Mosaic is a game where you can’t find anything to eat in the fridge, you can’t afford to pay your bills, and there’s nothing good on TV. It’s also a game where you need to decide whether to flush the talking goldfish that magically appeared in your sink or bring it to work with you. That’s the main takeaway I got from the 40-odd minute demo I played ahead of Mosaic’s yet-to-be-determined release date.
The vibe of Krillbite’s latest adventure is that of your absolute worst day turned up to eleven. The environment is cold and empty, the characters are expressionless, your job is crappy, and your company regularly sends you stats on how badly you’re performing compared to your colleagues. No one will make eye contact with you in the elevator and there’s nothing about you or your life that appears to set you apart from anybody else in your corporate dystopia.
You begin the game underwater, surfacing from a dream-like world into your sterile, drab apartment. You have three texts on your phone when you wake up–your loving mom asking if you’re coming home for your dad’s birthday, a friend cutting you off because of your lack of effort in the friendship, and a stupid mobile game that serves as a perfect microcosm for the rest of your life; infinitely repeating a dull and seemingly pointless task in order to do more of said task for no real reward. The act of playing the game, entitled Blip Blop, is a relatable parallel for your character, an average commuter unsatisfied with his job which entails crossing off gibberish milestones through repetitive tasks in order to feed some ominous and ambiguous larger scheme.
There’s a palpable sense of loneliness, isolation, and despondency. But it’s this tone that makes you curious enough to act out, since to stick to the status quo would be, quite frankly, depressing. There’s no other incentive to do so, and, as with the real world, it’s easy to turn right when you hit the sidewalk and follow the expressionless parade of workers down the big grey street past the big grey cars to your big grey building to do your stunningly dull grey work tasks. But what if you went left? What if instead of walking toward the elevator when leaving your apartment, you walked toward the window to take a look outside? It’s in these entirely optional moments that Mosaic shines. Literally shines.
Peering out the window invites a saturated rainbow to weave above your head and clicking on it when it appears makes all sorts of things happen, from being enveloped by an imagined sunset to saving a cat from a tree and having it purr with gratitude in your arms. These moments are easy enough to miss, but finding one makes you yearn for more as it’s the singular escape from your otherwise bleak reality. Perhaps Krillbite is sending a larger message here, or perhaps the heights of luminosity are being used to contrast just how dark the underbelly of Mosaic’s dystopia gets. There are glimpses of this darkness through cryptic static and coded messages that invade your screen, but unraveling the mysteries of what, why, and how will presumably only become clearer when the full game arrives.
Our experience so far insinuated that the path to your everyday grind is paved with nothing out of the ordinary, but the road less traveled. The possibilities of what could be waiting in that direction are something else entirely, and Mosaic expects you to discover them.