If you’ve never felt like your life was in a slump, you probably won’t get much out of this game. This capitalizes on people that feel they are just a cog in the machine, working for a slave driver with no recognition, and pushes you to look at life in a different light. It wants to change the way you look at life, and to make a change in the way you process your day to day routines. Whether it reaches those goals or not depends on how it resonates with you.
Mosaic is essentially a 3rd person walking sim. There are some gameplay elements in it, but they’re minor at best. Funnily enough, the game has its own commentary on the absurdity of the trophy/achievement meta-game that are essential parts to game platforms nowadays for so many. Not a single trophy is tied to the game proper, but instead a completely optional clicker game, showing how unimportant they are despite people spending hours to complete games for them. This hurt me more than most, as I spent an absurd amount of time with the game Clicker Heroes, for the very purpose of trophies/achievements and wanting to see where it would end (spoiler: it doesn’t).
The colors used are all very drab, aside from when you’re imagining what life could be free from your current prison, or when someone is playing music. These segments are followed by a surreal look at how life is destroying you, and your companion tries to help explain how to change it. The narrative takes place over a few days, which is counted down on your cellphone by work letting you know each day that if you’re late so many more times, you’ll be terminated. You experience a new leg of the journey to work each day, and find out just how miserable you are, and likely everyone else around you. It’s probably not something you haven’t seen before, but if you’re unfamiliar, it can be quite powerful. A lot of the imagery feels borrowed from other media, but that doesn’t make it any less potent to the game’s message.
While the story is about the monotony of this person’s life, the gameplay follows suit. It’s kind of like some of Suda51’s games, where they’re less about the experience and more about the story. You’re not supposed to enjoy it, just get through it. This works for some players, but others will likely give up knowing full well where it’s going to end. I debated stopping after the second or third day, but thought maybe things would be changed up. I was hoping the game would flip something on its head and surprise me, but it ended pretty much exactly how I anticipated. Not to say that’s a bad thing, but it lost some of its gravitas since this is hardly the first time I’ve seen this topic tackled.
The game’s low poly visuals definitely lend themselves well to the whole experience. Sadly, even with this chosen style, the game lagged much more than I’d like. There are plenty of visual stutters throughout and seeming load times with scenes skipping after a few seconds. There are definitely some sections that are more resource intensive than others, but these didn’t always correlate with the hiccups. It’s a shame, because some of these scenes are where the game truly shines, and they’re brought down with the technical glitches.
Mosaic is the type of game that wants to be more than it is. It wants to inspire change and be a revelatory experience for everyone that plays it and works a “normal job.” It wants to show you that if you’re depressed, you can fix it. It’s got a lot of ideas, and it even does some things really well – I enjoyed the experience overall, but there are things that will keep many from getting the most out of it. Honestly, it probably would’ve made for a better short film.
6 out of 10
- Beautiful Art Direction
- Technical Glitches
- Borderline Boring
Mosaic was developed by Krillbite Studio and published by Raw Fury. It is available on Apple Arcade, NS, PC, PS4, and X1. The game was provided to us for review on PS4. If you’d like to see more of Mosaic, check out the game’s official site.
Here at GBG we use a rating method that you are more than likely familiar with – a scale of 1 to 10. For clarification, we intend on using the entire scale: 1-4 is something you should probably avoid paying for; 5-7 is something that is worth playing, but probably not at full price; 8-10 is a great title that you can feel confident about buying. If you have any questions or comments about how we rate a game, please let us know.