Moss: Book II review (PSVR)

We’ve done tons of VR reviews, but one title that consistently gets named as one of the most memorable ones of all time is Moss. Imagine our delight when Polyarc announced that a sequel was coming out, and that we didn’t have to wait for the arrival of PSVR2 either. Now that it’s here, we couldn’t wait to go hands on with Quill’s new adventure – which is exclusive to PlayStation for now. Here’s Moss – Book II.

VR feels like it’s at a crossroads right now, with PlayStation owners waiting for a new generation and the Quest taking over from what used to be a PC-powered market – which means there’s less horsepower to work with on that front as well. Much of the attention and excitement of developers has gone into the new console generations over the past two years, so playing a game like Moss: Book II is a nice reminder of how awesome VR can be and how much potential the medium has.

moss book iib

That said, the sequel is also a testament to how well done the first game was – a game that already pushed the envelope of what PlayStation can deliver. Book II isn’t the new frontier of VR, but it’s a fantastic game that players of Moss will instantly fall in love with and feel familiar with. Of course, it helps that it reintroduces us to the charming little mouse Quill as our protagonist, and that it picks up where the first game left off, right after we defeat Sarffog.

Your new epic quest sees you and your uncle Argus head out on a quest to acquire five magical glass objects in order to banish the “Arcane” evil from the world – and it’s all presented in the same storybook-like fashion with wonderfully detailed dioramas that are interactive in more than one way. Besides being able to control Quill as you battle and solve puzzle, you can also look around for secrets and other little details, and you can even interact with the world directly as the ‘reader/player’ of the book. As with the first game, this means pulling and pushing scenery elements into place, and it’s ever so charming to see Quill acknowledge your work by saluting you when you do it.

The attention to detail in the world design is just as impressive as it was before, but developer Polyarc did manage to expand on the gameplay formula in a few ways. Combat’s been expanded with the addition of new weapons that give fights a more diverse feel, for example by giving you a hammer to take down armored enemies. A ranged weapon, the shuriken, can also be recalled, which can even be used in a puzzle context.

moss book iia

Switching between weapons isn’t as easy as a simple button press though, so you’ll probably feel like you need to stop for a moment every time you want to switch. As the reader/player you need to conjure up the weapon and hand it to Quill using a pop-up menu and motion controls, so it’s a bit more involved than you’d expect. It’s certainly immersive and having Quill carry around an entire arsenal would look a bit silly, but it does feel like you need to stop and pause every time you want to change weapons – which can be frustrating when you’re mid-combat.

Moss: Book II is a longer adventure than the first game, though you’ll spend the first hour (of a five to six hour journey) going through the motions and (re)learning most of the mechanics and controls. Things pick up after that, and it’s a game that’s hard to put down if you have the stomach to stay in VR for hours on end.

If you enjoyed the first game, then you should definitely pick up Book II, even though its novelties are incremental rather than revolutionary. Moss ranks as one of the best PSVR games of all time, and its sequel is right up there with it. The relatively low resolution of the PSVR’s display holds it back a little, but it’s a gorgeous storybook world nonetheless, and we can’t wait to see what Polyarc’s will do with the next generation of hardware.

Score: 9.1/10

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