Whatever your age, most of the time people feel like ‘I need to get some rest’. You may think ‘isn’t there any alternative to all this shit? I wish I could just stop or run away for a while. I’ll be back, I promise, just want some other possibilities.’
When The Dark Falls, Light Will Rise Up
To summarize the story, the game starts with a thick book in front of you in a church-like library in ancient times. The storyteller, pleasant and epic, tells us ‘it’s been a long while since we started this journey, I hope you will finish it’, and we begin turning the pages. One night, a dark entity falls from the sky and seizes the whole world. Even the selected champions can’t stand against the ‘steampunk’ enemy forces, and one of them, before it dies, turns into a huge tree and waits for the one to hand in ‘the glass’ that they hide from the dark. Of course, our tiny character Quill is ‘the one’. Quill hides in the tree to escape from a crow, grabs the piece of glass the tree gives her, and there appears another sidekick. And that sidekick is the player in soul form – which is us.
What I need to say here is that even though the story doesn’t have a great flow, even with creating so many tension, it is coherent in itself, and the narrative has many nice details. Yes, it’s not a unique story, but the experience it serves is appreciated. And the main goal of the game is to keep it worthy of the player’s expectations, after all.
Check out the trailer below:
Two Characters, One Gamepad
This is where the ‘story experience’ begins. The game is a successful production in the sense that it takes the PSVR capabilities as a base to build on, and also manages to use VR in a refreshing way through a different approach. Moss adds a title with a world weaved with fine details, a great character composition, and a different control mechanism to a library of VR games where you fight off ninjas with swords or raise a bullet hell against zombies or robots.
In Moss you can control Quill with the left stick and jump, attack, dodge with the X and Square buttons. And you can control yourself, the soul, with the motion tracker, and move the objects or catch the enemies so that Quill can destroy them more easily with the L2 and R2 buttons. Guys, this system works exceptionally well. It is really fun to catch one of the enemies and fight with the others simultaneously, grab the shooting enemies to make them shoot the others, and carry on Quill’s challenge. And this is not the only support we provide to her.
The game is full of, let’s say, well-done mechanic puzzles despite its target audience’s age and the innocent feel of the world. This is where you tap into all these actions really. Because our support to her goes beyond manipulating the enemies. You also move a stone to enable Quill to pass under it, or complete a platform so that she can jump over it, or grab one of the enemies to make it sit on a button that must be held pressed and direct Quill to press on the other one. Kill the enemies while watching for a handle to get activated, and fill Quill’s health bar when she gets wounded.
The thing I appreciated most is that I never came across the common control issues we experience in other VR games. Another feature to be applauded is that you can complete all of the actions in the game with just four buttons. This is a really successful single-player co-op with a minimal button mapping system.
Run Quill, Run! Just Don’t Scare The Deer
As you may have noticed, I refer to Moss as a ‘story’ from the very beginning, dear reader. This is not because it all happens in a fantasy world, but because it makes you feel it up to the hilt. Lighting, level designs, interactive objects embedded in the environments, our soul form’s reflection on the water, Quill… It all comes together seamlessly.
Quill is another topic all on her own. The character design and the animations are definitely a piece of great craftsmanship. It is so well analyzed that it is worth buying the game just to see her aesthetic look, agile mouse nature, and the running, jumping, and fighting animations. In fact, it makes you feel the character on the tip of your fingers. It doesn’t end here. Quill is also a character with a unique personality who regularly makes eye contact with you, guiding you on the way, smiling at and calling out to you, and making you feel that she is always with you.
When it comes to the surroundings, they also deserve credit. I was usually more interested in the backgrounds rather than the places right in front of us. The reason is the details embroidered on them. Since we embody a mouse, the sizes of all the objects are designed accordingly. But what you see in the background is a world dominated by giant-like bigger creatures. Deer that startle at the noise of your actions, man-made ancient armors, rusty axes, and animal bones are among those nice details. Besides that, the level design at the foreground is also breathtaking. Smartly planned platforms, puzzles, run brilliantly along with the harmony of the environment. The game, with all its lighting, sounds, graphics, and stylized reality made me feel like it is a story of which I am very much a part of.
Can’t We Stay Here A Bit Longer?
You may ask me ‘so isn’t there any cons to the game?’ after all these compliments. And I would say ‘of course, there are’. But none of them will impact your gameplay – hell you wouldn’t even realize it. But mainly, the game could have been longer. A fast player can easily finish the game in just 3-4 hours. Or if you are a gamer like me who wants to examine the surroundings in detail, then it can take up to 5 and half hours. Maybe the producers wanted to keep it short to avoid any repetitiveness. No matter how complex the puzzles are, the actions you need to take to solve it are somewhat similar to each other most of the times.
Another point is the fighting system. It may be a highly fun and satisfying one, but I would love to see a more structured system built on combos or light and heavy attacks given such seamless and stylized animations. But as I mentioned, these are a part of my taste – items that I would like to be there so that I could stay in the Moss universe just a bit longer. In the end, the game doesn’t provide you with extra details that would warrant a replay, other than its pleasant features. But is that really needed?
Finally, Moss is a piece of art that worthy of seeing, experiencing, and being in, thanks to the advantages of PS VR in particular. It is totally worthy of your time and money, and a title that no VR follower should miss. As I mentioned at the beginning, Moss takes you right to the dreamland of your childhood and makes you never want to take off that headset.
Moss is available now on the PlayStation Store at a $29.99 price tag.