Astra Is A 'Deeply Personal' Mixed Reality Adventure Across The Cosmos

Astra promises a “deeply personal” mixed reality adventure across the cosmos on Quest.

Developed between Atlas V and Albyon with Eliza McNitt (Spheres) directing, Astra seeks to transform your room into a spaceship in a “deeply personal” adventure that touches upon loss, grief and family heritage. Your mission involves travelling across the universe to uncover the mysteries of life. Following the research left behind by your astrobiologist mother, Astra’s journey takes you to different planets and moons like Jupiter and Titan.

Taking roughly 45 minutes to complete in our hands-on, Astra’s premise initially reminded me of Starship Home. Both games turn your living room into a spaceship using mixed reality, though Creature’s upcoming debut game focuses on befriending alien plants. Astra takes an almost educational approach to this journey and, though the planetary visuals aren’t as sharp as something like Red Matter 2, seeing these worlds from orbit feels impressive.

Beginning with a box of your mother’s belongings, Astra’s narrative unfolds through audio logs. It details her adventures as she researches the chemical elements needed for life on other planets, delivering a straightforward story that held my interest. While you can use controllers, hand-tracking feels more natural even though carrying out certain actions felt slightly fiddly at times.

A command console spawns on your boundary’s chosen wall to choose your next location. Reaching your destination involves being teleported down, stepping into a specific circle as a field of light envelopes you. It’s a visually appealing approach that reminds me of Star Trek’s transporters. After arriving on the surface, you’re tasked with analyzing elements local to each moon or planet.

Scanning elements can feel rather repetitive. Waving your hand in front of the headset, reach toward any you find, and making a “grabbing” motion when the shapes overlap is functional but not especially exciting. I appreciated how Astra becomes a more educational experience when you return to the spaceship, though. Your cosmic laboratory details how each element affects these worlds, helped by a good user interface.

There’s not much else I can say without spoiling this brief experience but Atlas V and Albyon have delivered an enjoyable adventure across the stars. Though Astra’s gameplay can sometimes feel repetitive, there’s an intriguing personal narrative intertwined well with mixed reality.

Astra is available today on the Meta Quest platform.

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