Moss: Book Two Review – IGN

After the original cliffhanger ended, he finally returned to moss The world of short stories was a long-awaited wonderful treat. Who wouldn’t want to help an awesome mouse in virtual reality, help him eliminate fearsome bosses and overcome platform challenges in order to save the world? Moss: Book 2 No time is wasted, starting moments after the end of the first game and then building on much of what made it so memorable, even when aging PSVR technology is currently limited to keeping up completely.

While I’d suggest playing Moss first (it’s only a few hours long and pretty good), Book 2 still manages to be a welcome sequel for newcomers. Told like a fairy tale, it puts you in control of a mouse named Quill and the human-sized reader upending its story once again, this time while being chased by a winged tyrant named Tylan. As before, this isn’t necessarily the strongest story, but it’s a follow-up that at least improves on other aspects such as world building. You’ll learn more about Cinder Night, the event in which the forces of Arcane brought the kingdom of Quill to heel, and there is an intriguing but underdeveloped cast that bears mental scars from that tragedy. The second book piqued my interest in his discoveries late in the game, and once again, I found myself wanting more. Developer Polyarc has clearly listened to the previous criticism, so at least it doesn’t end at a total distortion this time around, but there’s definitely room left to continue as well.

Moss: gameplay screenshots from Book Two

Quill’s goal is to find the shards of glass she needs to stop Tylan, jump her way through a ruined castle, park conservatory, arctic mountains, a steel foundry, and more to do so. Of course, we all know it’s never that simple. You’ll be repeatedly interrupted by Arcane’s minions blocking our path, which Quill and Reader will have to defeat in often lengthy combat sequences. The second book expands the previous list of mechanical beetle enemies with new enemies, such as an armored shell type that can only be unlocked with a special weapon. There’s also an unfortunate creature known as the Ripper, which the reader can hurl like a straight pinball.

Combat will be a sight all too familiar to anyone who’s played the original, but Polyarc has expanded Book 2 with some new options. Previously, Quill had only a sword, but this returning weapon was joined by two new options: a hammer and a chakram. Your hammer hits hard but is slow and impractical like many heavy weapons in other games. As for the chakram, it offers a quick and light approach that is more suitable for taking out weaker enemies in droves. Your sword falls somewhere in between. Aside from armored shells and some late-game bosses, combat usually does not require the use of one particular weapon or the other, providing welcome flexibility to suit different fighting styles.

New weapons provide welcome flexibility to your fighting style.

Polyarc has also factored in weapon abilities in platforming as well, giving Quill additional powers through alternate means. Holding down the attack button will charge her currently equipped weapon, after which moving your controller to actually touch her will allow you to activate her special ability as a reader. For example, the sword allows Quill to dash through gaps that a standard jump would never make, slicing enemies in its path along the way. The chakras can be embedded in walls, and then summoned back like a lever to strike otherwise away from accessible obstacles. Finally, you can place a mirror image of the hammer on enemies or switches, and drop it as a reader when necessary. I really enjoyed the combination of platforms and combat. It not only raises the level of combat beyond just swinging a sword, the puzzles also use each ability creatively, so you can’t rush and hope for the best.

The reader has his own abilities as well, allowing you to interact with Quill as a separate character in this world – one that you are all too aware of. Your path while controlling Quill is often blocked by puzzles, requiring direct reader intervention to progress. These can be simple tasks like launching special Quill attacks like mentioned earlier, or more practical tasks like moving blocks and dragging enemies into switches using the Dualshock controller’s gyro sensor to signal them. The reader also has some new capabilities, such as creating climbable chrome in certain places or dragging others across the screen to create bridges, giving you creative new ways to overcome these challenges.

Solving puzzles is cleverly used to build your relationship with Quill as well. The second book focuses more on your interactions with her, such as feeling very sad after a job well done, seeing her pretend to browse as we move a platform she is standing on, or even just cuddling her. It’s one of the most disturbing aspects of the second book, and I found an emotional journey here that I wasn’t expecting. Being able to grow the relationship between Quill and her reader in part through level design alone is a testament to her strength.

Book Two doesn’t always feel fresh in these designs, with many of its new mechanics not arriving until it’s cleared in at least the first hour. This is a happily longer adventure than the previous one – it only took less than six hours to complete, and that’s without completely straining my search for collectible fragment scrolls, which is a compelling enough reward for thorough exploration. While the campaign is completely linear, you can switch chapters at will and backtrack to find any collectibles you might have missed, some of which are even inaccessible until you secure those new weapons later.

The second book doesn’t take unnecessary risks with its already successful formula, instead opting for an evolutionary approach, and that’s perfectly fine. This is just a sequel pure as it is, without major changes that could destroy what I loved about the original or major innovations that could have taken it even further. Crucially, Book 2 didn’t need to reinvent the wheel to be a lot of fun, and it gave me more of what I wanted from the first game: more.

This sequel appears to be being delayed due to PSVR’s aging technology.

Unfortunately, this sequel also feels held back by PSVR’s own aging technology. It may have been an inspiring headset in 2016, but after six years with a successor on the way, it’s pretty outdated. Having played Moss on PC with an Oculus Rift S, this seemed like a step back in terms of the quality of his interactions. It requires DualShock 4 thanks to the controller’s light bar, which means there’s no option to use PS Move or DualSense controllers on PS5 if you choose to play with backwards compatibility. The DualShock controls look fine as you move the Quill around each level, but directly overlapping as the reader is a different matter.

Using the DualShock lacks the immersion provided by the full motion controls that VR thrives on — and admittedly, PS Move controllers are no longer relatively good even if they were available. The PlayStation Camera’s field of view also proved to be limiting because grabbing objects that were too far away doesn’t always track accurately, which is a rare but frustrating problem when it does. Don’t get me wrong, it still works, but I couldn’t escape the feeling that Book 2 sometimes had to compromise its design around these limitations. Here’s hoping the PSVR exclusivity ends before too long, as it eventually did with Moss I.

The second book at least still looks polished, and Polyarc clearly puts important details into this world despite the limitations, telling its story through a mixture of in-game moments and short story clips that you can move around at your own pace. As before, Moss’ audible style of voice acting is fun, with the narrator putting on different voices for other characters while still being recognized. It’s a charming style that got me interested, capturing the mood of the emotional segments in the second book very well.

This sequel also boasts a greater level of variety, both in theme and in design. Each world I explored was well detailed and wonderfully colorful, taking full advantage of the third person gameplay to explore the levels through the 360 ​​degree view. This is not something that can be easily replicated in a game other than virtual reality, and Polyarc encourages you to get up from the sofa to search for hidden secrets in each level. Most of the time, the collectibles you’ll find are worth defending.