I have just finished Moss and pretty much all I can say is that this VR game is perfect, adorable adventure puzzle fun.
Here is why
- Quill is the most adorable hero of all times and she is a fearless badass too.
- Every single level is a beautiful piece of art and testimony to the devs’ creativity.
- The way VR is integrated into the story and the gameplay is simply amazing.
- Combat and puzzles become harder as you progress and that’s awesome. You need to adapt with each new level.
- Working in tandem with Quill is just so much fun! (I love it when she gives me the thumbs-up or we do a high-five after having successfully completed a level)
- Also, no motion sickness!
Beware of spoilers in the following review.
The story is the soul of the game, Quill the heart
If you were a kid in the eighties, chances are you’ve either read the book The Neverending Story by Michael Ende or seen the movie adaption. It is a touching and passionate tribute to the art of storytelling and to the power of imagination. Moss is just like that.
Actually, I started playing late last evening and finished the game today, unable to stop for the sheer joy and beauty of it.
As you follow the adventures of rodent heroine Quill, who is a white mouse living in a truly enchanting forest and out to save someone very dear to her, you will find yourself in the role of the Reader, a benvolent ghost reminiscent of the Koanashi, the creepy creature Chihiro of Japanese master piece Spirited Away inadvertedly invites into the bathhouse and who then proceeds to glutton itself on all the food the house has on offer. As the Reader, you are able to interact with certain elements within the levels, including Quill, whom you are able to heal and to both help and protect by controlling her bug-like enemies.
Quill may be just a tiny mouse, but she is incredibly brave and a fierce fighter. As you progress, the bond you share will deepen and strengthen.
This is what VR was made for. The way the player interacts with the game, with Quill, is so immersive and such a perfect fit for this tale, that I found myself thinking more than once: why hasn’t anyone else thought of that before?
(Well, maybe they have, but then, I haven’t played that many VR games yet.)
While most VR games I have played so far use the first-person-perspective to enhance the VR experience and basically let you slip into another world (Theseus is an exception), wearing the protagonist’s skin like a glove, Moss uses VR to showcase a fantastic world and to let the player both interact with and control the main protagonist.
It is like watching an incredibly cute adventure unfold before your eyes with the added bonus of being able to interfere. Especially close to the ending I was sometimes so caught up in what was going on on the screen that I did not notice the interaction prompts directed my way. Also, you will sometimes have to interact with the world and take control of Quill at the same time. In the heat of battle that can be very tricky, when solving puzzles it is a boon.
Speaking of puzzles, Quill can activate switches by pulling or by standing on them. Also, bugs can be contolled to serve as counterweight or to shoot at mechanisms that activate platforms. Thankfully, Quill is pretty expressive (and looks absolutely adorable) when it comes to explaining what you have to do.
Some of the puzzles are actually incredibly tricky. There was one down in the mines where Quill encounters suicidal bugs that, when faced with an intruder, will explode in a cloud of poison. As the Reader you can interrupt that process by taking control of the bugs and leading them where they can blow up obstacles or activate mechanisms with the force of the explosion. So in this puzzle you have to lead various suicide-bugs through the set-piece to move a platform from left to right to up and left again to help Quill ascend to the exit of the level. I took my sweet long time figuring that out, I tell you.
Apart from featuring clever puzzles, Moss is also heavy on combat. The bugs come at Quill in numbers and as the Reader you have to try and control certain foes to give her an opening. There are some incredibly intense battles closer to the end that will test you skills. Definitely.
As mentioned in the beginning, Moss is perfect, adorable adventure puzzle fun. And, what’s even better, this is just Book One. And, right now, I can’t wait for Book Two to be released.
Keep on playing!