As I continue my journey into the world of virtual reality, one of the coolest things I’ve experienced thus far is how it has completely changed the way I feel about certain genres of games. First it was puzzle games, and now with Moss, it’s platformers. Essentially all that has changed is the way that I interact with these games, but it has opened my eyes to their true potential, and perhaps to the true potential of VR as a whole.
Before starting Moss, I knew that it had a reputation as one of VR’s, and specifically PlayStation VR’s, finest titles. After a fresh upgrade and port to Sony’s newest headset, I am pleased to report that its reputation remains sterling, and I would consider it an essential title on PS VR2.
You begin by opening the pages of the book of Moss, a tale which follows the adorable, charming mouse called Quill. She’s quite cute, from her exclaiming “hi-yah!” when she executes a jump attack, to her randomly wanting a high-five from you after solving a puzzle. Quill’s world (the titular Moss) was once the victim of invasion from nefarious outside forces, which her uncle helped lead a resistance against at the time. Moss’ narrative unfolds at the literal turn of a page, which you do using the Sense controllers between chapters. It is the earliest example of how Moss uses the hardware to immerse you in the game with great success. You take control of Quill as she stumbles across a bright artifact of sorts in the woods, which she returns home to show her war-hero uncle. Whatever it is causes him to leave abruptly to carry out an unknown task and instruct Quill not to follow.
The adventure picks up from there and takes place across a series of gorgeous 3D diorama-style environments. The world of Moss is a real highlight, and you view it from an almost isometric perspective, as if you are a puppet master looking down on the show. It’s a very cool way to present a 3D platformer, and is a big reason why I mentioned earlier that Moss has totally opened my eyes to what the genre can be. You control Quill with the left joystick as you would expect, but you look around the world as if you were peering into the back of a dollhouse, is the best way I can describe it. For instance, if there is a stone column in your way, you’ll need to lean forward or sideways to manipulate your body to see around it. It sounds simple, but it was such a neat touch that really helped differentiate Moss as a VR platformer rather than a traditional TV platformer.
Moss feels great in the hands as well, with a perfectly balanced combination of controlling Quill as you traditionally would a 3D character, but also manipulating objects in the environment to open up pathways, solve puzzles, and aid in combat. Moving her around the environments, jumping over obstacles, or swinging her sword all felt tight and precise. The combat here is basic, but it was just enough. There are a few different varieties of baddies that you’ll come across, each with different attack patterns to keep you on your toes (fingers?). In addition to fighting directly with Quill, you can also mind control, essentially, the enemies within reach by grabbing them and using them in various ways to either attack each other or solve puzzles. Again, the mix of Quill-to-player interactivity is something I felt was very well balanced, and it gives you more of a sense of being a part of the story, rather than just controlling a character in the story. The player interactivity is made better of course by the features of PS VR2, including the headset rumbling during certain scenes, the way it feels to grab to turn the pages of the book, or the very clever healing mechanic.
You can finish Moss in about four hours, give or take, but there are also collectibles and a few secrets if you’re looking to hit 100% completion. It doesn’t overstay its welcome, but from a comfort standpoint, I did experience a headache after two separate play sessions. Unsurprisingly, those were also my two longest stints with the game. The camera perspective will at times slightly adjust its zoom level, which I am assuming is a glitch of some sort, but regardless it made me feel a bit like a bobble head after a while. Beyond that, I experienced a few minor issues with audio cutting out but nothing major.
Having never played Moss prior to now, it’s hard for me to say if you should spring for the PS VR2 upgrade if you’re thinking about returning. But what I can tell you, with confidence, is that it’s an excellent game that changed the way I feel about the platformer genre altogether. That is thanks in part to the magic of Moss, and also in part to the magic of virtual reality, but in the end we’re just fortunate that both of those things have coalesced to create a truly special game.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
Hello! I'm Jason, the newest member of Gaming Nexus. My favorite genres of games are strategy, management, city-builders, sports games, RPGs, and shooters, but I don't limit myself to those. My favorite game of all-time is Red Dead Redemption 2 and I have somehow played it for nearly 1,000 hours. I also co-host a weekly PlayStation news podcast called The Dual Sense Podcast, so I stay pretty well versed in that ecosystem. Before that, I co-hosted a basketball podcast.View Profile