Moss is a charming VR puzzle adventure game that focuses around a lovely little mouse named Quill. It’s a game I’ve had my eye on for a long time so I was very excited to be given the chance to review it, and overall it doesn’t disappoint.
The game is set out as a fairy tale that you are reading as an actual story book in a library, creating the world and adventures of this little mouse and her woodland friends. Instead of cutscenes you read the pages of the book which is quite cute, you use your controller to flip the pages of the book, adding an additional level of interaction.
The story line is an epic quest of tiny proportions in which Quill is tasked with a quest to save her uncle, after being cast out of her homeland by a giant snake. Quill finds a glass relic which then bonds her with you, the reader, she can see you at all times and you become part of the story.
To be honest the story didn’t exactly grab me and I don’t know whether that’s because it doesn’t appeal to me as an adult or because the narrator got on my tits, most of the time I found myself wanting to skip the story page scenes and get on with the puzzles. I kind of hoped that the cutscenes just played out in the little world, it would have been great to observe it in that way, but i didn’t hate the library setting that was created for the book scenes. I did like that they fed you as person into the story, which makes sense when you’re hovering over the virtual world.
Quill is one of the most adorable characters I’ve ever played as in a game. She interacts with you in ways such as squeaking at you to tell you to get a move on or getting antsy (Or playing cute) when you invade her personal space. So many times I lent in to observe her as closely as possible and was completely blown away by this cute little mouse, I want an intelligent combat mouse for my own! Overall her movements are pretty basic which lends itself to being a puzzle game. Quill can jump, climb and swing her sword, which makes it more of an indie platformer puzzler than an adventure game.
The game overall is pretty simple in concept, but this is what makes it work so well. Puzzles are solved to move through the one screen environments, these change as you solve each puzzle and go through the sequential doorway (later in the game you have to back and forth between several to solve the puzzles). It’s not all down to quill though as you have to help with a hovering blue orb, this is used to move platforms, pull switches, subdue/control enemies and even heal your little friend. Solving each puzzle and reaching the next doorway progresses the story and unlocks more of this exciting world.
An amazing little fantasy world has been created that starts of as small natural openings which have taverns for woodland creatures etc and move on to mighty castles and large openings, the settings are really impressive and often I spent a few minutes looking around the new area. The levels are really well crafted and definitely create a great atmosphere which makes you want to see much more of this fantasy world. I was always getting up to look around the levels and take it all in, looking around leads me to talking about the puzzles themselves. Firstly they’re pretty simple (pulling out a block to enable quill to get higher or placing a statue on a pressure pad to open a door for example) but they get much more complex and start involving moving columns, turnable stairways and multiple areas. The enemies are also often involved to help you complete the puzzles. Quite often I found myself actually getting up and using the full capabilities of the headset to look around the whole level to figure it out. There isn’t anything bad that can be said about the level design and puzzles as they really go require some thinking and do genuinely challenge you at times.
The combat also starts pretty simply, and quite honestly just acts as a small distraction, but develops into something much more for the game. As I’ve mentioned the enemies (mechanical bugs) are used to help with puzzles (controlling /moving them to click pressure pads, some also shoot so you can use them for alternative devices) and eventually are involved in most levels. There are actually certain parts which require to defeat all enemies to progress, a gauntlet as such, and these actually get quite difficult. What I enjoyed was controlling the bugs to not only solve puzzles but also to defeat each other, this can definitely help you a lot when in a pinch.
The graphics as you may have been able to tell are brilliant. There was never a time that anything looked ropey or sub par, I guess that’s the advantage of having small levels that generate one piece at a time. Every environment made me want to take my time and really enjoy the levels. Quill herself looks almost real and the game overall wouldn’t work as well as it does without it looking so good.
The game really lends itself to virtual reality and has been beautifully crafted. It also creates the sense you’re in a tiny world by putting large objects (such as deer or faraway castles) in the background, reminding you that you are part of a tiny secret world. The screenshots really don’t do the game justice. The graphics are pretty flawless which is rare for a VR game, I was never taken out of the ‘virtual world’ by bad graphics.
In summary this is a charming, complex, well crafted puzzle platformer that uses the vr headset in the most superior way. It’s not a game any vr owner should miss especially for the low price tag. I always wanted more of the free robot capture game that’s on the playroom vr game and this is more of that fun, birds eye view platforming. It does well to involve you as an actual character but ensure the game revolves around quill and the interactive levels. The only downsides are the fact that it’s really quite short (an issue with most vr games) and the narrator is a bit annoying.
I’d like to see more of Moss, I can see myself playing it through a couple of times and definitely want a sequel. We need to see more games like Moss for the VR, simple games that work really well for the headset.