By Kimari Rennis
Throughout my 15 years of life, I have only experienced VR 3 times. I played shooting games with the HTC Vive at an event. I dual-wielded swords on Fruit Ninja with the Circle’s Dan Ackerman at CNET. And the last time, I used an innovative piece of cardboard that had a racing game with motion controls. However, my latest endeavor with VR is one I’ll never forget. Moss with the Playstation VR is a breathtakingly beautiful game and holds a story that unfolds all around you right before your eyes.
A common theme running through VR games is the concept of making the player feel like he or she is in the game. Moss excels at that in a very special way. Rather than taking so much time and effort to move around your own real-life home to complete tasks (like with the Vive), you play a special role in Moss by simply relaxing in a chair. Rather than constantly moving around as the main character, you take the role of a “Reader.” Basically, you are but a silent mystical guardian aiding the adventures of a courageous and adventurous little mouse named Quill.
In my playthrough of the game, I was absolutely entranced by the atmospheres and the aged, complex labyrinths of the mouse’s temples. I felt as if I were actually a part of the game, as I loomed over the small dainty cottages of the mice and their lively markets hidden in the dense forest. I felt a part of the energy flowing through each pond and crack within the ruins. As a powerful spiritual being, you help Quill in her adventures by moving obstacles, holding relics that lead to new areas, and most importantly, healing her.
Players feel essential to the story because they are! I felt as if I were a part of the fantasy being told inside the pages as I flipped through each cut scene. I am a guardian armed with a powerful blue orb alongside a mouse with a grass sword. Each time I put on the Playstation VR, I was transported to a new world where I played an important role in something magical. I couldn’t help but smile when Quill raised up her tiny paw to give me a high five. In turn, I extended my controller and knew I had made friends with a little mouse. This is probably the only time mice of any kind will ever appeal to me; Quill is simply too damn cute.
Moss is an amazing and unforgettable experience. I’m absolutely fascinated by the gameplay because of the different perspectives between Quill and me. From afar you’d control the little mouse traversing the world around it while you as the guardian stay back and watch. The only problem I did encounter, which was probably my own fault, was the PlayStation Camera. There were some times where the camera wouldn’t pick up the movements I made. I needed to change my position multiple times before the camera could recognize what I was trying to do in the game so I could continue playing. If the game cannot read my movements, then I can’t solve the puzzles for Quill to move forward. However, when the camera didn’t attempt to ruin the wonderful time I was having with Moss, I would sit for hours with the headset on, completely unaware of the world around me as I solved puzzles and traversed through labyrinths with the little mouse.
PolyArc has created a masterpiece of a game and an unmatched, dynamic style of gameplay. If there were mice similar to Quill in real life, I might even consider putting down my controller and heading to the forest.
Kimari Rennis is a New York Videogame Critics Circle intern, part of our ongoing partnership with Bronx’s DreamYard Prep School.