Much like with its previous title, Among the Sleep, developer Krillbite seems to have bitten off more than it can chew. Mosaic is an intriguing title with exciting ideas. Unfortunately, the ideas simply outpace the resources that the developer has available to realise them. But it’s not for lack of trying. Mosaic’s dystopian future almost nails it. Almost.
The big star of the game is by far the art direction. Shot composition and the general design of the world are breathtaking, and are practically worth the price of entry on their own. You play as a nameless cog in a machine, working for a mega corporation, but play is a slight exaggeration. Gameplay consists of an underwhelming mix of light puzzles at your office job as you use a computer program to “reach nodes”, and very light environmental puzzles, none of which are terribly exciting. There are a handful of messages the game tries to convey amidst its admittedly beautiful dystopian environments, but none of it really feels fresh. There are vague, half-hearted attempts to imply deeper meaning, but ultimately everything winds up feeling surface level. The title is basically an exercise in showing how draining monotony can be. We were waiting for the title to take that next step, and it never really does.
The most successful point the game hammers home is the manner in which smart phones have ingrained themselves into society. You spend huge swathes of the game moving around reading texts or playing a clicker game – which is very cleverly exclusively what Mosaic’s Trophies are tied to – failing to notice your surroundings. The items you can interact don’t show up while you’re on your phone either, which adds to the message being conveyed; if you keep your face buried in your phone, you’re going to miss things.
Ultimately, the biggest problem is the technical hitches. During the game's two hours, we experienced two hard crashes, and the framerate was almost never stable. Despite such a short run time, this made the experience feel much longer than it should have.