The first game by Polyarc games studio, Moss is the fictional world told of in a book that you, the player, are reading. Through the book, you create a connection with Quill, the eponymous hero of the tale, a small mouse with armor and sword who, with your help, solves puzzles and fights other woodland creatures to achieve some unknown end.
The premise of the game is shrouded in mystery. All we really know is that you play some sort of spirit that has a connection with Quill, a denizen of the world of Moss, who is out to make her mark in the world. Using your connection to Quill and some helpful sign language on her part, you must quest to save the world! Or destroy the world! or.. actually we really don't know what the quest is for, but we excited to find out!
Polyarc has released some super cute cards explaining the backstory of some of the people you are likely to meet in your journey through the game. I've not seen any of these characters in the demo so it's exciting to know there are other cute, small creatures in this game for me to squee over.
What's new with Moss?
Update May 14, 2019: New DLC coming to Moss
Polyarc has announced a new DLC for Moss to coincide with the release of the Oculus Quest. Don't worry if you don't own the Quest, the update will also be coming to the PlayStation VR in June.
Called the Twilight Garden, the new DLC will feature new Environments, new storyline, and new armor sets! The new armor is something I'm very excited about, especially as you can take those sets into the rest of the game. It means you will be able to open up new ways to play, making the game feel fresh again.
Update: On July 27 2017 Polyarc announced that the Soundtrack to Moss will be available as a free download for anyone who has bought the game before August 17th 2018. You can find more details on how to claim your Moss Soundtrack here.
On May 8th Polyarc Games announced a physical disc copy of the first book of Moss. Costing $29.99, the same as the digital copy, you can pick up a physical disc on June 12th from all leading game retail shops or you can preorder now to have it arrive on the day.
On February 19, Polyarc revealed over Twitter release details as well as a new launch trailer.
Moss was released on PSVR February 27, 2018. You can purchase it at Amazon for around $30.
Check out the launch trailer to see a bit more about this cute little mouse on a heroic journey!
What is the Gameplay like?
In gameplay terms, Moss is a puzzle-solving game with some quirky fighting thrown in. The viewpoint is somewhat unique as you are playing a First Person game while controlling another character in 3rd person. This really gives the effect of you and Quill working together to achieve the goals instead of you actually being Quill.
Yes, you move her around and press buttons to make her fight but you are also you, moving things with the Sixaxis controller to help her solve puzzles. It makes the game feel very collaborative especially when you start moving the monsters around while also controlling Quill to help you solve puzzles. It's a pretty unique looking experience.
In the latest footage, they have also mentioned that there will be collectibles to find in the game, always a pleasure for those of us who need to complete every little thing, that you can find in boxes, crates, and hidden ledges. At one point they show Quill running behind the scenery to access a ledge, there is nothing there right now but in the full release, there should be. We also got a chance to see how Quill is healed and it's a delight! If you move your glowing orb into Quill you help her heal, and you get some of the best animations I've seen in a VR game ever.
Is it only in VR?
I spoke to the team at Polyarc on Twitter and asked them that exact question. Their response was was short and sweet though not reassuring.
Me: Have you thought about making a non-VR version? Similar to what Star Trek: Bridge Crew has done?
Polyarc: We have, but it will not work. There's no way you could have the emotional experience playing Moss without VR.
So as much as I would love to see Quill in the hands of more people it's clear that Polyarc has a vision for their little mouse adventurer and keeping it in VR is an integral part of that. But that also gives me hope that this foray into VR and Moss won't be Polyarc's last.
What is the World of Moss like?
Recently Polyarc gave the guys at Sony a sneak peek at 14 minutes of new footage from the world of Moss and it shows some interesting revelations. It seems that the world Quill inhabits was once ruled by Giants! In the opening scene, we see Quill looking cute as all heck, sleeping by a campfire on the lee side of what looks to be a statue of a human, or what's left of one. We can also see a shipwreck out in the ocean and a huge castle in the very far background that seems to be her goal. All these hints make us think the world Quill lives in did once have people in but they are no longer around.
What's interesting about the world of Moss is that it's clear the small creatures of the world have flourished. They don't live in giant homes that were left by something else, they have their own, mouse-sized houses, and in the case of the new footage, mines that have been around for a long time. All of this makes me feel like it's a living, breathing world. One that is fleshed out in a way we rarely see in VR games.
Can I use Motion Controllers?
The controls for Moss are like any other 3rd person platform game, using thumbsticks and button combos to move, jump and fight, but with the added bonus of using the motion controls on the Sixaxis to grab pieces of the world and move them so Quill can reach her goal.
You won't be able to use the motion controllers on PlayStation VR for Moss as they have no thumbsticks or even a d-pad to control Quill as you journey through the game. Until Sony update their Controller system the best, and easiest way to control the game is through the Sixaxis. At least the Sixasis allows you to move the controller in free space making use of the room VR gives you to work with.
How long is Moss?
Polyarc has said that an experienced, hardcore gamer could get through the main story in 2-3 hours but for those of us who want to savor the world, look at the beautiful scenery, and get to know our hero, we should be looking at least 7 hours of the main storyline.
For a game that's only $29.99 and looks to be just the start of a whole new world, I think we will have a lot of time to explore the world of Moss.
What systems is Moss available on?
Update June 7, 2018: Moss has now been released for Steam VR, Vive Port, and the Oculus store.
Our mission as a studio is to create games that maximize the potential VR has to transport players into our stories and worlds. Bringing Moss to these platforms allows us to introduce Quill and her world to more than a million new >players,".... "There's no other platform that allows you to truly connect and form a bond with characters such as Quill, explore rich environments, or engage in imaginative gameplay like VR. Starting today, all Oculus Rift and HTC Vive fans >can join PlayStation VR fans in playing a first-of-its-kind gaming experience with Moss.
In an AMA, the Polyarc team said that they were concentrating on making Moss the best game they could PlayStation VR but would love to bring it to other platforms including Daydream and GearVR. The issue right now for them is that they require both head and hand tracking which the phone based headsets don't allow. With the imminent arrival of the Oculus Go and Daydream, Standalone things may change, however. You can find the full AMA here for more details.
Moss will also be available for the Oculus quest as a launch title. This should be one of the best ways to play Moss, as you are completely untethered from any cables. You can move around the space and really enjoy the scenery and Quill!
When will we see Book 2?
On April 9th Moss Animation Director Rick Lico wrote a post over at the PlayStation Blog focusing on how Polyarc brought Moss to life and answered a few questions about the possibility of Book for the game.
Someone asked that as there was a trophy called "Book One" when you complete the game was there going to be a Book Two?
Rick answered by saying "Like any small, indy startup, we have a bigger plan we'd like to accomplish. We're hoping that thanks to our amazing fans, things will go well so we can see this plan through to completion. Fingers crossed." So while that sounds like Polyarc would like to release a Book 2 they are being cautious on how they talk about it but given the critical success of Moss and the fan base, it has managed to create I think a Book 2 is looking really likely.
When asked whether Book 2 would take 3 years like the original game Rick did say "I certainly hope not! We're working hard to make sure that's not the case." So take heart, it sounds like Polyarc wants more Quill adventures as much as we do.
When Can I play Moss and How much will it cost?
Polyarc released Moss on February 27th, to much acclaim but if you can't afford the full game right now there is another way to play Moss. If you head over to the PlayStation Store you can download the PlayStation Vr Demo Disc 2 which has a short level of Moss to play.
In the Demo, you get to meet Quill for the first time, work on some puzzles, fight some cute monsters, and even see Quill use ASL for the first time! I have to say seeing Quill use an actual sign language in the game was a real treat for me, as I'm sure it will be to people who use it on a daily basis. Polyarc said it seemed the ideal way for Quill, who doesn't speak your language to communicate in-game. It is well worth playing the demo before buying the game as the demo disc is free to download and lets you get a taste of things to come.
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