Tag Archives: moss

Moss review (PSVR)

Sitting in a grand hall that wouldn’t look out of place in Hogwarts, the VR adventure into the world of Moss begins with the turn of a page. Immediately you are transported into a fascinating world and swiftly introduced to the character of Quill and then, your own character. You are a Reader – aptly named indeed – and it’s only with your help and support that Quill will be able to navigate the cruel world and find her grandfather who has gone missing.

Playing as the character of the Reader gives a direct connection to the world and a great grounding to your being and reason for the third person perspective. Looking down on Quill’s world, you can explore each scene like it’s a giant diorama – gloriously detailed and begging for you to lean in and look behind the many walls to uncover its secrets.

Meanwhile, Quill holds everything together – your own VR pet mouse – she has bags of character and is very lifelike. The devs have nailed her movement and tiny mouse quirks – twitching her nose and swishing her tail as she scampers through the world, offering her paw for a high five when you best tough scenarios, and pointing the way that she thinks you should head together, and it’s this togetherness that rings true throughout your journey.

This connected world is strengthened further with the role that the DualShock controller plays. Able to reach into the world, you can move items in the environment, drag enemies out of the way and interact directly with Quill. I have never felt so connected to a VR game before and while the ending reaches a perfectly acceptable climax, it left me painfully wanting more, not because I felt the game was too short, but because I longed to spend more time with this cute little VR mouse. Thankfully, the ending comes with the information that you have merely finished book 1 – I do hope that Moss gets enough love that we get to see more books released.

With Limbo like qualities, stunning set pieces entwine beautifully with the VR experience, using the technology to its best rather than for mere gimmicks or depth tricks. It also creates a brilliant sense of scale, with each section placing you at different viewpoints – the base of a river, looking down a hill, overlooking a small village – it’s utterly wonderful.

The game is littered with simple puzzles – both navigational and combat – which get progressively more complex with extra dynamics thrown in that will put your multitasking to the test. Only a handful of situations had me scratching my head in confusion. This doesn’t detract from the gameplay and I really struggled throughout my time with Moss to come to many negatives, and even though the combat is simple, there were numerous occasions when I was beaten.

The whole game continually links back to the pages of the book you are reading from and this is capped off by the wonderful talents of Morla Gorrondona who reads the book to you, a beautiful voice that exquisitely tells the tale – she is simply wonderful. While Moss could be enjoyed without the need for VR, its use is so well implemented that I couldn’t help but fall hopelessly in love with the game and more importantly, Quill, and that’s because of how immersed I was in the world. Thanks to VR, I felt part of the story, a place I lived in and a place I want to go back to. This is exactly what VR games should strive for.

Indeed, Moss is a delightful game that’s hard to fault. The puzzle solving, while simple, is fun. The combat is tight with an edge of complexity but one that never gets too out of hand, while the navigation through each perfectly sculpted diorama is delightful to negotiate and explore, but like all bedtime stories they must come to an end, with hope that you will be told another one soon…

Thanks to Kartridge PR for supporting TiX

Moss adventures onto PSVR next week

Moss will give you bags of adorable feels – just look at his little face – and the new title from Polyarc Games will be arriving on PSVR next week. Launching February 27, I’m predicting that the action-adventure puzzler will be sure to turn heads and convince the naysayers out there that PSVR is much more than a gimmick with a catalogue of arena based shooters.

Moss is launching at a superb time for the platform, joining recent titles like Sprint Vector and Apex Construct, which have been well received by owners.

From the beginning we wanted to take the core of what makes a game great and bring it to life with the magic of VR. We’re so excited to finally share Moss with the world. — Tam Armstrong, Co-Founder and CEO of Polyarc

TiX @ EGX – Day 2 Review

I had a decision to make when the doors opened on day two of EGX. I knew the queues would be longer on a Friday. The decision was what to go for first. The longest queues on Day One were for Shadow Of War and Battlefront 2, but the former was decided upon as I think everyone else went for Battlefront 2!
Even though I went straight there when the doors opened the queue was still 90 minutes long!
But I persevered, took ownership of another months free Game Pass and had a nice chat with Nas (who was manning the adjacent Super Lucky’s Tale booth) who is not a gamer, so working at the show raised a lot of questions about the industry.

And the 90 minute queue was worth it. Shadow of War was running on the Xbox One X and looked awesome. Let’s face it, every game on the new machine looks awesome! I was struck by how many characters were on screen at once as the demo had me attacking a fortress with my army. I died, as it’s always a struggle jumping into a demo as it doesn’t take into consideration your lack of familiarity with the controls. However, the depth of enemy personality is still present, like its predecessor and I witnessed such lines as “I’m gonna put your insides on the outside!”, with a nice cockney accent! The demo lasted 20 minutes, and I had some time just running around the open world, climbing towers and taking out orcs with my bow. Overall, this has just cemented my decision that this will be a purchase or (hopefully) a review copy!

After a quick drink break it was onto Assassins Creed Origins, again on the Xbox One X. Yes, you guessed it, the game looks amazing in 4K! It had a Black Flag vibe to it, with the demo set in a small town on the coast. It required you to find two golden statues, one in a shipwreck and one being guarded on a ship. After sneaking onto the ship the game crashed, and the staff had to reboot and fix the dev kit, although I then was given the opportunity to take part in the next play session meaning I had about 35 minutes in the world. No crashes on the next session and I was able to infiltrate the ship and steal back the statue.

It’s an Assassins Creed game in name and nature. It does have the new eagle game mechanic which allows you to scout the location for enemies and loot before you head into battle. Fans of Assassins Creed will be delighted although I’m not convinced Origins will attract the doubters back over.

After lunch I had a prebooked PSVR appointment and once again I was failed to be impressed. Whether it’s just my eyes (as I am a glasses wearer), but games always feel blurred with a real lack of clarity. The game I played was a cutesy puzzle game called Moss. In Moss you take control of a mouse called Quill and have to guide him around the world using the PS4 controller. The VR element comes into play when you manually manipulate elements in the scenery to open new paths. Enemies can also be manipulated, for example, to stand on switches that open the path for Quill to proceed. Like with other VR demos I’ve played there didn’t seem to be any need to have this game in VR. It would have been just as good an experience as a standard PS4 game.

One game that’s the “In” thing at the moment is Player Unknowns Battlegrounds which was also being shown on the Xbox booth. I queued for an hour and was severely underwhelmed.
During the ten minute snippet of gameplay I encountered no enemies and saw no action. I collected a weapon, found a car and as I was on my way to a designated point on the map the time was called to move on. A very strange experience indeed. There really could have been a better way to demonstrate the game. But I am sure it will sell by the bucketload anyway! It was also running on PC, but apparently it is the Xbox build thats running on those PC’s.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0Tnp-3W3z4

Project Cars 2 had a PC Demo that ran on Samsung C49HG90 Curved monitors that were a bit special. Running in cockpit view allowed a width of vision unlike I’ve ever seen. The game looked and sounded phenomenal, but it’s doubtful I’ll ever have £1500 to spend on one of these monitors! It’ll be interesting to see how well Project Cars 2 does against Forza 7 on release.

Day 2 ended with Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Far Cry 5 demos, which I will cover off on the Day 3 review, as time is pushing on and I need to take down a full english before heading back to the NEC!

 

Raiden V review

Those who follow and read my reviews on here will know that I’m a bit of an old-school gamer. I grew up gaming on a diet of Amstrad and Amiga titles. There were some classics that have stood the test of time there, and more so. Of particular note were some of the best vertical scrolling shoot em ups that I’ve played.  Titles like the Bitmap Brothers’ Xenon 2 and the groundbreaking Battle Squadron are two that spring to mind. Anyone who played these two titles in particular will have had an indelible watermark etched on their gaming compass. How could anything possibly hope to match them?

Raiden V is a vertical shoot ‘em up that pits your super-powerful Valkyrie jet fighter against a horde of mutated crystal powered mech that appear to have spiralled out of control. You’re tasked with defeating the machines and saving the entire planet, if not the Solar System.

The game’s slow start hides the frantic action that is about to come. Initially, the text that gives you the background to your fight sort of rumbles on. I found myself strenuously resisting tapping through it. I wanted to soak this in, it’s been 25 years since the first Raiden after all.  When the preamble finishes, it’s finally time to fight.

After choosing the most likely ship from three, with each having their own attack, speed and defence stats, you get to choose your loadout. This takes the form of choosing a weapon for each of three slots on your fighter. Each slot has three weapons to choose from. These all-important attacking options have, broadly speaking, three categories; a forward-firing beam, bullet-type laser projectiles and an automatically guided beam.  Once you’ve picked your poison, it’s time to start dealing the death.

The main thing you’ll notice about the game-screen is that it’s divided into three distinct areas. The good thing about this is that the left and right sections, although separate, are not relying on you to keep an eye on either of them while things are getting hot in the middle area. Chill, you can concentrate on the enemy. In truth, the outer sections are a bit superfluous. The left section deals with your Cheer Rating and gives you information on the various in-game collectables and also displays your currently selected weapon and how much of your shield is left.

Raiden VThe right section of the game area switches between images of your flight-controller and commander and the text of the current in-game speech that is running in the background.  The central section, though. Now that’s where all the action is.

The central section contains the real-time shooting action. Your ship is super-speedy as it flies around this area, dodging the hail of enemy fire as you attempt to deal your own version of death.  Keeping in line with the original title, Raiden V is amazingly simple to pick up. The left stick controls your movement, the A button opens fire, B drops one of your limited supply of Smart Bombs. Easy, right?

On the face of it, you’d think so, but what you’ll notice is the sheer volume of enemies. At some points during some levels, you’ve got around 16-20 on the screen at once, all vying to fire that killer shot. Get them before they get you. Here’s where your weapons come into play. My favourite was the directional beam with auto-lock on. You get the opportunity to level these weapons up throughout the game with collectables that are dropped by destroyed enemies. These are coloured tokens that will, after time, change colour. When it matches the colour of the weapon that you’re using, go grab it and it will upgrade you weapon’s level. Alternatively, if you chose a different colour, it will change to one of your other weapons. Unlike some other games, shooting this token will not change the colour, thus speeding up the colour change. Bear this in mind when grabbing these.

Raiden VThe graphics are so much more than good, and the speed of the action in Raiden V is helped by the smaller gameplay window. This doesn’t stop the game from being bullet-fuelled chaos though. The good news is, unlike games like Xenon 2, the scenery does not cause your ship to snag. The explosions are again, well drawn and you’ll get some lovely medals to collect once your destroyed your foes.

So, the game is extremely engaging. There are plenty of levels to crack on your way to victory and each level or section is capped with the obligatory end of level boss to destroy. These generally take the form of a huge mechanised platform or device that will transform into a different configuration as the level of destruction progresses.  These relate to the environment that each set of levels is based on, be that land, sea, air, space or even off-world.

Even though there are plenty of levels, the chances are that you’ll finish the story on the first pass. Not to say that the game is easy or that you’ll do this without losing some lives. On that subject, Raiden V doesn’t offer the player a set number of lives to lose. You have one ship with a percentage based shield system. Once the shield is depleted and you’re hit once more, it’s game over and you’ll be using that continue.

Raiden VAnd you’ll be using that continue. The game is made in such a way that it makes you believe that no matter where in the level you died, you’ll know, or at least think, that you can beat it, no matter the odds. This makes the campaign feel a little on the short side, but your in-game choices take you down branching story paths, with a number of endings for the game.

This should then keep you coming back for more, and it does. The need to complete the full pyramid of levels is as heavy as Meat Loaf. This streaking through levels also means that there are some fairly easy gamer points on offer here too. The ping of gamer points overlays some catchy tunes that form the background to the usual shots and explosions that accompany shmups. This means, unfortunately, that the in-game speech is lost in all of this battleground noise.

All in all, Raiden V is a corking nostalgia ride through bullet hell. A must-have for any old-school gamer who is longing for a shooter that not only brings the memories of Battle Squadron and Xenon 2 bang up to date but also is an engaging and fun experience in its own right. The graphics are great, the gameplay is fluid and oh so fast. Moss have done a fantastic job. Even though the campaign may feel a little short, you realise that there are so many other branches of the storyline that are possible that makes the game replayable. Add the Blue Dragon and Fairy collectables into the mix and you’ll have hours of fun playing Raiden V. I don’t think it matters what else I write from here. I’m expecting you to be playing it.