Crafting a sequel to a critically acclaimed game must be hard work. Not only do you have to create a successor which lives up to the hype of the original title, but also write a compelling story that progresses the themes of the first game in natural ways while also developing new gameplay ideas that will prevent the game from feeling like a simple retread. Of course, Moss: Book II could have simply been more of the same and most people would have been happy, but I was pleasantly surprised at just how above and beyond the developers went to craft a genuinely emotional, surprisingly creative, and incredibly gorgeous follow-up. Book II takes the themes and gameplay ideas from the first title and nearly perfects them, creating a longer, more difficult, and more varied adventure for Quill this time around.
Book II begins where Moss ended, immediately thrusting the player into familiar settings. Our hero is still determined to complete her mission of preventing the approaching evil from taking over the land, and to do so she must collect five glass relics that are spread throughout the world. Completing Moss before jumping into Moss: Book II isn’t required – there is a brief recap of the events of Moss before Book II begins – but I’d still highly recommend doing so. Moss is an incredibly short adventure but experiencing it will greatly strengthen the more emotional aspects of this story while also providing players with a better appreciation of the improvements made for Book II.
The first half of Book II feels quite similar to Moss, aside from the addition of a few new abilities for the reader. The reader can now create vines for Quill to climb and connect branches to create bridges, helping to immediately distinguish the puzzles in Book II from Moss. Otherwise, the game progresses in relatively the same way that Moss did, that is until the second half of the game which turns the story on its head. Once the second half begins the game never lets up, adding in new weapons, new enemies, more difficult puzzles, new abilities for Quill, and new characters. I was invested at the beginning, but when the latter half of the adventure began, I could barely pull myself away.
The abrupt change was unexpected, though much was needed to help distinguish Moss 2 from its predecessor. While I won’t spoil anything here if you’ve somehow missed this title in the years since its release, I can safely say that Book II surpasses the first in nearly every way, upping the tension, puzzle creativity, boss fights, and emotional beats. The only thing lacking is enemy variety, which was an issue in the first adventure as well, although enemies have never been the focus in Moss, rather they only serve as obstacles on your way to the next beautifully designed diorama-like puzzle room or as objects which must be used to solve a puzzle.
Moss: Book II is a gorgeously designed platformer, featuring a stunning level design that constantly impresses with the amount of detail poured into its tiny landscapes. From lush indoor gardens to lavishly designed building interiors and massive castles, Book II sees Quill travel through a variety of incredible locations, each filled with impressively complex – though never frustrating – puzzles to solve. Book II also ramps up boss variety, including some intense and graphically impressive boss fights, especially one which takes place down in a boiler room that will test your faith in whether little Quill can really overcome all the obstacles in her path when those blocking her are so intimidating.
Like the first title, one of the reasons why Book II works so well is the bond between the player and Quill. In these games you are an active part of the story, not just controlling a random character in the game. You feel as if your actions matter; Quill constantly acknowledges your presence and thanks you for your help, and the narrator often reminds you of your importance to the events. This helps draw you into the story in ways unexpected, as you become invested in Quill’s journey and feel as if her success is your success, and her failure is due to your negligence. It’s a great way to emotionally tie you into the story and a unique way of using VR to provide an experience unavailable in other mediums.
If you enjoyed Moss, you’re nearly guaranteed to love Book II. So, sit down, grab your PSVR2, and prepare to dive into Quill’s world once more.
Moss: Book II
Moss: Book II is a genuinely emotional, surprisingly creative, and incredibly gorgeous follow-up to its critically acclaimed predecessor. Book II takes the themes and gameplay ideas from the first title and nearly perfects them and in doing so has created a longer, more difficult, and more fulfilling adventure for Quill.
- New abilities allow for more creative puzzles
- Boss fights are tense and fun
- Each diorama-like area is detailed and fun to explore
- Quill is still one of the most likable heroes in gaming history
- Lack of enemy variety