Krillbite Studio, developer of the creepy Among the Sleep have released Mosaic, a dark and surreal adventure game about life in a cold overpopulated and ever-expanding city. Note: Key provided to us by GOG.com.
I was a big fan of Among the Sleep, the story telling and the atmosphere they made with it was brilliant and to this day the ending still makes me think. With Mosaic, they've done quite the opposite in terms of the story. Life is hard, it can often be quite dull and Mosaic is showing it all off with a dystopian near-future setting. This is a game about adult life, how it's often monotonous as we go through it just trying to survive. Things get a little weird though, as you expected it to with such a game.
The starting scene certainly described me accurately a few years ago, feeling forced to physically pull myself up and out of bed. Slap myself in the face and quickly make the alarm on my phone go away, to then stare blankly in a mirror as I fix up my tie.
Some jobs really can make you feel worthless and that's basically what Krillbite Studio have gone for here, a game to make you think about working life somehow. Are Krillbite trying to say that's where the world is going? We're all just turning into drones? That's pretty much how Mosaic feels when you play it.
It's a point and click adventure game, where you click and drag your dreary character around, possibly pull out your phone and play the pointless tapping game to just do—something. You can also get a handy Bank app on your phone to remind you how poor you are and a dating app, to show off how many dislikes you get. There's even a basic joke about cryptocurrency, with their own "blipcoin", a currency that's apparently "so smart, you'd be stupid not to invest". Jokes on me, I lost all my money on blipcoin.
To be a bit blunt about it, there's not a whole lot to the gameplay. Point and click adventure in basic mechanics, glum (and at times mechanically annoying with bad camera angles) walking sim for the majority of it. There's very few interactions, no real narrative to speak of apart from the magical fish you can put in your pocket or flush away (I did say it got weird).
While at work, your job seems to be some sort of strange mini-game where you collect a basic resource and build up towards a tower and that's about it. Once you've built up and reached your goal, your work is done. Dull, seems pointless and exactly how I'm sure many people feel about their own jobs when working for larger companies.
Visually, Mosaic is incredibly bland. That's part of the point though, it's to bring attention to the moments you find where you see some beauty in life. Like the sun shining, a colourful butterfly, a squirrel running along and more. These moments are few and far between though, most of it is you trying to navigate the dull concrete jungle you live in.
Even with the insipid colour scheme they went for, there's quite a few scenes that really do manage to stand out. Not because something big happened, but what the scene itself represents and how Krillbite Studio designed it to make you think. The shot below, for example, really made me sit and think and there's a few times like this where the visuals are actually gorgeous.
This might be the most conflicted I've been about a game for a while. I don't honestly know what to really think about what I played. Mosaic was a bit too slow, slightly depressing and yet also a very thought-provoking adventure that's quite short overall at about 3-4 hours tops.
Memorable though in a way, a reminder that we can be a lot more than we are and perhaps we should try to reach out to others. Put the phone down more often, strike a conversation maybe. I don't really know in all honesty, Mosaic was a strange experience.