Moss is one of the best PlayStation VR games out there right now. It is a short and very sweet experience that has solid gameplay, a stunning world and most loveable of main protagonists.
The game tells the story of the unlikely hero Quill, who is a mouse – a very cute mouse. She stumbles upon a mystical object that summons a ghostly mute figure called The Reader. They must work together to save Quill’s uncle and potentially reclaim the city that years ago was stolen from Quill’s people by mechanical creatures.
In Moss, you play as both Quill and The Reader. Quill controls like a third-person adventure character – you move around with the analog stick, you can jump and attack. But you do not control the camera – that is The Reader’s purpose. Although you cannot move the position of The Reader, the game uses the full capabilities of a 360 degree VR experience and allows you to survey the whole level. The Reader also interacts with some objects to help Quill throughout her quest.
The gameplay is a mixture of puzzle solving sections and combat encounters. The puzzle solving involves platforming to the end of the level as Quill and usually involves some sort of interaction from The Reader, like pulling out a platform or opening a door. The combat has Quill use simple attacks with her sword against mechanical insect-like enemies. However, The Reader can grab hold of these creatures to incapacitate them, giving Quill a safer opportunity to strike.
Both of these sides of the gameplay work very well. The puzzles are designed in a way so you will never have to restart the level to solve it and they are always very satisfying to figure out. The combat feels tight, responsive but is also a surprisingly thoughtful process. You are constantly thinking about how to use each character’s abilities correctly since you are controlling two separate characters and things can feel pretty tense when multiple enemies are coming for your mouse friend.
The best part of this game is the genuine, touching connection you build up between the two playable characters over the course of the narrative. The game is only around three hours long but by the end, you will feel an affection for Quill and even The Reader despite having an expressionless mask for a face. This is indeed partly achieved by Quill’s utter adorableness; her animations when you directly interact with her are undeniably cute even to the coldest of hearts. But the game also makes you fall in love with these characters through pure cooperation (ironic since it is a single player game). Quill and The Reader are bound to one another and seeing them work together in order to progress to the end of the game makes you much more attached to them.
One of the game’s few flaws regards VR calibration. If you find while playing that the game is not calibrated correctly you can easily pause the game and recalibrate from there. However, you are then met with a black screen for, no joke, about five minutes. Naturally, VR is still a technology in its infancy and the wait time to recalibrate is somewhat understandable. But having to stare at nothing at all makes for a grating, unwanted occurrence. It did not happen often, but it is best avoided certainly. I found that when finishing a level, turning to face straight forward again seemed to help so the game will not get confused as to where forward for you actually is.
Even with issues with calibration, you will come out of playing this great game with a nice warm feeling. Moss is a good-natured game that wants to make you feel more positive and believe that even the smallest of creatures can accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. Its narrative is gripping, and its gameplay is engrossing, but a central relationship formed just over a few hours will tug at your heart strings and maybe even make you shed a tear.