Review of the game Moss: VR-tale for the whole family

Personally, I am infinitely happy with the fact that video games for virtual reality are getting bigger every day. At the same time, not only their number increases , but also the quality of technical and artistic execution improves, whether it is a prolonged AAA game from a large publishing house or a small niche project from an independent developer. Today I would really like to tell you about the charming game Moss, which was released on February 27 for the virtual reality set PlayStation VR.

Game: Moss
Platform: PlayStation VR
Genre: Adventure, Puzzle
Release date: February 27, 2018
Developer: Polyarc
Publisher: Polyarc

I would like to start my story with the fact that Moss is a real fairy tale in every sense of the word. The fairy tale is created according to all the laws of the genre and will please not only children but also their parents, even if they have already forgotten what it is like to find yourself in a fictional world full of magic. However, I will immediately emphasize that it’s not recommended to use a PlayStation VR headset for children under 12 years old, because their vestibular apparatus is not strong enough, and this can lead to unpredictable consequences. The reality is that in our country, on any warning, everyone wanted to spit, so I periodically see how VR-riders are offered to try out headsets like PS VR and HTC Vive to very little kids. It is not right.

Developed the game Moss in the walls of the American studio Polyarc, founded by former employees of the famous studio Bungie, gave the world a series of first-person shooters Haloand Destiny . Talented artists and programmers have long dreamed of breaking out of the popular FPS genre and creating something chambery, soulful, infinitely charming. Something that will penetrate the hearts of players, affect their soul and fall in love with itself forever. In the end, they really got such a game. Indeed, thanks to the technology of virtual reality, the degree of immersion of players in the fairy world has increased many times.

The game takes place in a world inhabited by tiny fairy-tale characters. You will play for a charming mouse named Quill, who goes to the most epic adventure in her life. She will have to overcome many tests on her way, save her mentor – wise Argus, and also defeat the evil serpent Sarffog, who terrorizes his native village with mice. Quill immediately remembers the wonderful animated film “The Tale of Despereaux”, the protagonist of which, too, was a brave little mouse armed with a sword and ready to perform feats in the name of good. Indeed, there is much in common between these two works.

Moss is unique in that it has one more protagonist besides Quill – it’s you. The game is performed from a third party, and the player gets the role of a mysterious creature, which in the game is called just “reader”. You are leafing through a book with fairy tales, which describe the adventures of the brave Quill, and are periodically carried to the fairy-tale world depicted on the pages. Due to the absence of the “fourth wall” the mouse sees you and counts on your help in your travels. This unique symbiosis between the two characters is expressed in a few extremely curious mechanics, helping the heroes to move forward on the plot.

Given that the main character is very tiny, she is not able to move heavy objects. And here you come to her aid. Using the controller DualShock 4, which is depicted inside the game in the form of a glowing sphere, you can move stone slabs, open giant doors, pull for heavy chains, bringing in action the ancient mechanisms. With this analog controller, you control the mouse movements, which can jump, climb over the ledges as well as Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series, and skillfully wield his tiny knight’s sword, smashing the barrels of magic dust into slivers, cutting off the blades of grass and cutting dangerous spines in his ways.

The game is linear enough. Quill, solving puzzles one by one, gets access to the following locations. The puzzles are basically logical, and you can solve them without any problems. I passed the game fairly quickly – in just two evenings, without having to resort to reading passes or watching help videos on YouTube. However, the game puzzles language does not turn to be called boring or trivial. All of them are very original and, if I may say so, with my soul. You will have to seriously strain the gray matter several times over the game to help Quill cope with the obstacles that come her way.

The main characters will meet not only puzzles, but also enemies. Opponents of the brave mouse will be malicious beetles of several species. The first species are ordinary scarabs, capable of injuring Quill with their powerful jaws. Playing for the reader of a fairy tale, do not forget to hold the beetles, grabbing them with your glowing sphere. This will allow Quill to go to the enemy from behind and inflict a few sweeping blows on him with the sword. The second kind of opponents – beetles, shooting fireballs. It is not difficult to kill them, but the main thing is not to be caught on a fly. When you hold these beetles with the help of a gamepad, you can use their guns for their own purposes: shoot at other enemies or with shots activate different mechanisms. The third type of beetles is bug-bugs. Managing them, it is very convenient to clear the stones littered with stones, and also to blast other enemies.

Despite his courage, Quill is very vulnerable and fragile, like all girls. Therefore, if she is dealt even a small loss, she begins to limp and fight much less effectively. The player can restore her vitality with the help of a glowing sphere. Just grab the mouse in this sphere and pull the gamepad up. After just a few seconds, the vitality will return to Quill again, and she will become as new. In general, the interaction between the mouse and the player in Moss is done at the height: you can even “give five” to your tiny partner after a particularly successful battle. This brings you very close to the virtual character.

The graphics in the game are very bright and pleasant. I was particularly pleased with the love of developers for the smallest details of the scenery, as well as an incredible transfer of scale. You really feel like a giant who sees a miniature world inhabited by intelligent mice, tiny forest elves and bird people. Sometimes there is a feeling that you are inside a qualitatively elaborated diorama. Virtual reality allows you to look at everything a little differently. And the fact that it is necessary to play from a third person does not spoil the overall picture of what is happening.

Another strong point of the game is a wonderful animation of the characters. For Quill, a team of animator artists led by Richard Lico created hundreds of unique movements. Quill does not know how to speak the human language, so she uses the sign language of the deaf (I think that deaf-mute players will be very pleased with such attention from the developers) or understandable to everyone without any gesture. For example, it shows you a thumb lifted up, waving your paw to draw your attention, or pointing your finger in the direction where, in her opinion, the solution to the current puzzle lies. Whatever it was, you will always unmistakably understand what the mouse wants from you. And it’s just wonderful!

Sound and music in the game are performed on an excellent quality level. Giant forest produces thousands of different sounds: twitter birds, crack insects, somewhere a murmuring stream, rustles in the wind of foliage. All this creates the right enveloping atmosphere. Inside the gloomy dungeons, every rustle gives the player panic and makes him look around. The sound is voluminous and perfectly allows you to feel the direction from where the noise comes to you. Music in Moss is like sound engineering. I was very pleased with the presence in the game of the track, which was specially recorded for it by the famous YouTube-singer Malukah (Judith de los Santos) from Mexico. Surely you heard her wonderful cover on the track Dragonborn Comes from Skyrim.

A spoonful of tar in the fabulous magnificence is still there. First, there are certain problems with monitoring the DualShock 4 controller in space. Sometimes it is not properly read by the camera, as a result of which its position is lost, and you have to convulsively shake the gamepad in space to return to its original position. Sometimes the entire position of the virtual scene is lost, after which it is necessary to reset the position of the camera while holding down the Options button. Secondly, the game is incredibly short. You can go through it in 3-4 hours, unless, of course, you plan to open all of its secrets. Pleases in this situation is that the developers are hinting at the way out of the continuation of the remarkable history of Quill. Somewhat frustrating is the lack of translation of the plot inserts into Russian. But with this, in principle, you can live.

Pros:

  • A touching story about the adventures of a brave mouse in a world full of dangers.
  • You are not for one moment left feeling that you were transferred to this fairy tale.
  • The artists created one of the most beautiful and memorable VR-worlds.
  • Animation Quill is incomparable and allows you to understand it without using words.
  • Quality sound engineering and music, creating the right atmosphere.
  • Interesting puzzles based on the interaction of the player and the character.
  • The absence of the “fourth wall” allows you to quickly get closer to the main character.
  • The developers hint that in the future we will see the continuation of the story.

Minuses:

  • VR-tracking in Moss does not work in the most ideal way.
  • Lack of localization in Russian.
  • Unfortunately, the game is very short.

There are significant games that leave a trace in the souls and minds of players. Moss is just one of them. At least among other VR projects. Unusual technical performance, coupled with innovative game mechanics, a touching plot and a charming protagonist make Moss one of the most attractive games for owners of the PlayStation VR. Let it can not boast of a long duration and is not devoid of some technical flaws, characteristic of virtual reality, there is no doubt that the fascinating adventure of the mouse Quill will be remembered for a long time by all players without exception. The game receives 9 points out of 10 from me .

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