Thursday 17 October 2019

Moss review: Enthralled by big little adventure

Moss (PSVR) ★★★★★ Age: 7+

Ronan Price

Ronan Price

PlayStation has given birth to many icons, from Crash Bandicoot to Nathan Drake to Kratos, God of War. Moss deserves instant promotion to these hallowed ranks, purely on the basis of this short VR adventure.

Sony has struggled to create a defining PSVR title, a killer app to sell its 18-month-old headset but Polyarc, a small team of ex-Bungie developers, has done just that. Children and adults alike can't but be captivated by this delightful fairytale featuring a plucky little mouse named Quill on a big adventure.

It's not really the story that matters but rather its enchanting presentation like a sweeping diorama, a meticulously detailed world of forest and tumbling castles. Little Quill scrambles through this world with your help as a giant helping hand moving blocks, hindering enemies and healing her when she's hurt. The third-person perspective means you can lean the VR headset in to see around corners, down into tunnels and over walls. Quill's animation lends her real personality - she recoils if you get in too close too quickly - and the game is filled with thoughtful little touches, such as her thumbs-up when you solve a puzzle.

The challenges can become a little annoying later in the game - juggling two characters at once sometimes puts you at odds with the motion tracking of the controller. But this is an enthralling world brimming with such presence that we can't wait for Quill to write another chapter.

Metal Gear Survive

(PS4/XO/PC) ★★★ Age: 18+

Few gave the lauded Metal Gear franchise a chance after the departure of its auteur Hideo Kojima in 2015. Survive betrays the absence of Kojima's intense creative influence, resulting in a curious half-breed that resembles the Metal Gear stealth template but wants to be something new.

After some lengthy exposition (another disagreeable Kojima trademark), you're dumped on an isolated world overrun by shuffling zombies. Survival - by resource gathering, crafting, base-building, etc - is the name of the game.

Exploration can be tense as you head for a remote beacon and brave the desert with its unknown horrors. Alas, inventory management proves fiddly and the constant irritation of combating hunger and thirst feels more important than dealing with the monsters.

Survive isn't terrible but nor is it up to Kojima's standard. A co-op mode with up to four players renders the action beats more interesting, but it ultimately feels too repetitive for its own good.

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