As the PSVR heads into its second year it has offered many great games and experiences, but has failed to produce that killer app or an iconic character/ mascot to serve as the face of VR. Well, that’s about to change! Move over Kratos, there’s a new hero in the PlayStation family: the tiny but mighty Quill. Moss plays out much like a book coming to life. There are no cutscenes, instead, you flip through the interactive illustrated pages while a narrator tells tales of an ordinary mouse who stumbles upon a magical glass relic that changes her forever. That’s where you come in. The mysterious glass turns you into Quill’s silent partner, The Reader. Your role will be to help and watch over Quill from a unique perspective which makes Moss both a first person and third person game. Moss impressively incorporates elements of many genres from action adventure, puzzler, platformer, to hack and slash.
Our hero Quill’s journey begins as she must accept her new-found responsibility the ancient glass relic has bestowed upon her. Quill sets out to rescue her uncle and entire kingdom from the evil fire-breathing serpent named Sarffrog. While it’s impossible to talk about Quill without bringing up how adorable she is, our hero is a strong independent girl who would like to be known for more than just her good looks. Quill is mighty with a sword and her tiny nimble stature makes her really good at jumping and dodging out of harm’s way. Polyarc designed a well-balanced mix of motion and traditional button mashing with animations that perfectly compliment Quill’s movement making Moss one of the most responsive and intuitive gameplay to grace the PSVR. Quill’s enemies range from crab-like robots to exploding tiny nemesis, I do wish there were a few more varieties of enemies but another cool feature is that you can use them against each other and clear or open obstacles. If things get to rough for Quill, you as the reader can use your magic orb to step in and lend her a hand or even heal her.
The relationship you form with Quill will surely be one of the most emotional and lovely in-game experiences you will have. Neither Quill or you as the Reader are big conversationalists and aside from a few squeaks, Quill expresses herself through sign language, dance, and high fives. Yes, you can actually high-five Quill and let me tell you, it will put a smile on your face and unlock a trophy. Enhancing the experience is, of course, the immersive nature of VR but also the well-executed balance of being as much of a participant as you are a voyeur.
Visually Moss is stunning, I’ll even be so bold to say it’s the best looking PSVR game so far. Great graphics combined with a well-designed Fairy Tale setting, charming little towns, forests, castles, and even a pub. As the Reader, you feel quite cozy in your environment but it’s when you see it through Quill’s eyes that you realize just how large it is. The tiniest stick will be an obstacle, a thorny vine can cause death, and what seems like a tiny gap will be a death-defying jump for Quill. Polyarc did an excellent job of making you experience the feeling of being small one minute, and godlike the next.
The largest part of Quill’s gameplay is solving puzzles which do get naturally more difficult with progression but never push you to the brink of madness. Some of the more difficult ones will leave you beaming with pride upon their solution and no doubt a happy dance of cuteness from your partner. Combat is intuitive but simplistic which feels natural for a character of her size. It also lacks the frustration of bad platforming as jumps and timed events are buttery smooth. I did need to re-calibrate the camera a couple of times but other than that Quill was a fine example of a well-shipped game with few technical issues.
Moss is amazing on every level and far surpassed my very high expectations. In the future, I would like to see more diversity in enemies and perhaps a new weapon or two, but I guess my biggest complaint about Moss is that it could have been longer. We are assured at the end that this was just the first book in a promising beginning but even still, I can’t help wishing there were one or two more chapters in the first book.
Moss PS4 Review
Moss is a heartwarming masterpiece as well as a technical marvel of a game that brings PSVR its first sensation. It’s somewhat short in length but that still doesn’t detract from the experience overall. Polyarc is the Naughty Dog of VR and you shouldn’t miss this amazing debut.
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Reviewed using PS4 Pro.