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Moss is a remarkable game. Not just because of how good it is (and it’s quite good) but also because of the mere fact that it exists at all. The VR market is overrun with mature-leaning shooting games full of blood and gore and developers have an obsession with developing these games from the first-person perspective. If it doesn’t have motion controllers with full, smooth locomotion no one seems interested in playing. But Moss defies all of these expectations.
Moss is a third-person top-down isometric action-adventure-puzzle game featuring a tiny little mouse. There’s no blood, no gore, and very little combat to speak of throughout the entire adventure and you can only play it using a single DualShock 4 controller in your hands.
The past two years of covering VR games has led me to believe that games like this just weren’t “for” VR as a platform, but Polyarc has proved me wrong.
If you’ve played titles like Lucky’s Tale, Edge of Nowhere, or even Chronos, then you know there is a good bit of value to be found in third-person VR games. You lose a bit of presence typically in those other examples, but you gain a lot of perspective and scale. In the case of Moss, the developers have found a way to defy logic and marry all of that together.
The main character of the game is Quill, a tiny little white mouse, and she exists separately from your character, known as a “reader”. Everything in Moss is told through the pages of a storybook that’s recited to you between each of the game’s various chapters. During the moments of action you zoom into the pages and take control of Quill using your controller’s analog stick and buttons.
Given the obsession with motion controllers in VR currently it’s easy to forget that the DualShock 4 also has motion tracking built in with the light on the front of it. As a result, this is a major gameplay element in Moss.
Your controller is the bridge between the real world and Quill’s world. She will look up at you, acknowledging your presence, and even give you high fives after you complete particularly challenging segments. More than a few times she’d even communicate with sign language and point out things in the world for me to check out. Lucky’s Tale explored some of this a little bit, but that was mostly from a follow-along camera perspective. In Moss, you’re given real agency as a part of the game world.
Some segments let me look down at pools of water to see my mask-covered reflection gazing back. If Quill gets hurt I can reach out and sooth her pain to restore her to full health. If I’m feeling particularly affectionate, I can even pet her on the top of the head, between the ears, until she smiles. Using the small ball of light I can interact with areas of the world to push blocks, move obstacles, and even control enemies as well.
There’s a real sense of companionship […] UploadVR