“Moss: Book 2 is a confident VR sequel that iterates on its predecessor just enough to make it feel new again.”
More various fight
Tactile VR interactions
Strong puzzle design
More assured worldbuilding
Clumsy weapon switching
Stops simply as its getting nice
Moss: Book 2 is proof that small adjustments can have a huge impact. Though the primary Moss recreation was hailed as an early VR killer app, it was a contact skinny on concepts. Its easy sword-swinging fight received repetitive quick and its puzzles largely revolved across the identical set of fundamental interactions. Its brief runtime made up for its mechanical shortcomings, however there was loads of room to develop.
Developer Polyarc has risen to that problem with its sequel, accessible now on PS VR. While it appears to be like and feels an identical to its predecessor at first look, the newest chapter steadily peppers in new concepts that assist the collection attain its potential. The authentic regarded to convey journey recreation fundamentals to VR, however the sequel feels extra akin to extra fashionable video games like Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
New fight choices, talents, and tactile interactions elevate Moss: Book 2 above a VR proof of idea. The expertise isn’t for much longer than the unique, however the added selection makes a four-year-old recreation really feel model new once more.
Moss: Book 2 picks up proper the place its predecessor left off. Players as soon as once more management Quill, an lovable white mouse who adventures by way of diorama-like worlds. Players are concurrently controlling one other character in first-person: The God-like Reader who can transfer giant objects and heal Quill from afar. Both of these characters have extra talents this time round, deepening the interaction between them.
The sluggish drip of recent instruments retains fights from getting repetitive.
On the mouse aspect, essentially the most notable distinction comes within the type of fight. Quill’s toolset was extraordinarily restricted within the authentic Moss, with battles largely revolving round easy sword slashes towards the identical handful of enemies. Polyarc has added extra weapons to the sport, together with a boomerang-like chakram and a sluggish, however highly effective hammer.
In addition to these new instruments, every weapon has a particular energy that’s activated by holding the assault button and touching Quill because the Reader. The sword’s particular energy permits Quill to rapidly zip ahead, whereas the hammer readies a phantom copy of itself that the Reader can detonate at any time. Those particular expertise add extra selection to battles, fixing the primary recreation’s greatest flaw. The sequel nonetheless lacks in enemy selection, however the sluggish drip of recent instruments retains fights from getting repetitive.
The solely drawback with the brand new system is its implementation. To equip a weapon, gamers open up a radial menu because the Reader and drag it over to Quill. I discovered myself locked in a careless juggling act in later fights as I attempted to rapidly swap weapons on the fly and activate a charged potential earlier than an enemy might hit me, all whereas nonetheless dodging round as Quill. It’s significantly unusual as a result of many of the DualShock’s face buttons go unused right here. All three major weapons might have been mapped to the face buttons, letting gamers assault extra fluidly.
Even with the sport’s small enhancements, I nonetheless discover area for it to develop in Book 3.
A extra tactile world
The Reader will get some new tips too, which equally reduce down the tedious moments of the unique. By the top of the primary Moss, I grew a little bit sick of dragging containers and enemies across the display. Puzzles are much less of a one-trick pony right here, as Polyarc created a extra tactile world that places VR controls to higher use.
For occasion, the Reader can develop climbable partitions by waving their hand over withered vines or create paths by connecting crops collectively. Powers like that convey a double dose of gratification. Like the unique, Moss: Book 2 performs out in a collection of Zelda-like puzzle dioramas with persistently intelligent options. The addition of extra various interactivity on prime of that makes the puzzles really feel like a collection of satisfying fidget toys.
Those methods meld along with Quill’s new instruments to lend the sequel additional complexity. Some rooms had me spinning cans and manipulating enemy assaults because the Reader whereas utilizing Quill’s charged chakram shot to interrupt progress-blocking limitations. While that sort of multitasking may be troublesome in fight, it’s significantly better suited to the sport’s methodical puzzles, which hardly ever ask the gamers to do the identical trick twice.
Moss: Book 2 is a single-player journey, however there have been instances when it felt like I used to be taking part in with an in depth good friend.
I particularly adore every of the sport’s boss fights, which toy with the interaction additional. In one battle, I’m battling an enormous, hammer-wielding knight that towers over Quill. When he smashes his hammer down, I seize the pinnacle because the Reader and have interaction in a recreation of tug of conflict, giving Quill (additionally managed by me) a second to assault. While there are just a few huge battles, they act as an exciting take a look at of the participant’s expertise.
Quill and the Reader’s dynamic isn’t only a mechanical one. The surprisingly tear-jerking story is constructed across the relationship between the 2. It’s one factor to be informed two characters want one another. It’s one other to truly really feel it play out in rooms that neither character can navigate alone. Moss: Book 2 is a single-player journey, however there have been instances when it felt like I used to be taking part in with an in depth good friend.
Bring on Book 3
When I completed the primary Moss, I used to be left feeling a little bit detached concerning the collection’ future. I loved my time with it, however didn’t really feel like there was far more floor to cowl. After Book 2, I’m already itching for a sequel on PlayStation VR2. That’s a testomony to how snug with its creation Polyarc appears this time round. The worldbuilding is extra assured, with a mixture of grand lore and extra private character relationships that almost drew some tears from me (fortunately, in VR, nobody can see you cry).
There are moments the place it seems like the sport stops simply as its getting on a roll
Level design particularly advantages from the sequel remedy. While the primary Moss largely performed out in a reasonably normal fantasy setting, Book 2’s world feels extra formidable. At instances, I’d flip my head to see an enormous tower looming within the distance, giving me a way of scale that I by no means felt the primary time round. Polyarc even saves its greatest twist for final, with a mind-bending set-piece pulled from M. C. Escher’s playbook.
That specific section is a comparatively brief one which left me wanting extra, which was a working theme all through my journey. I admire that Polyarc makes lean video games that don’t overstay their welcome, however there are moments the place it seems like the sport stops simply because it’s getting on a roll. For a quick stretch, Book 2 introduces a second playable mouse. I immediately fell in love with the brand new protagonist and was excited to see how they might change the established system. That character is simply round for a quick second although, abruptly written off to proceed Quill’s story.
I can’t absolutely fault Polyarc for staying a little bit modest. VR video games are greatest stored brief, as sporting a headset for a protracted time period is usually a literal ache. I’m glad to see Moss proceed on in brief episodic bursts if it means every recreation will iterate and enhance on the final. Wherever Quill goes subsequent, I’ll be able to lend her a serving to hand.
Moss: Book 2 offers certainly one of VR’s best outings a much-appreciated tune-up. Both the motion and puzzles have extra depth this time round due to impactful new instruments. At 5 hours, it’s a lean journey recreation that’s extra cautious to not do the identical trick twice. It nonetheless seems like there’s extra room for progress, as the sport wraps up simply because it hits its stride and fumbles with fight controls, however every small enchancment goes a great distance. Moss: Book 2 isn’t only a nice instance of VR’s potential: It’s an excellent recreation, interval.
Is there a greater various?
Astro Bot: Rescue Mission is the very best platformer on PS VR, and arguably the best VR recreation of all time, interval.
How lengthy will it final?
Moss: Book 2 is about an hour longer than its predecessor, clocking in at round 4 to 5 hours whole.
Should you purchase it?
Yes. If you’re searching for one final cause to mud off your PS VR earlier than PlayStation VR2 launches, Moss: Book 2 is value braving the dated tech.
Moss: Book 2 was examined on PS VR hooked as much as a PlayStation 5.