STAFF REVIEW of Mosaic, The (Xbox One)

Sunday, February 9, 2020.
by Kirsten Naughton

Mosaic, The Box art I have to be honest; I wasn't expecting a whole lot when I started playing The Mosaic. I figured it was going to be like 'Little Nightmares' or 'Inside'. I wasn't expecting Krillbite Studios to make a game that had an impact on me personally. Not very many video games can impact me to the point where I have to reflect and really think, and they also don't usually bring with it the reality that I wasn't expecting to face while sitting on my bed at 8:00 PM at night.

As soon as you start playing you'll notice there's not much colour. There are some scenes of colour, and the fish and butterfly are vivid which I loved to see, but it has a very monochromatic tone overall. The environment in The Mosaic gives you the impression that life for this guy you're playing is depressing, sad and potentially heartbreaking. You find out from reading some text messages that he hasn't reached out to friends that have texted him, and that work keeps informing him that if he misses work he'll get his salary cut along with termination if he's late more than five times. I noticed right away that the guy you are playing doesn't have a name, nor have a voice, and all you can see of any form of identification is what I think is an employee number.

You'll wake up as your guy in his bed sleeping. Your phone goes off and you'll have to get out of bed. You have two options here. Option One is to play the game “Blip Blop” and Option Two is to commute and attend work. I'll talk about Blip Blop in a bit, I promise! The Mosaic's environment gives you an opportunity to walk around a very linear area, possibly a street in the city/town you live in. As you walk around, a gate could open, you could meet a musician playing his instrument in the park, you could save a helpless animal or you could keep walking and follow through until you get to work.

I don't know what you do for work, but your guy doesn't have an official title. He goes to some building, goes into a big room, logs into what seems to be a computer and selects a milestone to work on. These 'Milestones' must be met, and the way you complete these milestones are you must create little hexagon boxes with your resources (little squares that travel to and from the different hexagons). The goal of the 'milestones' puzzle is you have to get your hexagons all the way up to the “Milestone” for the completion. This can be a challenge, and I have to admit, it's quite frustrating until you figure out how to get to the milestone. At first, your milestone starts pretty basic, after a bit though you'll end up with a big red blob that will wreak havoc on your hexagon path for your resources. I didn't find out until about three or four milestone puzzles that you have to isolate the red blob. Which, I'm not going to lie, would have been nice to know through a mini tutorial. You get told what to do, but not exactly how to complete said task. You pretty much have to figure it out on your own. Hey, at least this is the most complicated out of the two main activities you'll be doing while in the world of Mosaic.

As I described the “Milestone” puzzle as being the most complicated, Blip Blop is quite easily the easiest part of Mosaic, besides the exploring your environment you've been put into. Blip Blop, for anyone who doesn't have a state of the art smartphone, is like 'Cookie Clicker', but ditch the cookie and you have blops instead. You have a few functions within Blip Blop. Your store, the main 'clicking' function and the “storage” box. The 'clicking' function is basically where you spam the A button to collect blops. Collect enough blops and you can spend them in the store. There are three things you can spend your blops on; your blops multiplier, a storage expansion for your storage box and your Score Level which basically levels up the amount of Autoblop you get. Autoblop is the amount of blop that gets added automatically to your storage box. Blip Blop seems to be quite a time killer honestly. To test out a curiosity of mine, I played Blip Blop for probably two hours straight when I awoke. I figured work would start messaging me that I was late or that I'd have some sort of repercussion on my part, but to my surprise, I was allowed to keep playing. Which, as an avid Candy Crush player, is fine. I'm used to grinding level after level, but it made me think a little differently upon the purpose The Mosaic was wanting to portray. I'll explain in a little bit, promise.

As The Mosaic is quite clearly a great work of art from the graphics and simplicity, that great work doesn't come without some weird glitches and UI issues. For one, as you're walking around any area of the environment, things can get quite choppy, especially if there's a lot going on. I found this not to be a dealbreaker, but somewhat concerning as the design doesn't seem very complex. Another fairly annoying glitch that I found was while playing Blip Blop. I would be collecting my blops, and all of a sudden, I'd have enough to redeem the blip multiplier. It repeatedly didn't process within the game that I had obtained enough blops though. It only happened with the blop multiplier. Again, not a dealbreaker, but a tad irritating. On the topic of Blip Blops, some of my achievements didn't populate within my Xbox account for whatever reason. I spent more than 100K Blops within a minute and I most definitely had my storage box full for much longer than 10 minutes. I don't expect a video game to be perfect, but when I'm so immersed within the environment and the activities, I would prefer that they work seamlessly.

After I played The Mosaic through, I reflected a little differently on this experience versus many others while reviewing. I identified strongly with the character. I've been in the very same situation he's been in; I've worked a job I've disliked just because I had to pay bills and rent. I figured that I was stuck and that there was no way out. It's the whole adult thing. You get up, go to work, come home, sleep. Rinse and repeat until the weekend. It's hard to keep upbeat and positive while you feel your life is just passing you by. But, I feel the fish you meet early on has a good point in mentioning that you should look at things from a different perspective and that you're missing out on what life truly has to offer. I feel like many of us, myself included, take our day to day for granted and we don't realize how lucky we truly are until it's too late. But, The Mosaic I think is trying to portray that it's not too late and it'll be okay. That speaks volumes to me as someone who battles with her mind all day long.

I was playing Blip Blop and instantly got hooked because it's the kind of game I like. It's mindless, not difficult and I get to level up. It's perfect for me. But then I'd play the day to day of the guy and it hit me when I went back to playing Blip Blop that it's not really doing him any good to be standing playing on his phone for hours (I literally played for hours). I could be exploring my city, learning a little more and enjoying myself. Being hooked to a cell phone hours and hours out of the day doesn't really do anyone any good. You don't accomplish anything, and maybe it's not what Krillbite Studios had in mind, but it's my interpretation of Blip Blop.

The Mosaic means to me that you can paint your own picture based on what you choose. If you choose to stay in your bubble, not taking chances or try anything new, you'll never grow and you'll stay miserable. If you choose to embrace what's around you, a whole other world opens up. With the glitches, UI issues and visuals aside, Krillbite Studios did well. The Mosaic is easily a game you need to try out and experience. As much as I want to keep playing Blip Blop, there's a whole world out there. Time to put the phone away for a while and do something different for a change.

Overall: 6.8 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 5.5 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10


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