.
With over 100 Bugsnax to find and catch, there’s plenty to keep completionists entertained, as well as those searching for a well-crafted six-hour mystery that will keep you guessing until the end. All while making you feel emotionally linked to the characters, which you may have previously thought was impossible. That is until you saw a carrot creep.
4. Spider-Man Remastered
It would have been difficult to go back to the PS4 edition of 2018’s best superhero game after playing Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PlayStation 5. Thankfully, Insomniac has refitted Peter Parker’s quest with all of the incredible technology it developed for Miles, including enhanced lighting and frame rates, ray-traced reflections, lightning-fast load times, and DualSense haptic feedback.
And they changed Peter’s face… which is strange, but it does illustrate how far facial animation has progressed. This is a game that was previously worth revisiting on PS4, but now that it’s on PS5, it’s the perfect time to revisit New York and see it at its finest.
I dubbed Marvel’s Spider-Man Great in my original review, praising its fantastic swinging through New York City, excellent Peter Parker story, and encounters with well-known adversaries. I had a few complaints about some suit powers being far superior to others and the tedious extra missions, but it’s still one of the best superhero games ever made.
Even with the open-world side mission enhancements I just experienced in the wonderful Miles Morales adventure, all of that remains true two years later. Even with a new face, Insomniac’s original Spidey story is still a great Peter Parker adventure, with a terrific conflict between the lives Peter leads both behind and outside of his mask.
Yes, seeing that face instead of the PS4 version is strange at first, but I quickly became accustomed to it. I like it now even better than the original. It appears to be more age-appropriate and in keeping with Yuri Lowenthal’s iconic performance’s boyish but confident appeal.
His Peter remains one of my favorites, helped along by Laura Bailey’s still-wonderful Mary-Jane, William Salyers’ shattered Otto Octavius, and others.
Re-watching Insomniac’s story has delighted me just as much as the first time I saw it, especially the delightful first moments of Peter and Mary-Jane on screen together, Spider-friendship Man’s with Yuri Watanabe, and some of Peter’s opponents’ larger personalities.
Improved facial movements, less plastic-y skin, and realistic hair technology offer more authenticity to Peter and MJ’s chemistry, with a satisfied smirk betraying Peter’s hope that they’ll reunite, as well as Otto’s anguish when his lab is shut down. It’s a significant step forward.
The reworked lighting system benefits the characters, as well as everything else it affects. Everything seems more beautiful, from beautiful moments at dusk as the sun sets to the indoor interiors of Fisk Tower employing the building’s many modern light fixtures to genuinely enhance the space.
And when combined with ray-traced reflections in fidelity mode, New York comes to life in a manner that the PS4 simply couldn’t. Seriously, one of Spider-most Man’s typical missions, stopping a car chase, has been transformed into a beautiful light show of neon signs reflecting off cars and buildings as I tracked the robbers and webbed them up all over the city.
It’s as gleaming and bright as walking through Times Square at 2 a.m., but without the real-life headache, you’re presumably experiencing…if you’re walking through Times Square at 2 a.m.
The DualSense is employed almost pretty to how it is in Miles Morales, which is excellent for helping the sensation of playing as Spider-Man in greater detail than ever before.
Although I’ll never experience web-slinging in person, the DualSense’s haptic vibrations, trigger resistance, and a tiny “thwip” from the controller’s speaker do an excellent job of simulating the sensation.
Similarly, if you have a 3D audio headset like the Pulse 3D, the sounds of sirens in the background and irate New Yorkers telling you to watch where you’re going as you run by on street level provides a pleasant added degree of immersion. But, of course, my soundbar captures the nuanced sounds of Insomniac’s New York wonderfully well as I swing across the streets.
On top of that, and the free suits put out by Insomniac, the remastered edition has been boosted with quality-of-life upgrades, including near-instantaneous load times on PS5, and even Photo Mode additions to match Miles’ version’s useful new lighting capabilities.
In addition, Miles Morales’ extensive accessibility features have been included (which I regret not mentioning in my Miles review). There are choices to adjust the environment’s contrast, opponent readability, and quick-time event requirements, among other things.
It’s a nice improvement over the original’s options. And if previous Spider-Verse stories have taught us anything, it’s that the mask can be worn by anyone, and it’s wonderful and important that Insomniac has incorporated that principle into its games.
What have you been doing for the past two years if you haven’t played Marvel’s Spider-Man? However, because of the PS5’s outstanding lighting effects and loading times, your procrastination paid off, since the remaster is a much better way to play.
It’s a treat to revisit this upgraded New York City, even as someone who platinumed the original. The gameplay remains essentially unchanged, but you’re still left with a beautiful Spider-Man experience, complete with all of its extra content, that’s also one of the best superhero games ever made and a visual treat to begin the PS5 era.
5. Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Miles Morales may still be finding his feet as a superhero, but his debut solo game shows that Insomniac has found its groove as it turns its one-off blockbuster into a series.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a spectacular starring debut for Miles, telling a fascinating story in the same vein as the original Marvel’s Spider-Man but also improving on pretty every tiny flaw I had with an already fantastic game.
The fantastic swinging mechanics, storyline, and animation of Peter Parker’s adventure return joined by substantial upgrades to side missions, Miles’ flashy new moves, and the engaging spirit of New York City, maybe smaller overall, but every aspect of it feels more essential.
Miles’ role was established alongside Peter Parker in Marvel’s Spider-Man, and this solo outing demonstrates how much room there is in Manhattan for multiple Spider-Men to shine.
Actor Nadji Jeter reprises his role as Miles Morales, giving the newly heroic Miles a sincerity, heart, and excitement that stands out among other adaptations – from the Academy Award-winning Into the Spider-Verse animated film to the original Brian Michael Bendis/Sara Pichelli comic run and the ongoing Saladin Ahmed comic arc.
This version maintains true to Miles’ best storytelling in other mediums – he just wants to do the right thing for Peter, his family, and his friends – while also making this take on the character feel fresh and new.
This is due in part to Miles learning his way around his new Harlem neighborhood, both in and out of the suit. Spider-Man: Miles Morales follows in the original game’s (and many of the best Spider-Man stories’) smart storytelling footsteps by making that the events of life outside the mask collide with the webhead’s challenges and tribulations.
While you can explore the entire map (which is unchanged from Marvel’s Spider-Man), much of the story is set in or returns us to Harlem.
Peter had his apartment and Doctor Octavius’ lab, but his ties to the city were frequently defined by individual characters such as Mary-Jane or villains like Doc Ock and Vulture. Miles, on the other hand, is allowed to return home during the holidays as a teenager living with his mother would.
As familiar shopkeepers appear in side missions and the main story, we come to know his entire apartment as well as the surrounding blocks.
And, with militaristic tech behemoth Roxxon constructing a new plaza HQ in Harlem, this pleasant home neighborhood finds itself at the center of an interesting struggle to protect its uniqueness in the face of corporate takeover.
Miles Morales more than lives up to Peter’s story, which did a terrific job of making his emotional concerns as important as the spectacular superhero action.
Miles’ best friend, Ganke, is in on his secret identity, which allows for some amusing conversations while he’s out on missions; his mother’s political ambitions clash with Roxxon and the mysterious Underground faction ratchet up the tensions, and Miles’ frequent visits to Harlem made me care about the neighborhood I visited the least in the first game.
Even though their link in the current comics and Spider-Verse persists in my mind, Insomniac discovers some exciting new ground with Miles’ relationship with his uncle, Aaron Davis.
Because Miles is new to the job, he’s prone to making mistakes, and the story doesn’t shy away from them – for example, how his interactions with a personal friend can have major ramifications for his superhero alter-ego – but it also shows how working toward something better is a process, one that is made stronger when based on trust and community.
I won’t reveal where Miles and his outstanding supporting cast end up in the story, but it’s a thrilling and gripping Spidey tale that gave me chills in its final minutes, and the suspense of seeing where this series goes next is a thrill in and of itself.
Of course, Miles’ story is accompanied by amazing action. Insomniac has found innovative methods to work within the original’s overarching framework while not retreading too much ground.
Epic showdowns between new tech from the Tinkerer’s purples, Roxxon’s reds, and Miles’ yellow bioelectricity, as well as beautiful, thrilling battles that range from boss fights that continue the first game’s strong tradition of memorable showdowns to street-level brawls that put Miles’ enhanced attacks to the test, offer beautiful, thrilling battles that range from boss fights that continue the first game’s strong tradition of memorable showdowns to street-level bra
On the battlefront, Miles has a few new tricks under his sleeve, as do the enemy. On the one hand, Miles’ bioelectricity is mostly controlled via L1 and a combination of face buttons. Miles may unleash temporary paralyzing blasts of current that pack a punch after charging a meter in a fight.
Some of these Venom attacks (which have nothing to do with the symbiote guy) target a single foe, while others allow you to control a crowd, and yet others can help you start an air combo while fending off enemies.
Combining them with Miles’ basic attacks not only saved me in crowded combat but also added a lot of style and variety to how I handled brawls.
The crinkle of electricity discharging around Miles is reproduced via the DualSense controller’s haptic sensation, which is one of the most fun applications of the PS5’s DualSense controller. Hold L1 to prepare an attack and start to feel the rumble, then beginning a Venom-ified right hook will send a rumble from the left to the right side of the controller.
And the Venom-infused takedown animations are beautiful, with lightning sparking and bouncing around Miles and his enemies in a stunning display.
That is, thankfully, the situation with Miles Morales. There are still crimes to solve, but you only need to beat each type once throughout the city rather than numerous times in each neighborhood, and you can check them off your list once you’ve accomplished their optional objectives.
The rest of Spider-neighborhood Man’s missions are diverse, ranging from helping a window washer in finding power to his platform to tracking down a stray housecat. There are a few more one-time missions that feel more in line with the spirit of a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man than stopping an end to yet another vehicle pursuit.
Because Miles Morales is a smaller package overall, there aren’t many of these, but I’ll gladly take this more limited selection of missions that allow Spidey to have more meaningful interactions with New Yorkers over 30 times of the same chore.
Although Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales may not have as much substance as the original, it is an important story in Insomniac’s Spider-Man Universe. It earns its place as a brilliant sequel by telling a fantastic Miles-centric story while also building on the principles of the previous game with unique moves and adversaries.
It’s also a fun way to get your new PlayStation 5 up to speed; it looks great, loads quickly, and makes excellent use of the DualSense controller, directional audio, and other features. It’s a deserving sequel to one of the best superhero games ever made, regardless of whatever generation you play it on.