Moss

Moss introduces you to Quill, an adorable, lovable mouse whose aspiring dreams can no longer be held within the forest in which she lives. As Quill finds a mysterious Glass Relic, you will accompany her along her quest to vanquish the evil that threatens her family and homeland. For Quill to be the hero, she needs your help to solve puzzles, battle enemies and explore various terrains.  As you team up with Quill you can watch a hero grow up in front of your eyes.   

Quick Facts

Game Style: VR Platformer
Controller: Dual Shock
Length: 2.5 hours
Price: $29.99
PlayPSVR Score: 8

I think it is pretty well known that Quill is being supported as the new PSVR mascot.  She is everything wanted in a hero.  Sweet, courageous, smart, adorable, heroic, etc.  I knew when I booted up the game that Moss' main protagonist was a little mouse, but the first time I saw her my heart melted.  She is just so cute and personable.  I have never felt that way about a video game character before.  Maybe it is because she is an animal and not just another human.  Or maybe because she is the forgotten and oftentimes overlooked mouse.  Regardless of reason, Quill is an essential piece of Moss, and just one of many reasons why this game is so special and meaningful not just as a game, but PSVR as a whole. 

Moss boasts one of the better plots for any PSVR title.  A hidden relic is found by Quill but she doesn't realize the implications that come with owning such a relic.  As she discusses the issue with her Uncle, he leaves her in an attempt to slow down the evil forces that will surely do whatever it takes to own back the powerful relic.  As she becomes captured by the enemies, Quill takes matters in to her own hands (as well as yours) and chooses to face them head on.  In an effort to avoid spoilers this is only as far as I will go.  But the plot is very well thought out and presented as a story book with different chapters.  I think that it isn't so much that the plot is incredible, but the way in which it is told is incredible.  Then entire game flows so smoothly because of the way plot and game play progresses together.  The plot is told as though you are listening to a fairy tale, not playing a game. It is elegant, classy and makes the game play fit perfectly into it's progression, making for an incredible experience for the player.

A huge part of the game play is the utilization of puzzles.  As you control Quill through the world you will need to solve a multitude of puzzles to advance.  These are mostly logistical puzzles, but nothing too difficult that hampers the smooth flow of the game.  Many of these puzzles include object interactions with the player.  For example, there are objects in which you need to move out of Quill's path, statues to place in certain spots to open doors, or enemies that need moved to specific areas on player-placed platforms.  I love these puzzles because it gives the player a break from just the typical VR platformer.  It incorporates two different game styles in one and enhances the overall experience. 

Another big piece of the game is the combat which incorporates using Quill along with her sword to attack enemies. This is very simple, but Zelda-esque and works well.  Her attack is somewhat sluggish and after an attack you are not capable of retreating quickly.  This comes into play because if you attack an enemy while they are concurrently winding up for an attack, then you will get hit because Quill can't attack and run away fast enough to avoid the enemy's attack.  With a little practice, this isn't difficult to maneuver.  Of the three main components of the game (atmosphere, puzzles, combat) I think this is the weakest link.  There aren't that many enemies to fight and it is so simple that at times it falls flat.  It wasn't poorly done, but just wasn't as exciting as other aspects of the game. 

Another thing about the game that I absolutely loved was the fact that you are watching this mouse run through the world and in most platformers we know, you can't move.  You get a 2D feel and have to judge everything based off that one vantage point you have.  But with Moss, you can actually move and see the environment in different angles which needs to be done repeatedly to help Quill navigate dangerous paths and obstacles.  It was really cool being able to move and see secret areas or just help identify the way in which Quill needs to travel.  

The dual shock controls work fantastic for Moss.  I hate when a game executes simple game play perfectly but then ruins it with funky controls or over complicated mechanics.  Moss does not do this.  The controls are as simple as the game play and that most certainly is a good thing.  With a fair bit of platforming elements it is essential for the player to have fluid controls and the developers nailed it here. 

The game also uses a well varied amount of enemies.  You see some enemies repeatedly, but in no way are overused.  The atmosphere and the world in which Quill travels is as beautiful as you will see on the PSVR.  The graphics are crisp and clean. From every angle they look great and you can tell that the developers put in hours upon hours of work to ensure that every little detail was exactly as they wanted.  I could fairly easily say that Moss is the best looking game on the PSVR. 

This is the point in which I start to be critical and quite frankly, rather confused.  Do not get me wrong, Moss is a great game.  Everything I have mentioned thus far is very exemplary and I meant everything I wrote.  However, I do not understand why everyone is losing their minds over this game.  The graphics are fantastic, quite possibly the prettiest game we have seen to date.  The mascot is an adorable character who is the most lovable to date.  But I'm sorry, my opinion is that the game isn't good enough to be getting quite the love that it is getting.  By this I mean, Moss isn't console or genre defining like it is being hyped as.  

Forbes released an article saying: "Finally, Moss is a game that makes PSVR worth buying".  I have seen repeatedly Moss is hands down the greatest game on the PSVR and has redefined what VR is about.  On and on and on.  Has anyone played Resident Evil? Moss has a more lovable protagonist, but rather than that RE7 (in my opinion, mind you) boasts a better immersiveness, game play, atmosphere, plot, controls, usage of VR and overall is pretty easily the better game.  My opinion is one guy's thoughts I understand that and I completely appreciate and value other's opinions, but I just don't get it.  

Furthermore, Moss' game play for me is just flat.  To be honest, I never really felt like I was having "fun" playing Moss.  Like the first time I played Farpoint and sniped a spider out of the air, I smiled, chuckled a bit, and had "fun".  When I was walking through the Baker's house and the father broke through the wall, causing my heart to temporarily stop as I turned away and ran like a little baby, I was having "fun".  Playing Area X in Rez Infinite and having the dragon circle me as the techno-colored environment visually stimulated me to the point of awe, I was having "fun".  Not once did I feel this with Moss.  In fact, often time I found the puzzles way too easy and extremely tedious.  I disliked the combat mechanic and think it was highly under-utilized.  I don't understand the hype.  No doubt a Top 5 game, but I seriously do not understand how this is PSVR-defining or a game that blew the nips off every single person who played it.  

I have yet to see one bad thing written about Moss. People didn't even complain about the lowly 2.5 hours of content! And I didn't think I would ever see that happen.  So maybe I am crazy or the one skeptic in this world.  Or maybe I'm the only one willing to stand out and define it's faults.  Maybe I simply don't get it and Moss is one of those games that just doesn't click with me.  Or possibly everyone is so enamored with Quill that they can't objectively look at the other (in my opinion the most important) parts of the game.  Regardless, I am glad it is this way.  PSVR is incredible and if Moss makes hundreds more people purchase it then I support it.  If Moss is what it takes to get larger studios and more developers to consider VR, then who gives a crap what I think, let Moss reign. All I'm saying is if you somehow are reading this and haven't played it yet, consider re-adjusting your expectations so you are not discouraged if Moss doesn't reveal a piece of your soul that has been missing for all these years. 

Now that I got that off my chest, let's get back to some good things.  Although Moss does take a hit in its replay value because it is so plot driven, the inclusion of a platinum trophy and many many hidden scrolls helps.  You would have to be very meticulous or a complete beast to find all the scrolls in the entire game in one play through.  So more in likely if you are interested in doing so you will have to replay the game some to collect them all.  Same thing if you wanted that platinum trophy.  It also has some value if you have people come over and visit and want to play a game where they play as a cute mouse attacking insects and other bad guys. 

One thing that Moss definitely did for me was open my eyes to the potential of "semi-2D" games in VR.  I always wanted VR to be first person.  That is the point of VR right? If I wanted to see pretty graphics and play a 2D game I would just play PS4 and not bother with a PSVR.  Although there are other games like this (Pop-Up Pilgrims, for one) Moss is easily the best of this sub-genre.  I think many other games will attempt to do what Moss has done so well and for many people I think Moss opened people's eyes to the fact that VR doesn't always have to be first person shooters and out of body experiences.  Having a little 2D game play can be fun and is perfectly acceptable in VR. 

Moss is easily a top 5 game for the PSVR with its cuddly yet heroic protagonist, Quill, beautiful landscapes and excellent combination of puzzle and combat components.  It would not surprise me one bit if 5 years down the road we look back and see that Moss propelled PSVR into new heights. If you have yet to play Moss, it should be at the top of your wish list and one title that you can't miss playing. 

PlayPSVR score: 8