Moss (PlayStation 4) Review

By Drew Hurley 04.03.2018 1

Review for Moss on PlayStation 4

While most VR games place the player quite literally into the body of the character they are playing, this whimsical storybook adventure, Moss, from new studio Polyarc gives a wholly new perspective on the experience. Take on the role of a reader, gamers begin the experience by opening a book and, as the story plays out, they are able to directly impact this tale, following a little mouse named Quill on a grand fairytale adventure.

Playing Moss means playing as two very distinct characters - as the Reader, and as Quill. As the Reader, the player oversees the adventure unfolding before their very eyes. Looking down upon the proceedings from slightly above, they are able to move around, turning and ducking to get a closer look at each of the environments, peaking in doorways and behind obstacles to help guide Quill along the way. The Reader is not powerless in this world; they can reach out and grab elements, manipulating them to make a path for Quill. This is done with the motion-tracking on the DualShock 4, moving a glowing orb around the environment and grabbing with the trigger button to push, pull, turn, and lift key parts.

Screenshot for Moss on PlayStation 4

That same DualShock 4 is used simultaneously to control Quill. The analogue is used to move her, the X button to jump, and the Square button to attack. It seems like this could be awkward to juggle, but it quickly becomes second nature. The Reader can interact with enemies, freezing them or even controlling them and at points Moss piles on huge amounts of enemies and taking advantage of the abilities of both characters is essential to survive.

Quill is one of the most well-designed and truly likeable characters in an absolute age. The old trope of a little character with a big heart may be overdone but the designers here have made her absolutely endearing. Not just through her words and her quest, but through the little things in her character. Every little motion and movement is emphasised with a flourish - a dynamic twirl as she dashes away in combat, a quick roll and hops as she gets onto a ledge. Best of all is how Quill interacts with the Reader; tons of little moments, gestures, high-fives and so much more that just make her - and the whole experience - all the more delightful.

Screenshot for Moss on PlayStation 4

As fantastic as Quill is, the environments she traverses on her grand journey are just as impressive; from the first steps in the verdant forest, slashing through blades of grass higher than Moss' head, to a dark quagmire where the remnants of an ancient war litter the distance, then exploring beautiful, ancient cathedrals and spelunking the depths of caverns. Quill's quest sees the little mouse just trying to rescue her uncle, but fate has other plans. Fate conspires to make Quill a hero, gifting her with a magical relic that could save the world.

Screenshot for Moss on PlayStation 4

The VR element is completely immersive; it's like stepping into the pages of a fairytale. As the Reader, the view of the world is regularly from inside tight spaces and it's amazing just how claustrophobic it can feel - crouched in a cave with a low ceiling right above your head, peeking through little windows, or behind pillars. Not to mention the little surprises of the world - seeing the scale of huge deer as they step through the mist, for instance, or a certain serpentine monster exploding into frame.

The biggest issue with Moss is the short playtime; even when appreciating the experience and taking in the sights, there are only three hours or so here. There are some collectibles to track down, too, but most will end up finding them all during the initial playthrough. Some trophies give a little extra life in replays but this could have been three times the length and players would still be left desperately wanting more. It's a testament to the quality.

Screenshot for Moss on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

The PlayStation VR deserves to be thought of as a whole separate platform, and thus far that platform has been lacking in the killer games to sell it. This is the first must-have release to arrive; something truly special. Moss is an absolutely phenomenal experience; completely captivating, utterly endearing, and absolutely magical. Ghibli fans will find this closer to the works of the legendary studio than the Ni No Kuni games. Best of all, it finishes on a promise of more adventures to come and, like a bibliophile desperate for that next book, players will be left desperately wanting the next chapter in this story.

Developer

Polyarc

Publisher

Polyarc

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

whoa

gotta keep my eye on this one

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