Sitting in a grand hall that wouldn’t look out of place in Hogwarts, the VR adventure into the world of Moss begins with the turn of a page. Immediately you are transported into a fascinating world and swiftly introduced to the character of Quill and then, your own character. You are a Reader – aptly named indeed – and it’s only with your help and support that Quill will be able to navigate the cruel world and find her grandfather who has gone missing.
Playing as the character of the Reader gives a direct connection to the world and a great grounding to your being and reason for the third person perspective. Looking down on Quill’s world, you can explore each scene like it’s a giant diorama – gloriously detailed and begging for you to lean in and look behind the many walls to uncover its secrets.
Meanwhile, Quill holds everything together – your own VR pet mouse – she has bags of character and is very lifelike. The devs have nailed her movement and tiny mouse quirks – twitching her nose and swishing her tail as she scampers through the world, offering her paw for a high five when you best tough scenarios, and pointing the way that she thinks you should head together, and it’s this togetherness that rings true throughout your journey.
This connected world is strengthened further with the role that the DualShock controller plays. Able to reach into the world, you can move items in the environment, drag enemies out of the way and interact directly with Quill. I have never felt so connected to a VR game before and while the ending reaches a perfectly acceptable climax, it left me painfully wanting more, not because I felt the game was too short, but because I longed to spend more time with this cute little VR mouse. Thankfully, the ending comes with the information that you have merely finished book 1 – I do hope that Moss gets enough love that we get to see more books released.
With Limbo like qualities, stunning set pieces entwine beautifully with the VR experience, using the technology to its best rather than for mere gimmicks or depth tricks. It also creates a brilliant sense of scale, with each section placing you at different viewpoints – the base of a river, looking down a hill, overlooking a small village – it’s utterly wonderful.
The game is littered with simple puzzles – both navigational and combat – which get progressively more complex with extra dynamics thrown in that will put your multitasking to the test. Only a handful of situations had me scratching my head in confusion. This doesn’t detract from the gameplay and I really struggled throughout my time with Moss to come to many negatives, and even though the combat is simple, there were numerous occasions when I was beaten.
The whole game continually links back to the pages of the book you are reading from and this is capped off by the wonderful talents of Morla Gorrondona who reads the book to you, a beautiful voice that exquisitely tells the tale – she is simply wonderful. While Moss could be enjoyed without the need for VR, its use is so well implemented that I couldn’t help but fall hopelessly in love with the game and more importantly, Quill, and that’s because of how immersed I was in the world. Thanks to VR, I felt part of the story, a place I lived in and a place I want to go back to. This is exactly what VR games should strive for.
Indeed, Moss is a delightful game that’s hard to fault. The puzzle solving, while simple, is fun. The combat is tight with an edge of complexity but one that never gets too out of hand, while the navigation through each perfectly sculpted diorama is delightful to negotiate and explore, but like all bedtime stories they must come to an end, with hope that you will be told another one soon…