Many years ago I remember trying to speculate what gaming would look like in the distant future. I imagined a rich, virtual world where a gamer could walk into a fantasy land filled with living, breathing characters. A story straight from the Hans Christian Anderson book of tales and cute creatures that you could guide and protect. Until quite recently all of this was a far-fetched and romantic ideal – a gaming world that remained distant and beyond reach. And then I played Moss on the Quest and, at that moment, I realised that everything I had once thought was impossible had been realised.
I think it was William Blake who said that ‘what is now proved was once imagined.’ He could have been talking about Moss. Set in a vibrant and brightly coloured fantasy world, Moss has you playing an invisible almost all-powerful presence called The Reader. The game begins with a narrator laying the groundwork for the story ahead. A large picture book is set in front of you and, as you turn its pages, colourful and dramatic scenes spring to life. In Moss your task is to assist a tiny mouse called Quill as she embarks on an epic odyssey to save her uncle from a fire breathing snake.
As The Reader you are able to help Quill along her way by moving objects, opening doors, summoning up staircases and, should she be injured, you can bring her back to health by healing her. Brought to us by Polyarc the people who helped create Dragon Age 2 and Dragon Age: Inquisition, Moss sets the standard for immersive VR storytelling and creates a beautiful and enchanting world that will stay with you for years.
Every scene in Moss looks as though it was taken straight from a fairy tale and brought to life in front of you. The fact that you’re observing the game from an elevated position and you also get to direct Quill with your Quest controller means that you are totally immersed in the story. After just a few minutes of playing you find yourself growing attached to Quill in a way that’s difficult to imagine. And, although Quill doesn’t speak to you, she’ll bow when you help her out, salute you on occasions, high five you and, should you get stuck, she’ll point in the direction you should be taking her.
Most of the challenges in Moss are of the platform puzzle variety. You’ll have to work out how to get Quill from one area to the next using your powers of logic and, when necessary, your ability to move objects for her. Exploration is rewarded in Moss and, if you venture off the beaten path, you’ll discover hidden treasures and rewards. Excellent. Moss also has an element of multi-tasking that will see you controlling enemies – in this case crab-like creatures – placing them in the right spot so they can activate hidden switches.
In the audio department, Polyarc have done a remarkable job of recreating environments rich with all the sounds you’d associate with a fairy tale world. Even when turning the pages of the book at the very start sounds as though you really do have a book in front of you.
Combat is fairly pedestrian and is easily Moss’s Achilles heel. Quill can only manage basic attacks and side steps and, should she be outnumbered, you’ll be healing her and restarting the challenge again and again.
This minor niggle aside, Moss is by far one of the best VR story-driven games we’ve played in a long while. If you take your time to explore Quill’s world, it’ll take you some 12 hours to get to the end of this epic adventure. And, once you do, you’ll probably hit ‘restart’ so you can experience the magic of Moss one more time. Highly recommended.
Kizzi Nkwocha is the editor of Business Game Changer Magazine and publisher of The UK Newspaper, Money and Finance Magazine, the net’s fastest growing wealth creation publication. Kizzi Nkwocha is chair of The Ethical Publishers Association and co-chair of The Logistics Association. Kizzi made his mark in the UK as a publicist, journalist and social media pioneer. As a widely respected and successful media consultant he has represented a diverse range of clients including the King of Uganda, and Amnesty International. Nkwocha has also become a well-known personality on both radio and television. He has been the focus of a Channel 4 documentary on publicity and has hosted his own talk show, London Line, on Sky TV. He has also produced and presented both radio and TV shows in Cyprus and Spain.