Moss - Review

Author: Andrea Passero
Date: 2021-01-26 12:37:33
Moss is a story within history. It is the story of a reader who, inside a huge room (very, very similar to the Great Hall of Hogwarts), is involved in the events narrated in a book that has as its protagonist Quill, a little mouse who happens to be following the steps of a great hero of the past together with a spirit that will accompany her along her adventurous journey.

An experience that draws narrative elements from The Neverending Story and is inspired by Ico for the gameplay, in which Quill and the spirit (the reader's alter ego) will have to collaborate between jumps, climbs, fights with various creatures and environmental puzzles to allow the little mouse to reach the last page of the enchanted book.

All of this translates into a magical action adventure with platform game influences for PlayStation VR. Yes, Moss is pure magic.

It is not just the story of the spirit and Quill, whose affinity and bond that unites them increases step by step, but it is magical what Polyarc (made up of former members of Bungie, Rockstar Games and BioWare, to name a few) is managed to put together on a technical and artistic level. Virtual reality itself is a harbinger of emotions and breathtaking scenery, but the development team has not limited itself to exploiting these features in a passive way, it has made them an integral part of the gameplay.

Living the world told in Moss's book is like interacting with a living diorama: the player can sit comfortably and command both Quill and the spirit with the DualShock 4 alone, and despite the fair number of actions available, everything is simple and immediate. The mouse can jump, slash with the sword and dodge through the analog lever and controller keys, while the spirit has the role of supporting actor, interacting with the elements on the screen through a sphere of energy that is always visible and embodied by the front led of the pad.

Simple mechanics, but combined with each other, they are stimulating and satisfying in solving environmental puzzles and in fighting, thanks above all to the "real" three-dimensionality, given by the tracking of the controller and the free movements of the player, useful for studying the level in detail to see collectibles or traps behind walls or columns.

The whole thing is magnificent both to experience and to see, because Moss is without doubt one of the best games for PlayStation VR on a technical level, even on a standard PlayStation 4. Accompanying the exploits of Quill between platform phases seasoned with environmental puzzles, fights and trial & error sessions is enchanting from all points of view, thanks to a fairytale, bewitching and engaging atmosphere.

The various environments, which offer different game situations at a good pace and give life to the world of Moss, shine for texture, colors, definition and details. Quill is divinely made, as well as its animations, so much so that you will love it from the first moment. The emotional factor is not negligible, as the magical bond between the mouse and the Reader who personifies the spirit is one of the key elements of the narration and of the story itself, and it is clear that Polyarc has left nothing to chance, giving life to a character who, as mentioned, will immediately break into the hearts of the players thanks to the different (and arbitrary) interactions between Quill and the spirit. But it's not just the design of the settings and characters that penetrate and leverage the player's emotions, there is also a fine art direction and an excellent soundtrack, perfectly suited to the magical world of Moss.

If there is a game that can showcase the potential of PlayStation VR (but also of virtual reality in general), that is certainly Moss, which thanks to the view from above and an excellent technical realization manages to almost completely break down the risk of running into one of the symptoms related to motion sickness, and envelops the player in a world as simple as it is fantastic, made up of woods, caves, ancient temples and medieval villages.

The development team has managed to wisely amalgamate artistic beauty, gameplay and storytelling by exploiting the enormous advantage in terms of immersion that virtual reality offers, giving life to a platform / adventure game that will remain in the heart, as well as one of the best games for PlayStation VR in an absolute sense. Too bad for the absence of the Italian language among the subtitles (but the English narrative voice is excellent) and the time you will have to wait to return to the enchanting world of Moss, if that ever happens. Meanwhile, the game is available on the PlayStation Store.

Feeling of motion sickness : none / low
Game speed : low / medium
VR effect : high

MODUS OPERANDI
I downloaded Moss from the PlayStation Store on PlayStation 4 thanks to a code provided by the developers. I completed the main story of the game (the only mode available) in just over 6 hours by exploring each level offered by the title to find as many collectibles as possible, missing two. In this time span I removed the PlayStation VR viewer only once for a pause (not related to motion sickness problems) of about an hour.