Moss may very well be the most adorable game that I have ever played and Quill, the small but brave protagonist, is a national treasure that must be protected. This fairytale adventure follows Quill on her quest to rescue her uncle from the evil snake Sarffog in one of the most charming puzzle-based games that I have ever played. While the game has been out for a few years now on other platforms, this was my first playthrough thanks to the recent PSVR2 release and to say that Moss is magnificent is an understatement.
Now, I don’t have children, but after completing this adventure Quill may as well be my child. I have never been so determined to keep a videogame character from harm. That’s why Moss is special, the entire game works because of the remarkable bond that grows between Quill and the player, referred to as “the reader”, throughout the adventure. The fact that the game can make you care so much for its small hero, despite its incredibly short run time, is a testament to the incredible world design and simple, but moving, story. Throughout the campaign Quill and “the reader” must work together to overcome a slew of clever environmental puzzles and increasingly difficult enemies. While Quill herself is a capable warrior, both nimble and smart, she does need the help of “the reader”, who overlooks the entire world from above, to manipulate larger obstacles to help her progress.
The bulk of the game consists of puzzles and learning how to manipulate the world and enemies around you, with the puzzles slowly progressing in complexity as the story unfolds. Despite this, the puzzles never become too overwhelming, rather they cleverly build on previous sections and make great use of Quill’s newfound abilities and “the reader’s” problem solving skills. As “the reader” you will push and pull objects to create new pathways for Quill, while also manipulating enemies to hold down pressure switches or to shoot far off items. Quill will earn new swords as she progresses, granting her new fighting styles and abilities, including the ability to take power from you so she can launch a projectile of her own.
Moss works so well because it makes you feel as if you and Quill are a team, both needing each other to progress. If you become stuck, Quill will offer guidance, attempting to tell you through excited pointing what to do next. After completing particularly complex puzzles Quill will celebrate, walking up to you for a high five. The whole thing is rather adorable. Moss is unique in that it makes you feel as if you are an active part of a game’s world and that your actions affect the outcome, not that you’re just inhabiting a random character in that world.
The entire game is gorgeous, shown from a first person perspective but one in which you are overlooking the entire area and controlling a character from above, providing a unique perspective for a VR game. Each section looks and feels like you are playing inside of elaborately designed dioramas, and the attention to detail is extraordinary. Each area is a mini set which Quill and you can explore. The area remains static, allowing you to move Quill and to look around at will. You can peer around corners to see areas you may not be able to reach or to find hidden items or you can stand to get a better view of the scene. This approach works well and each time you set foot in a new room you’ll immediately find yourself scanning all areas to see what may lie in hiding or the best route forward.
I mentioned before that Moss is short, clocking in at only 3 hours or so, but there is some built in replayability. There are over 30 forgotten fragment scrolls to find, which are cleverly hidden in many sections, along with a ton of fairy dust, which is released by destroying objects. For those who enjoy the more difficult puzzles, there are three challenge rooms hidden which will test all your acquired skills to complete.
The worst part about Moss is that it ends on a cliffhanger, with you ready to continue your adventure. Thankfully, Moss: Book II exists, allowing you to immediately continue your tale without the waiting period that players experienced upon the game’s original release.
Seriously, do yourself a favor and check Moss out if you have somehow – like me – missed out on this adventure for the past few years.
Richard Allen is a freelance writer and contributing editor for various publications. When not writing for Gaming Trend you can find him covering theatre for Broadway World, movies and TV for Fandomize, or working on original stories. An avid retro gamer, he is overly obsessed with Dragon's Lair. Chat with him via @thricetheartist on Twitter and @richardallenwrites on Facebook and Instagram.
Moss is an incredible puzzle-based adventure which uses VR to create a unique and stunning experience, all while featuring one of the most adorable heroes to come along in years. Featuring creative puzzles, a simple, but heartfelt story, some fun platforming and action sequences, Moss is a must have for any VR lover’s game catalog.