E3 2017 Hands on Preview: Moss an Epic Adventure Game from Polyarc Games

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I stood in line for the better part of three days, and played a lot of games at E3. Every one of them was fun, some more than others. I played every game knowing what to expect and was not disappointed, though some failed to impress. Except once when I strapped on a PlayStation VR headset and was blown away.

Instantly evoking a feeling of mystery and adventure reminiscent of classic bedtime tales. Moss brings an almost perfect balance of elements to create an experience greater than the sum of its parts.

Moss gives you the classic fairy tale type settings but in 3D. Each area beautifully rendered to enhance the overall ambiance and feel of the game. It is very easy in a virtual reality game to detract from the experience if the environment distracting, poorly laid out, unresponsive or just plain ugly.  Moss avoids the typical problems by using a fixed point of view for each area.  You will not need to jump, spin or otherwise potentially destroy your living room to adventure alongside Quill. It may sound silly, but the number one complaint about VR is motion sickness and headaches. I felt like this design will be an easy entry point that will minimize the potential for both.

Moss has easy to use and intuitive controls to guide Quill through her adventures and combat her enemies. Some games require a user manual and a cheat sheet for their controls, this is not one of them. The combat system is simple and easy to grasp, and no button mashing required. Unless Polyarc has something greater or more in-depth planned for the release. Personally I would enjoy more depth in the combat system, but Moss is not a fighting game and a non-complex system keeps it more family friendly.

Did I mention Moss has puzzles as well? The puzzles make excellent use of the 3D virtual reality environment. Solving these puzzles will require both you and Quill. You might be thinking, of course it requires me; I am using the controller to move Quill. While that is true Moss takes it a step further which is the part that really made it stand out from the other games. Quill navigates through and interacts with her environment as expected, but she can’t accomplish all the required tasks on her own. You must reach out into the game environment and manipulate it to aid Quill in overcoming these challenges. It may sound simple, but that division makes you feel more a part of the game.

On top of all of that I had the opportunity to meet the guys from Polyarc Games who were at E3. Every single person I talked to had an abundance of enthusiasm for creating family friendly games that are engaging and fun. Moss hits that mail solidly on the head. We here at EFG will be keeping in contact with them and hopefully hearing more from them in the future.

The unfortunate truth of game demos at conventions like E3; they are limited in time and scope. In that short period of interaction though Moss made itself stand out so much so that it was my choice for game of the show. Moss is scheduled to be released this holiday season. Make sure you have your PS4 and VR gear ready. I just ordered mine.

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