Review – Mosaic

Anyone who has worked in an office job day in and day out can attest to just how boring it can be. The daily grind can wear you down and even getting up in the morning can seem like a chore. There have been plenty of games in the past to touch on the tedious nature of office work, like The Office Quest which looks at it in hilarious and comical way. Then there’s Mosaic from Krillbite Studio and Raw Fury, which takes a much darker approach at looking into the mundane world of big city living.

Our protagonist awakens one morning and starts his day like every other, but right from the start you can feel the weight of the world crushing down on him. He looks outside through a window and briefly transcends into a happier sense of being before his daydreaming is cut short by another reminder to not be late to work. With that, he trudges along through the city streets to get to his office, looking miserable while doing so. Before long, something unusual happens and he starts to see pieces of the world around him in a different light.

Mosaic

These two people in the elevator move away from our protagonist if he glances at them. Subtle things like this add to the social commentary on how uncomfortable with each other we are.

Mosaic is visually very simplistic, with the character models and many of the surrounding environments having a basic and somewhat cartoonish look. The color palette is mostly drab, almost to the point of being monochromatic. However, there are certain things in different areas that he encounters which are displayed in full vibrant color. This is obvious symbolism of finding beauty within a dull world. While a little blatant with its message, I still found these interactions to be quite entertaining.

For the most part, Mosaic is a walking sim, although there are a few puzzles throughout it when he goes into work. Oddly, I found the work-related puzzles to be the more boring aspect of the game, but then again, that’s probably the point. Most of the time you’ll be navigating him around his apartment building, the city streets, as well as his office. There’s no need to deeply explore around the environments; if there’s a point of interest anywhere near you, you’ll see a giant white circle pop up on where to click. Good old walking sim hand holding at its finest!

Mosaic

Music breathes life into the world.

I will admit though, that there were quite a few moments in Mosaic that changed up the formula a bit and showcased some true greatness. For example, early on in the game, our character is glumly walking down the road when he notices a brilliant yellow butterfly across the way. At first I was frustrated that I couldn’t make him move across the street to interact with it. After resigning myself to the fact that it must be a visual piece only, I resumed my forlorn trek to the office. This is when I noticed that I was no longer controlling the protagonist, but the butterfly instead. Hence why I couldn’t make my way across the street. There are few of these gems sprinkled throughout the game and this is where Mosaic shines brightest.

Mosaic

This yellow butterfly leads to one of the most unique moments in the game.

I have to give Krillbite Studios credit though; they at least made a pretty intriguing darkly satirical narrative. It is even more impressive that so much is able to be conveyed without the use of any dialogue. In fact, there’s hardly any musical score either. Once again, this was a design choice to further drive home the feeling of emptiness. Every once in a while when the protagonist finds something out of the ordinary, the music gently enters the scene to enhance the beauty of the moment. These design choices are definitely risky, but I feel were the clever way to go for setting up the tone they are trying to get across.

Mosaic

These billboards are just a sampling of the dark humor in this game.

Mosaic is for the most part, a sharp walking sim with a few puzzles peppered within it. The real driving force here is the narrative. I can see where some people might find this game boring, but the point it makes may resonate deeply with others. Admittedly, it can be a bit ham fisted with its message at times, but the dark humor and satire running throughout it is delightful. It’s not a tough or long game by any means, but if you enjoy games that provide you more with a thought provoking journey rather than relying solely on heart pumping action, then Mosaic might be a worthy experience.

 

Graphics: 7.0

The character models are very basic and somewhat cartoonish. The mostly drab color palette adds to the tone of the game and makes the few colored focal points really standout.

Gameplay: 6.0

Mosaic is mostly a walking sim, but there are a few puzzles when the protagonist is at work. The puzzles are very simplistic and surprisingly, the most boring part of this game.

Sound: 7.0

There is no voice acting at all, although the few ambient sounds like cars driving through the streets are fine enough. The soundtrack is purposely minimalistic and only becomes noticeable during certain key moments.

Fun Factor: 7.5

What Mosaic lacks in gameplay and intriguing puzzles, it makes up with its story and message about finding more to life than being another cog in the machine. By design, it is largely uneventful, but does have a few shining moments.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Mosaic is available now on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Mosaic was provided by the publisher.