Deaf Game Review – Moss

The fact that Moss was our first venture into VR does absolutely no favors for any other VR games. Moss, thanks to the stunning immersion and our little mouse friend, Quill, is one of the very best games we’ve played (bonus points are definitely given here for the fact that Quill speaks to you in ASL). The world, the story, and the protagonist are all incredible and awe inspiring.

In the forest, tiny broken bridge in the foreground, deer with antlers in background.

You play as The Reader in the world of Moss and your job is to guide and assist Quill as she tries to save her uncle. As The Reader your role is in both 3rd person and 1st person, as you guide Quill and control her as she fights the occasional enemies, climbs walls and scales obstacles. Your role in 1st person is to manipulate the environment, keep an eye out for secret areas Quill can explore, and heal her (you can also pet her, but fair warning, we’re pretty sure this annoys her).

Moss laying on the ground in the forest, little stars twinkling above her head, indicating she'd been injured.
Close-up of Moss, her ears held to the side, eyes closed.
Moss standing on glowing symbol, pointing up at player character.

For us, the very best part of Moss is the immersion and interaction it allowed me. Polyarc has designed a world that really shows the power of VR and as a Deaf/HoH player, we’ve been waiting to feel like we were fully immersed in a game for quite a long time. Moss allows us that, completely.

Close-up of Moss, ears back, eyes closed, pointing up at player character.
Moss standing on overgrown mossy step.
Moss in background, looking at stairs in a hall of statues.

You can lean in to get a close look at Quill (which she always reacts to), lean around corners to make sure you’ve not missed anything, and kneel or stand on your toes to change your view to take in this stunning world.

Moss in a fight scene with a crab-type enemy. Sharp vines surrounding the fighting area.

Combat, while simple, can be overwhelming at times, but we found that was due to the limitations of the Playstation camera, not the game itself. We won’t spoil the fun of combat but suffice it to say you have to rely on motion controls paired with the camera to come out on top in fights and this doesn’t always go well. But if you do fall in a fight, Moss doesn’t punish you, which is a welcome change. You don’t have to worry about loading your last save or losing all your possessions, you simply start over at whatever scene you died in.

Moss storybook on table with candles behind it.

In terms of accessibility, Moss does exceedingly well. In fact, there was only one thing found ourselves wishing Polyarc had done, which we’ll get to in a minute. You can see subtitles are very well done, and given that this is something of an interactive storybook, every bit of speech is subtitled.

Moss standing on a wooden plank over water with blue orb hovering over her.
Glowing beam spanning between two grassy drop-off areas in the forest.

Visual cues are exactly what they need to be and they’re a part of the game. The blue glow of the objects The Reader can interact with fits perfectly into the magic of the story, and the translucent blur orb that is your cursor never gets in the way and made me feel pretty powerful, wielding a ball of light that could manipulate the world.

Moss hiding behind a log, her position indicated by glowing blue outline.

When Quill is out of sight and in a location you can’t lean or turn your head to see, she gets a blue glow to show you her location through a wall of behind a rock.

The one and only area we wish Polyarc had done better is in providing full captioning and not just subtitles. The game is so overwhelming (in a good way) and so beautifully designed that we wish they’d taken that one final step to allow for full immersion for deaf and hoh players. The subtle buzz of flies in the forest, the sound of bird wings flapping as crows take flight, the movement in the brush when you encounter a deer and it reacts to your presence. It’s these little things that make this game what it is, and while we are absolutely enamored with Moss and have never experienced such an engrossing game world, we do wish these things were captioned.

Moss's village with a stream running through the middle, houses in the background.

That said, we are absolutely enamored with Moss and in awe that Polyarc was able to create something we enjoyed so much that we were so fully immersed in and if you have PSVR, this is a must-have (and if you don’t have PSVR, a damn good reason to get it).

Review Box 0
5.4 / 6 Reviewer
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 6 Users (0 votes)
Pros
Stunning, immersive world, Subtitles are very well done, Quill uses ASL, Great visual cues
Cons
Lack of full captioning hurts immersion
The slight misstep in skipping full captions doesn't make the game un-enjoyable, rather it keeps it at 100% rather than 110%.
Visual Representation of Dialogue
Visual Representation of Sound
Visual Cues
Controller Vibration
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