Moss: Book 2, the preview of 15 minutes of unreleased gameplay

Moss: Book 2, the preview of 15 minutes of unreleased gameplay


In about two weeks, exactly on March 31, 2022, Moss: Book II will make its debut on PlayStation VR. A follow-up to the acclaimed Moss, the game from Polyarc Inc. will once again take players into the fairy world of the mouse Quill, with a truly well-packed sequel.

We are not afraid to say too much about this statement, because some time ago we were able to see some clips of the game, about 15 minutes of gameplay, commented for the occasion by Josh Stiksma, engineer and designer of the game.

We tell you all about the progress made by the development team in this preview of Moss: Book II.

The relationship with Quill

In Moss: Book II is not the world to be giant ... Quill is just a little mouse! Moss: Book II picks up the story exactly where the first chapter left off. The player assists and supports Quill, the little mouse protagonist, as a guardian spirit: it is up to us to help Quill progress through the levels and defeat the enemies, manipulating the environment and assisting her in the fighting. Stiksma did not reveal much narrative aspects of the game, to avoid as many spoilers as possible for those present, an aspect that characterized the whole presentation.

The summary, however, is very clear: Quill will continue in his breathless search and this time the stakes are much higher, the atmosphere darker and the events in general more dense and complex, while maintaining the same sense story that characterized Moss: Book II will undoubtedly also be much more emotional, an aspect that clearly passes through the relationship that the player will establish with Quill. Essential in this sense is the excellent work done on the character of Quill, in terms of appearance and animations. Already last year, when we had interviewed the guys from Polyarc, this aspect of Book II had emerged and now that we have seen it with our own eyes, we can say that they were absolutely not magnifying the story, on the contrary.

Although Quill is just a mouse, which the player perceives on a one-to-one scale in the game world, the protagonist exudes character from all mustaches: the movements of the animations are fluid and much more complex than in the past, you can see the expressions of Quill, also manifested through effective body language ... and ears.

Quill's interaction with the surrounding world is credible and authentic and, unless you lack an ounce of empathy, seeing her face the thousand challenges that await her will always lead you to cheer for her, feeling the urgent need to assist her in everything. We were particularly impressed to see Quill climb a little high step and struggle a little with his hind legs to give himself the necessary momentum to face the difference in height: you cannot understand the unstoppable desire we had to be there, in that garden, to give her a little push to face the obstacle.

Impossible not to get attached to little Quill! Stiksma strongly emphasized how this type of affection and feeling is established much more easily through a virtual reality experience and how VR is an extremely powerful vehicle for transmitting a certain type of emotion, as in the case of the sense of protection that the player tries inside Moss: Book II. In this factor, the developer also identifies the success of Moss and, indirectly, the existence of a sequel: "I believe that this strong bond between the players and Quill is what has thrilled the public, and we have to admit, we in Polyarc too. . We all wanted to see Quill's story continue and to be able to spend more time with her, it was as much your wish as ours. "

However, this will not affect the experience of new players, who will understand the events better if they want to recover the first chapter, but who will not find narrative obstacles starting directly from Book II. The sequel, in fact, will offer an exhaustive summary of the events, as well as a tutorial that Stiksma says will leave nothing to chance: "We don't want new players to be forced to retrieve the first Moss, nor do we find it correct that many game mechanics are taken for granted because 'There were already in the first'. Those who want to start directly from Book II will not find any obstacles in their way ".

A living and interactive world

richness of screen elements make Moss: Book II wonderful to see Polyarc has taken the making of Moss: Book II very much to heart, aware of the fact that, paradoxically, a sequel always has much more to prove than an unreleased release: the expectations are already set, the gaming experience known by the public, obvious strengths and weaknesses. The developers don't hide Book II's more of the same nature, but they seem keenly aware of the stakes; Stiksma admitted very transparently that the entire sequel was built on the foundations of the first chapter but there is no aspect of the game that has not been improved.

To begin with, the settings. Those of the first Moss were certainly pleasant and well characterized but they were not as rich as those of Book II: not only are the backdrops deeper and more detailed, but everything positioned in the foreground is alive and animated. There is much more variety on the screen between enemies, particle effects, manipulable objects and others with only scenographic function but, not for this reason, static. Blades of grass that move when Quill touches them, flowers lulled by the wind, snowflakes and puffs of steam.

The depth of Moss: Book II is surprising Despite this, however, just by looking at the presentation, without being directly immersed in the game action with the viewer, it is immediately clear which are the background elements and with which the player and Quill must interact. From what we have been able to see, Polyarc has played a lot on the use of light and colors, making the manipulation of the environments very instinctive: Moss in fact, asks the player to interact with the scenario to open passages and help Quill in the progression of the adventure .

In the two stages that we were able to see, for example, small walkways of climbing ivy could be created by dragging the branches from one end of a ledge to the other, creating a bridge for Quill; in this case the ivy turned to an almost bluish dark green while all the rest of the vegetation was a brighter and lighter green. In another scenario, an underground foundry, there were several push switches that the player had to interact with, indicated by a glowing crown around the buttons.

Lots of weapons, puzzles and opportunities

Quill intent on stealing a heavy hammer from the statue And it is this second setting of Moss: Book II that revealed another great novelty of the game and showed the potential of the title. In fact, in this foundry, Quill comes into possession of a heavy hammer, stealing it from the statue of a Viking mole. Stiksma says the hammer is just one of the new weapons that Quill will be able to use and collect in his inventory, but there's more. The weapon can in fact be used in combat but also has a special ability that can be activated by the player: by touching the hammer, in fact, the player can activate a sort of projection of the hammer, which remains suspended like a ghost in the place where it is activated and then remotely triggered. The skill is taught to the player through a very simple puzzle: Quill has to get on a platform that only gets up by hitting a button away from it but either the mouse hits the button with the hammer or uses the elevator, she can't do both. . Therefore the player first places Quill on the button, then activates the hammer ghost ability, moves the protagonist to the platform and then triggers the blow.

Each weapon will have special abilities and this leads to three important findings about Moss: Book II, one linked to the other. The first is that the game acquires depth and complexity that the first chapter did not possess and, as with the settings, the variety of additions made in Book II is remarkable, also in terms of gameplay. The second is that this multitude of mechanics related to collectible weapons opens the way for more exploration and even a bit of backtracking, which will reward players willing to retrace their steps to explore a previous area or solve an impossible puzzle in precedence. Many and new mechanics lead to a much longer-lasting game, especially if you add up the time spent thinking about the increasingly complex puzzles.

New challenges and new puzzles await players in Moss: Book II In short, Moss: Book II seems to have a lot to offer, both quantitatively and qualitatively. And the future of VR for Stiksma looks bright and expanding: "We always look forward to the work of other development teams committed to VR. Maybe that's not the case with Moss: Book II because we knew that, as a sequel, it would have been very anchored to the roots of the project, but we have observed with great interest, for example, the work done with AstroBot. Furthermore we are in full technological expansion, the evolution of virtual reality is progressing rapidly and as a developer I can only say that I am enthusiastic about these new devices , so powerful that the things that we developers can achieve multiply rapidly! " We do not know what Stiksma was referring to: maybe the port of the first Moss on Oculus Quest? Or maybe someone in Polyarc already has a PSVR 2 devkit? Impossible to say, for the moment we are content with Quill's new adventure!

The stakes in Quill's life are very high, both in the storytelling and in reality. Polyarc knows that a sequel brings with it numerous pitfalls but the Seattle team seems ready for the challenge. Moss: Book II is built on the solid foundation of a VR experience that has worked very well in the past and is now ready to express its full potential. Nothing is left to chance and every single aspect of the game has been enhanced, enriched and chiseled down to the smallest detail. The experience is designed for players who can't wait to get back to team with Quill as well as for those who have yet to meet the cute little mouse. A PlayStation VR experience that, so far, seems really well packaged.


Quill is truly irresistible Full and vibrant scenarios More complex and stimulating mechanics DOUBTS To evaluate the backtracking in the levels Longer-lived but always up to par? Have you noticed any errors?

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