Moss has always been one of my favourite virtual reality titles; not only because it’s a brilliant 3D platforming adventure in its own right, but also because it demonstrated how virtual reality could take a traditional genre and make it feel more immersive and fresh. In a time where the vast majority of virtual reality titles were first-person shooters or puzzlers, Moss did something that felt more unique and intuitive. I loved it.

Moss: Book II looks to embrace the successful formula and continue the journey of Quill (the lovable mouse protagonist from the first game), all whilst introducing a more expansive world and expanded gameplay mechanics to ensure that the adventure is just as enthralling as the first.

Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:

The game literally picks up at the conclusion of the first adventure, with Quill having vanquished the monstrous snake Sarfogg as she journeyed to collect the five shards of glass to defeat the Arcane army that threatens her homeland. You’ll continue that adventure immediately, with a recap of previous events told before you venture across the fantastical land once more. It’s all told like one grand fairy tale really, with it easy to find yourself utterly engrossed in the storytelling.

One of the best features of the first game was the amount of emotion Quill showed, so it’s nice that it continues in Moss: Book II. Whilst the fact that she’s a cute little mouse makes her lovable anyway, seeing the way she celebrates her successes or how she mourns her losses makes it so much easier to forge a bond with her. You’re even able to give her little high fives when you get through a tricky situation, and whilst these sort of interactions were something you were able to do in the first game, they’ve been expanded upon here to give players even more opportunities to see how she responds to everything she goes through. She might be little, but she stands out as one of the most memorable and believable heroes that I’ve played as and the way that she overcomes the gruelling adventure she faces in Moss: Book II just makes her a million times more likeable.

Admittedly, when I first started playing Moss: Book II,I was a little concerned that it might have been TOO much more of the same. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing at all (especially since the first game was brilliant anyway), but it all felt a bit too familiar as I led Quill through the perilous environment whilst battling enemies and solving puzzles. Much like before, you control Quill by using the DualShock controller (you won’t need any Move controllers here) whilst you’ll also interact with the environment by leading a glowing orb across each locale with motion controls.

“Whether you’re carefully timing leaps through the game’s platforming sections, trying to figure out how the heck to solve a puzzle, or facing off in one of the spectacular combat set pieces (the boss battles are a real highlight), Moss: Book II never fails to entertain.”

Thankfully, it didn’t take long before new ideas were introduced that expanded upon the original’s formula. One example comes with the new weapons, with Quill able to use a slow but powerful hammer and throwable chakram – each weapon doesn’t only add more variety to combat, but they also bring with them special abilities that can be used to dish out more hurt to enemies or solve puzzles. Whether throwing your chakram to hit an object in the environment and then pulling it back to you, using your hammer to smash down a switch from afar (you’ll see what I mean if you play the game), or simply using the glass sword to quickly dash forward, your weapons can be just as effective for navigating the world as they are at disposing enemies.

The puzzles bring a lot more variety too, with all new elements and ways to interact with the environment introduced to ensure that players will be left scratching their head as they try to figure them out. Levels are larger and more elaborate than in the first game, and it helps add a satisfying layer of complexity to the puzzle-solving that make them more perplexing than in the original game. You’ll really have to correlate both Quill and your own actions together carefully if you want to succeed, whilst you’ll have more tricks up your sleeve outside of simply moving boxes around (something I admittedly started to tire of in the first game). It was impressive how the game constantly managed to introduce new ideas to keep testing the player, with each area you visit bringing with them their own unique hook that helps differentiate them from one another. Just expect to have to physically move around to see everything you need to interact with – levels aren’t only bigger, but they bring with them more hidden crevices that often hide areas where Quill can explore or that hold a secret.

It all comes together to make for a really splendid experience, with every aspect of the game perfectly designed to ensure nothing grows stale as you progress. Whether you’re carefully timing leaps through the game’s platforming sections, trying to figure out how the heck to solve a puzzle, or facing off in one of the spectacular combat set pieces (the boss battles are a real highlight), Moss: Book II never fails to entertain. The only real issue I had with the gameplay was that enemies were still a little lacking in variety, though there were more to face off against than in the first game so it’s hard to complain too much. It’s clear that Moss: Book II improves upon all aspects when compared to the original, whilst it’s also a lot longer with it taking around six hours to beat.

Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:

One of my favourite things about the first game was its world design, so I’m happy to report that Moss: Book II really ups the ante. The fantasy world looks more beautiful than ever, not only with the larger variety of environments you’ll explore but also in the way that they feel so alive. You’ll see the light bursting through the background, wildlife trawling through each environment, and plantlife bringing endless streams of colour to the world… it’s really beautiful and something that’s even more impressive to uncover in virtual reality. They brought a more impactful sense of grandeur; whilst you’re typically exploring smaller areas with Quill, there’s always a vast landscape to be seen that emphasises the sense of scale of the world (and how you’re helping a tiny little creature explore it). It’s simply one of the best-looking worlds you’ll ever get to explore in virtual reality and I’d argue that the sights you see here are even more impressive than those in the first game.

For all its strengths, Moss: Book II does have a few small niggles that hold it back a little. The tracking could be a little off at times for example (even with the camera and lighting of the room perfectly set up), whilst it’s also unnecessarily awkward to change weapons with the game having to be paused to swap. This hurts the flow of combat and I don’t understand why there wasn’t a quick-switch button assigned to the controller. I came across a few technical glitches too, with an enemy getting stuck in the environment on a couple of occasions and the game even demanding a restart when a door wouldn’t open in a level. There was nothing game-breaking that ruined the experience, but instead a few instances of inconvenience that saw me having to re-play a few sections.

Moss: Book II Review

Moss: Book II improves upon its predecessor in every way with its more expansive world, more varied combat and puzzle mechanics, and longer playtime that helps flesh the adventure out. I’ll admit, I thought it was just going to be more of the same early on (which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing), but it didn’t take long for the wealth of new ideas to take shape and help the game offer a more varied and entertaining adventure than before. It’s beautiful to look at too, with the world one of the best I’ve seen in virtual reality.

It does have a few little niggles that prevent it from striving towards perfection and there are some areas it still could have improved, but there’s no doubting that this is another wonderful adventure for players to be a part of. She might be small, but Quill’s return in Moss: Book II is undoubtedly mighty.

Developer: Polyarc
Publisher: Polyarc
Platform(s): PlayStation VR (Reviewed)