When you work retail, fast food, and other similar jobs, there's one thing that continues to make the experience nightmarish. It's not the customers (or "guests", as several places want to say), although they certainly are bad. It's the repetitiveness. Going every day to perform the same tasks over and over and over. Mosaic is a game about someone who's office job's repetitive nature drives them into a depressive state of daydreaming. With lovely visuals and a slight sci-fi leaning, can Mosaic pull something interesting out of the tale?
You play as an unnamed worker for a giant corporation named Mosaic. Every day you trudge your way to work so you can sit at a desk and go through the motions. You have bills to pay but not the money to pay them, no love life to speak of, and the saddest apartment this side of the giant city. Going to work day in and day out begins to take its toll on the main character, and he begins to live through strange visions. With only one week to go before his likely termination, can this unnamed hero pull his life together? Within a chapter, it's pretty obvious where the story is going and what twists it has planned, but Mosaic is fun enough to see play out and it's easy enough to root for the hero.
Enjoy the View
These strange daydreams make up the majority of the gameplay. You're often just moving around, often trying to avoid lines of tranced workers or giant shoes that can squish you like a bug. One segment, styled like a more peaceful Flappy Bird, sees you guiding a butterfly through a construction site. These sections can often be dramatic, and it's pretty fun trying to navigate around the world and dodge something you weren't really thinking about.
However, not all of these segments work the way they need to. One sees your character transform into a cube. They need to awkwardly get through production lines while avoiding other cubes. To do this, you need to adjust the camera to see passages and traverse new areas. However, the awkward camera controls (which require you holding down a button and using the left stick) mean that moving through passages only seems to work occasionally. Ultimately, it leads to frustration throughout the segment, and I'm not sure that's what the developers intended. A later segment, where the main character needs to climb a tower, has the same problem. It's just too easy to find yourself trapped due to a poor camera.
Falling Asleep at the Office
The only real consistent gameplay happens at the end of every in-game morning, where your character gets to work. The game then turns into an RTS-lite minigame where you need to instruct little cubes to climb a corporate ladder while avoiding laws and regulations. Sometimes you'll also have to have your cubes deal battle with resistance, but I'm not quite sure this resistance even fights back. Your goal is to lead them to a central point at the top of each level, fulfilling the demands of your corporate overlords. I like the idea of the minigame, and I understand that it's supposed to be monotonous to reflect the character's working position. Just sometimes it seemed to drag longer than really necessary to get the point across.
As an aside, the entirety of Blip Blop is in Mosaic. It is still an extremely addicting, if overly simple, clicker game. It's tied to your in-game phone, so you can still use it while moving around or other events play out. It's a surprisingly cool little detail, as watching your character play Blip Blop while on a train or an elevator, as a way to avoid talking to other people, is shockingly accurate and super hilarious. Plus, Blip Blop just rules.
If you manage to put your phone down once in a while, you'll be treated to Mosaic's occasionally jaw-dropping views. The game has a fantastic visual style, and the city displayed can be both beautiful and horrible at the same time. Giant panning shots can get you to stop and inspect all the little details of the city, even if it's something awful like a homeless population or a giant traffic jam. I also came to love how low-poly the character models looked, making them feel just like they're as disconnected from the world as the main protagonist feels.
Mosaic Review | Final Thoughts
While Mosaic certainly has some issues in telling its tale, I still had an enjoyable time with it. The main character's daydreaming leads to some fun and striking situations if you don't mind the occasional frustrating stinker. The story may be kind of generic, but watching it all play out still leads to some lovely visuals and great moments. It has Blip Blop, which I still unironically love and enjoy. If this is the kind of story that appeals to you, Mosaic will surely be right up your alley. If not, the game is still worth a try and may just become something worth remembering.
TechRaptor reviewed Mosaic on PC using a copy provided by GOG. The game is also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and iOS devices via Apple Arcade.
- Fun Daydream Segments
- Amazing Visuals
- Blip Blop
- Generic Story
- Occasionally Frustrating
- RTS Segments Drag