We had been eagerly anticipating Moss for a while now, and this brand new Playstation VR title by Polyarc does not disappoint. It’s an enchanting little puzzle platformer that’s not to be missed by anyone who has access to Sony’s headset.
It kind of flew under the radar, but late last year Sony released their second demo disc for Playstation VR on the Playstation Network. Out of all the then-unreleased games on there, Moss was easily our favorite – it’s been a long wait.
In Moss, an enchanting storybook literally turns to life, as the game takes you through the story of a little (and wonderfully animated) mouse called Quill. A bit like the perspective in games like Tiny Trax and Bloody Zombies, you can look into and around the game world as an onlooker who also happens to control the action. Or rather – the reader of a fairytale story.
The protagonist of the story is a tiny little mouse, and you simultaneously work with and control Quill. On the one hand you can control him using pretty standard platformer controls (jumping, hanging on ledges, etc), but you’ll regularly need to give him a hand as well – by interacting with the game world. You can, for instance, raise platforms for Quill, or rotate obstacles out of the way for him. You quickly start feeling like quite the team, with a really strong “the hero needs me!” feeling that swiftly grabs hold of you.
Everything’s controlled using the DualShock controller, as Moss makes good use of the internal gyroscopes that allow for motion tracking without having to resort to Move controllers. The controls feel intuitive and fluid, which is helped by the fact that Moss is a relatively casual experience with very few moments of possible frustration. Perhaps, at the same time, this is also Moss’ weak point – you gently breeze through the story in about four hours and without alternate solutions to puzzles there’s little reason to go back just for the gameplay. If you go back, it’s to enjoy Quill’s charm and Moss’ storytelling once more.
Quill’s tale is one filled with fantasy influences and tons of magic, but the story is told like a family-friendly tale of wonder. There is a narrator who takes you through the story as you watch and control the action in front of you, making you feel like you’re part of an interactive play where something is constantly going on everywhere around you. While your focus will mainly be on Quill, you’re always free to look around the “stage” and you might discover a few secrets and hints this way as well.
The world of Moss is wonderfully crafted – it’s not just the fact that Quill is masterfully animated (as if he escaped from an animated feature film), it’s also the fact that each level feels like a scene from a magical storybook with doorways that connect you to the next chapter/page. There is a ton of depth to the levels too – which can be a tad tricky when timing your jumps but the visual sensation of depth easily outweighs this.
I can’t recommend Moss enough – it’s a VR experience that enchants both young and old, and makes me wish the 12+ age requirement didn’t exist for Playstation VR. My only gripe is that I wish Quill’s adventure was longer than the four hours it took me to complete it.