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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Moss is a downloadable fairy tale-like adventure and platformer for the PlayStation VR. Gamers instruct Moss, a cute white mouse, to navigate around various levels, overcome obstacles, and solve puzzles. There's some light fantasy violence, where Moss must use her sword, but it's mostly in self-defense. While little is known about Moss, she does seem to be a brave and adventurous little mouse willing to save her world from danger. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content to be found in the game. Parents should be aware, too, that virtual reality equipment makers don't recommend VR experiences for kids under 12 due to the potential impact the technology may have on younger players' physiological development.
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What's it about?
MOSS is a single-player action/adventure puzzle game about a young mouse named Quill who has ambitious dreams of greatness beyond her quiet and unassuming life. When an ancient magic is awakened, Quill becomes linked to the player (yes, that's you), who can guide Moss throughout her world to take on various tasks -- especially after a distant evil draws nearer. Quill requires your help to bypass obstacles, solve puzzles, and engage in combat with her trusty little sword. At various points in the game, Moss is narrated by the author of a fairy tale-like book. Playing from a cinematic third-person perspective, you'll use the PlayStation 4 DualShock controller to pet Quill (or give her a high-five), partake in platformer-like tasks like jumping over chasms and moving objects, heal her when necessary, and find ways to safely escape the level to help her continue on the epic journey.
Is it any good?
This is an adorable adventure filled with puzzles, platforming, and some combat, but the addition of virtual reality makes this 3D world even more engaging and immersive. While Moss only runs for about three or four hours, those looking for a bit of a different VR experience will no doubt fall for the game's charm. The first thing players will notice is the majestic set pieces you play in. Truly, this looks like a polished animated movie, and it's a thrill to move your head around (and use motion controls on the DualShock controller) to peek around the level and instruct Quill to move about. It's like you're "in" the adventure with this quiet little mouse. You get a nice sense of scale as part of this awe. The sweeping soundtrack adds to the overall immersion. Of course, you'll soon develop a rapport with Quill, since you must interact with her in many ways while navigating around the levels to perform tasks and solve puzzles.
As an example of a puzzle, you'll find yourself in a jungle cave around statues of heroic warrior mice, which you must move for Quill and place on pressure plates to open up a dungeon door. Once inside, you'll need to destroy five red beetles to reveal a winding staircase. You'll rotate the staircase so that you can climb it to a higher level. Some environmental puzzles are more challenging than this, but that's a sense of the tasks at hand. As hinted at already, the game's VR production values are extraordinary, between the animation, set pieces, and music and voice talent. There are a couple of little glitches that temporarily break the spell -- like adversaries who sometimes get stuck in a wall or a camera that obscures your view until you move around a bit -- but overall, Moss is well worth your time and your money.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. Moss is a relatively short experience, but does that make it perfect for parents worried that their kids spend too much time in front of screens?
Discuss fairy tales. What are your favorite fairy tales? Does this feel like a new way to tell stories?
- Platforms: PlayStation VR
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Polyarc, Inc.
- Release date: February 27, 2018
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Book Characters, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: E for No Descriptions
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.