Become more than just a small cog in a big machine in this surreal dystopian title
“Mosaic seems like a wellobserved commentary on how we live our lives”
PublisheR Raw Fury Developer Krillbite Format Xbox One ETA Summer 2019
We’ve all experienced the monotony of everyday life and the dispiriting daily commute, and think little of it. But every now and then you’ll take a step back and see what a strange and lonely ritual it really is. Despite so many of us undertaking it together it’s an isolated experience. The advent of the internet and smart phones would have people believe that humanity is more connected than ever before but in reality we’re more detached from each other. It’s a testament then to Krillbite, developers of Among The Sleep, that they’ve somehow managed to transform this disheartening experience into a compelling narrative game.
You play a lone office worker in a dark, grey, dystopian city almost completely devoid of colour where every day of your life plays out in the same way. But what happens if you break out of that pattern? Krillbite’s CEO Jon Cato Lorentzen demonstrates this during our hands-off demo. Our character leaves his apartment and sees everyone moving in the same direction heading to work. Instead of joining them we go in the opposite direction. As you continue down this new path your environment begins to change. A bright blue sky leads to a small patch of nature with green grass and a healthy-looking tree. You spot a cat stuck on one of the higher branches and holding out your arms you help it down. You stand there for a moment stroking the cat, which it seems to enjoy very much, but after a while your slice of bliss is interrupted by your employer who happens to have placed a tracking device on your phone and ominously warns you that if you don’t head in the right direction now you’ll be late for work. So you let the cat go and head to work. Doing something different and breaking out of the system is what Mosaic is all about and these rewarding moments encourage you to do just that.
Your phone does more than just interrupt periods of joy, it can also be used to check news which adds more narrative layers. It even contains a game called Blip Blop. As you play the world carries on behind it, but over time the audio becomes muted and the background blurs. In the full game you’ll be allowed to make in-app purchases using the characters’ wages and it’s entirely possible to spend all your money on it, but this will cause further problems. For example, you won’t be able to buy a subway ticket in order to get to work, which will of course have a knock-on effect.
Although apparently sporadic the music will play an important role where it’ll juxtapose with what’s happening in the world. Among the composers, of which there are three, is famed Norwegian jazz musician and tenor Håkon Kornstad who composed some original music for the game.
It’s a challenge to make a game about the mundane, and one way in which Krillbite do this is to add surreal elements. The main character has dreams and nightmares and the things that are happening in real life start to blur together with things that aren’t real. At one point the main character imagines himself to be a yellow butterfly and navigates a hazardous obstacle course.
Mosaic seems like a well-observed commentary on how we live our lives and in so many small and seemingly insignificant ways it tells us that the way we’re living isn’t healthy and maybe even counterintuitive to our nature. This is one title we’re keeping an eye on.