This latest round of Virtual Reality devices, the PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift, came with the promise of amazing new worlds that could not be experienced without VR. Blending the lines of the virtual world and the real world. There are plenty of shooters, action games and the like, yet, after playing all the titles currently available, and the new ones hitting headsets soon, it was not until I played Moss, a little game about a mouse, that I was truly sold on this potential.
Moss is a curious little title. When it was first shown off at the PlayStation press conference, you would be forgiven for believing it was just a 2D game with some minor 3D elements. While it had a heartwarming trailer that set up the world, the true magic of the game was lacking. It was not until I sat down in a behind closed door demo with the developers that I uncovered just how amazing Moss truly is.
The game is really quite simple in concept. You play the role of a spirit that has the task of assisting a mouse named Quill as she goes on an epic quest filled with puzzles, discovery, and danger. You control Quill with the analogue sticks, while you control the spirit by motion. As confusing as it sounds, after a few seconds of playing, it all feels second nature, drawing the player, into the world of Moss.
The team at Polyarc utilized the technology in a way that brings you closer to the character of Quill. The way players heal her is just putting your pointer on top and feeding your power to heal her wounds. It is also possible to pet, and directly interact with Quill using the R2 button, and as you do this, the DualShock 4 will give you a send of her heartbeat. This can be used to tell if she is happy or scared, and a fantastic touch at making the character of Quill feel more than just a virtual mouse, and into something that is easy to care about, and stress to keep safe.
The game of Moss is told through pages in a storybook. Each page represents a single stage Quill must overcome. From platforming to puzzles, all the way to battles, the single scene style of the game works wonders in VR. You can only see what your character would see, forcing you to look around the scene to sort out how to overcome the issues that lay before you, but also it limits what you need to pay attention to, and allows you as the player to get immersed in each diorama-style level.
Quill steals the show in the game. Her little actions as she goes through the level are filled with character. Although you control her with the analogue sticks, and manage her attacks and jumps with the face buttons, there is always something special about Quill that makes her feel like a living, breathing creature within the world of Moss. She will make hand gestures at you as you get stuck in a puzzle, and will react to your triumph when she finishes a level. It is hard to imagine a time when a virtual character was so packed with charm, but somehow the team Polyarc have managed it, and it is magical.
Moss is a game that demonstrates how special VR can be for storytelling. The simple experience is brought to life with a whimsical little mouse and the power of direct interaction. The way the world is built, and the stylish design of not only the character of Quill but the way she interacts with the player makes Moss one of the most endearing games of E3 2017. It was one of my personal favourite games of the show, and I, for one, can not wait to play though at home when it is released. It is a game built for everyone and will capture the hearts of all who play it. Moss has finally given me a reason to dust off my PSVR, and has made me excited for the future of VR once again.