Meet Quill, the bravest, strongest mouse ever.
Since we first saw Moss at E3 last year we have been waiting with baited breath for it to arrive, and it finally has! Released on February 27th, it has already stolen our hearts and fills our hours with the beauty of a fully realized world.
Lets take a look at some of the top tips to make your journey through the land of Moss even better.
You are not Quill
Though you control the actions of our little mouse adventurer, you do not actually play the game as her. You are a spirit, or as the game calls you the Reader, who is the companion of Quill and you have your own function to perform above and beyond just moving Quill.
Using the Sixaxis Controller you can pick up and move objects in the game. A lot of the time this means moving statues and pieces of puzzles to help Quill traverse the environment but other times it gets more complicated. Using your control you can pick up enemies to stop Quill from being overrun, or even more fun you can move enemies to help you open doors or activate switches where otherwise you wouldn't be able to.
This level of cooperation and interaction is rare in any game so it is doubly exciting when you are in VR and playing it so close. It makes you think not just about what needs to be done to solve the puzzles but how you can achieve that goal using all the environment, not just turning a dial here or flipping a switch there.
Look Behind things
Moss has a set of scrolls to collect as part of the main story and they are hidden in some unusual places that you may need to move around to find. When playing the game you can get lost in the story and with watching Quill and you start to forget, at first, that you are in VR, until the first time you look around a column. When it happened to me I was trying to get a better look at some of the scenery and as I tilted my head I saw one of the scrolls behind the wall on the far side, easy enough for Quill to reach but had I been playing the game in the traditional way I would never have seen it.
Puzzles can be solved in the same way. By looking around obstacles or into smaller areas you can often see things you would notice normally and the change in perspective makes it much easier to solve the puzzles that, if you were on a fixed camera, would be much harder. Being able to look at the whole map and even lean in closer to the action has the added benefit of being able to appreciate the art that goes into a game like moss. Quill is a perfectly rendered little creature that feels alive, especially when you can lean down and see her ears and nose twitching randomly as she sits and waits for you. Speaking of waiting..
Quill is occasionally smarter than you
When you start playing the game the puzzles are simple enough, pull this lever, move this statue, that kind of thing but as you start to progress things become more challenging. The puzzles start to have multiple components that you need to do at the same time to get them to work and sometimes, after an hour or two of playing your mind just can't piece it all together. Thankfully you are part of a team in Moss and not just on your own. It turns out the little mouse adventurer that is your partner in this game is far cleverer than you. She knows how to do it.
If you are struggling to figure out what to do with a certain puzzle just wait for a minute and look at Quill. Eventually, she will get impatient and start showing you, using American Sign Language, how to complete it. Honestly, I enjoy waiting to see what she says anyway because the animations are so fluid and well done. Most of the time she gives you that last little piece that's missing, like telling you to turn the stairs or make the bug shoot, which makes your brain turn on and you can start figuring. It doesn't always help mind you, and she won't tell you how to get the scrolls that are hidden on the levels, but invariably she can point you in the right direction.
You can hold things and move Quill
A lot of the game puzzles in Moss require you, the reader, to move objects in the world using your Sixaxis Controller. They make this action as interesting as possible by making the variety of things you need to move, well, varied. From statues to gears and cogs there is a long list of things you can do to help Quill get through the maze including using the enemies that appear too. Using enemies is extremely helpful as they can be moved to stand on plates that Quill can't reach.
What makes Moss almost unique in puzzle games is that you can move yourself and Quill at the same time. By holding an enemy in place while moving moss to another area you can solve puzzles that normally wouldn't work, or use this skill in combat to make a huge difference. You can use your hold maneuver to drag enemies away from Quill while she fights another enemy, stopping her from getting overrun, it's very satisfying and adds a layer of complexity to Moss that elevates the whole game.
You can use enemies to kill other enemies
This is a really helpful tip for combat. Quill is very brave but a little squishy, it only takes two or three hits to knock her out and restart the level so you need to use all the dirty tricks you can. You can use several enemies in the game when you have them in your Sixaxis grip to fire, or explode parts of the landscape to help solve puzzles, happily they can also kill each other using that power too.
When you are in combat with multiple enemies keep your eyes peeled for the ones that fire or explode and use that ability to keep Quill out of combat. I managed to complete a big fight by hanging Quill on a ledge and using the shooting beetle to kill all the little guys, then Quill finishes off the one I was controlling. Keeping your little mouse friend alive is really your only task as the "reader" so you may as well use the forces of evil against themselves.
This is just the beginning
These five tips are really just the start of what you can do in Moss but they will help you get started in fine fashion. navigating this world with Quill really does feel like a partnership so you learn together how best to succeed. Let us know in the comments if you find any other cool tips for your fellow readers.