The popular heroine known as Quill is returning and this time she’s journeying deep into the hexed castle of the Arcane in the VR game, Moss: Book II.
To be honest, Moss was my second VR experience about four years ago, and it was a perfect introduction to VR. At the time, it didn’t seem like a big deal. It’s a mostly stationary VR game played sitting down with mostly conventional controls. It wasn’t exactly a VR revolution, but it still stands as one of the best.
And now, Moss: Book II picks up right after the ending of the first title and has some pretty big shoes to fill. Luckily, Moss: Book II successfully continues and expands the fantastical world of its predecessor, even though it’s very much cut from the same cloth. After defeating the snake in an epic final battle and freeing Quill’s uncle in the process, the initial danger seemed averted for now, but the land is still very much at risk of slipping into darkness.
Just as before, we are the mystical reader assisting Quill in her new quest, which is much larger in scope and requires her to obtain a number of glass shards spread across the lands.
From there, we embark ons a little odyssey across different regions and the occasional interwoven boss fight to save the lands once and for all — or something along those lines because the ending of Book II doesn’t fully put an end to the story.
To be completely honest, Moss: Book II needed a bit of time to affect me in a positive way. The first hour is still as lovely as the entire first entry, but that’s about it. Gameplay was in line with what I’d already played, and it took a little while until Book II found its stride and offered up new mechanics to expand the tool set established in the original.
Every single part of the world is a huge and detailed diorama, from ancient castle walls and lush green woods to icy peaks, with yourself sitting in the middle. There’s an incredible sense of scale to these environments, further emphasized by our small protagonist.
Gameplay-wise, you’ll be navigating Quill from one entry point to another within these static areas, often going through small combat and puzzle sections on the way. That may sound simplistic, and that isn’t entirely wrong, but Moss: Book II is completely engaging throughout its runtime. She’s animated with so much detail and personality that it’s enjoyable to watch her make her way through each section of the game.
Surprisingly, Quill never really speaks a word except in narrated interludes, but the game manages to give her a lot of character and establishes a bond with The Reader through animation alone.
Truth be told, animations are a strong point of the adventure, including enemies and side characters, but sadly, there isn’t a huge variety of those throughout the six-hour story. Actual story progress often happens outside of the game via narrated book pages, entirely disconnected from gameplay.
Fortunately, It fits the fairy-tale style of the game, but it also somewhat interrupts the immersion of navigating a tiny mouse through big, open environments that are full of detail and interaction. Moss: Book II shines the brightest with its wonderful presentation and gameplay, and it feels a bit clumsy to not have a way to exclusively tell the story in that environment.
Although you’ll mainly guide Quill around and interact with the world through her, there are select interactions the player has to make both with Quill together and on their own. In the first entry, the player could heal Quill in combat, manipulate enemy movement, and move platforms in the environment.
Although these interactions still exist in Book II, they were expanded by quite a few additional actions, such as flinging certain enemies at targets, creating climbable vines, or assisting Quill with special attacks during combat.
In the end, Moss: Book II doesn’t lose any momentum and directly continues the touching story from the first title. It expands gameplay in new and fun ways and immerses you in its fairy tale world quite effectively. While it’s a fun and highly polished game, it still plays it a bit safe in some regards, but that’s easy to forget when the end product looks and plays this well. Much like its predecessor, Moss: Book II is a must-play title in VR.
‘Moss: Book II is currently available for the PC. So, get those gaming PCs ready for action!