Life can be boring, monotonous, and oppressive. Exhausted after finishing a game, the minds behind Krillbite Studio, an independent gaming team in Norway, started to play with the very concept of burnout. What do you do when all the color seems to have been drained out of your life? How do you find a way to stand out, a reason to continue on, when you seem to be just another faceless shape in a crowd? The answer was their newest title: Mosaic.
Mosaic is a visually stunning narrative game where you navigate the daily routine of a businessman. From checking your email, reading the news, playing BlipBlop on your phone (yes, the dev team actually made a real version of the cellphone game you play inside Mosaic), to managing time while at work, life doesn’t seem all that interesting, colorful, or inspiring. Even the very act of sitting up when the game begins is hard. The animation is so expressive that you can feel the weight of the character as he slowly pulls himself up and out of bed. The world wants you to hurry along. Go right to work. Don’t be late. But if you take a minute to explore, you just might find something magical.
“Go right” to work is a very specifically chosen phrase; the entire world of Mosaic is trying to push you to the right. Just go right. Go right to work. Right where you’re going. But if you don’t listen to that, if you dare to go left every once in a while, small wonders await. Golden sunrises, an orange cat in a tree, butterflies fluttering their way across a construction site; they’re not anything miraculous, but they allow the character’s mind to wander, to dare to dream, to find a splash of color in an otherwise monochrome existence.
Of course, you can also do the opposite and simply slog your way through the day. You can use your phone while walking, though the character becomes a good bit more clumsy. Ignore the world of your commute as you read an endless feed of news articles, or obsessively up your BlipBlop score, it’s up to you.
Mosaic is as depressing as it is beautiful, and I walked away sincerely hoping that the game somehow finds a way to craft a happy ending, because I’m not sure I can handle having the game end and being forced to simply leave this character trapped in his monotonous routine. It’s an artful and creative way to look at depression, and I found myself reflecting back on darker times in my life and recalling the little moments which saw me through to brighter days.
Mosaic will be coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and is projected to release in 2019, but does not have a confirmed release date. You can learn more about Mosaic and watch the trailer at the Mosaic website, wishlist it on Steam, and be sure to get your BlipBlop on; it’s available for free on both Google Play and iOS! Be sure to check out the rest of our E3 coverage for more of our favorite indie titles, hands-on gameplay, and interviews from the convention floor.