VR roundup: Moss: Book II, Cooking Simulator VR & Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown

We’re looking at a trio of excellent VR games that were recently ported over to the Quest 2 today – read on to find out why Moss: Book II, Cooking Simulator VR and Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown are great additions to your library.

Moss: Book II review (Quest 2)

Because the original Moss is still one of our all time favorite (and benchmark) VR titles, we couldn’t wait to go hands on with the sequel when it launched for PlayStation VR a while ago. We loved it in our review, so when it launched for the Quest 2 we were eager to see how it would translate to a wireless platform. The answer – quite well.

The storybook-like design of Moss: Book II (and the original Moss) very much works in its favor here. Each level feels like a micro part of a larger world, as if you’re reading two pages of a book before flipping the page. There’s even a narrator to help bring this idea to life, but even more interesting from a technical point of view is the fact that having to only load a small level into memory means that you can render quite a bit of detail into a scene without having to worry about drawing an entire world to travel through.

moss book iib

You can tell that Polyarc still had to pull off a few tricks to get this working well on the Quest 2, but the result is great. The lighting effects in particular are very impressive, and you can tell that the Quest version runs at a slightly higher resolution than the PSVR one. The trade-off is that some background elements aren’t rendered in 3D anymore, but are shown as still instead – noticeable if you’re played both versions, but not bothersome at all. In the foreground, you’ll notice that there’s a fraction less detail in the game world as well, with a few scenery elements that are now missing in order to maintain a good performance level for the game. It runs smooth though, and you get that sharper image as part of the trade-off.

Another element worth noting is that the Quest 2 version is controlled with the Touch controllers, which takes a bit of getting used to. Moss is a game that controls extremely well with a traditional gamepad, but also has moments where you (as the “reader”) can directly interact with Quill and the environment. In those moments, the Touch controllers are clearly superior and more immersive, even though the base controls take some getting used to. In short, it’s the same great game, just different in a few minor ways.

Cooking Simulator VR review (Quest 2)

We’ve seen our fair share of “simulator” games in VR over the years, from the silly Job Simulator and Vacation Simulator to more authentic sim-like experience, and Cooking Simulator comfortably sits in the middle of those two. It’s been very popular on PC-based VR headsets, and now it’s available on the Quest 2 as a native/wireless version as well.

cooking simulator

The heart of Cooking Simulator VR is a career mode that lets you gradually discover what it’s like to run a full restaurant-sized kitchen and prepare dozens of recipes, making use of a fully stocked kitchen with every ingredient you can imagine and all the tools you need to turn them into a wonderful dish. There are eighty recipes to learn and they get increasingly more complex, so there’s a real sense of accomplishment when you serve up something fancy.

While we would have liked a simple step-by-step approach for each recipe that would help us prepare some new stuff in real life, Cooking Simulator VR also channels the need to multi-task in the kitchen. You know how cooking for a major holiday can take hours? Well, when you order food in a restaurant you expect it to be served fairly quickly, and that’s the time pressure you have to contend with as a chef. While you’re preparing a soup that’s boiling, you need to start working on a few other things as well, and things can get hectic.

cooking simulator2

It’s fun too though, because everything is handled quite well with motion controls – flipping the meat, stirring the soup and cutting up the ingredients, just to name a few examples. You’ll have to learn to be precise as well, so you don’t slice too thinly or over-season your dishes. And who knows, maybe over the course of a few dozen meals you’ll also pick up a few tips for your real-life kitchen. But if you fancy something a tad less realistic, then you can also engage with the game’s sandbox-mode. Although you can still try your hand at cooking, it’s the physics that are at the forefront here. Juggle a few ingredients and slice them up in mid-air, throw some knives around or even cause an explosion – intentionally. It’s a lot of fun to play around with, and it’s easy to see why this one became popular on PCs. On the Quest, it performs well, and it’s one of the best “simulator” titles we’ve played in a while.

Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown review (Quest 2)

PlayStation VR received strong support from first party developers and AAA studios in its early days, but after that we saw more and more indie developer port successful PC-VR titles over to the platform. It’s funny that we’re now seeing something similar with the Quest 2, as this second generation Quest headset is powerful enough to run some of the titles that were previously out of reach for mobile headsets. One such example is Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown, which we previously reviewed back in 2019.

table of tales

We really enjoyed Table of Tables, as it brought a tabletop experience to VR and used the power of the digital format to quickly change the playing area for an immersive and diverse experience. On the Quest, aside from the multiplayer mode which isn’t supported, it’s very much the same game. On top of tabletop gameplay mechanics, you also still get a narrated RPG/adventure campaign each time you play, in which you move a band of four heroes across a dynamic game board.

Another familiar element is that a lot of the in-game action is controlled by playing cards and moving your pieces, but on the Quest you get the added feature of being able to use hand tracking for this, which is wonderfully immersive because you no longer need to be holding on to your Touch controller. There are instances where hand tracking doesn’t feel as precise, but these are exceptions and it’s a great way to play this game and interact with the board as if it were real. And with the visual effects still looking as impressive as they originally did, it’s a thrill for board game fans to see the game world change in front of them.

table of tales2

On PlayStation VR and PC, you could play with players outside of VR for a bit of multiplayer action, but unfortunately that doesn’t work as there is no compatible companion app/version for the game to play on a flat screen. While that’s a bit of a shame because you lose the social element, Table of Tables (with its narrative story-driven approach) luckily is the type of game that also works well solo. If the online aspects of games like Demeo feel too overwhelming and you want a more RPG/adventure-game like experience, then you should definitely check out The Crooked Crown.

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