Mosaique – What We Think:
In Mosaique, you maneuver a colored cube, as a reticle around an aggregation of multicolored squares, with the aspiration to knock out as many similarly colored cube combos as possible. The combos must be the same color as yours, lest you swap with the one with which you collide.
The reticle is moved around the perimeter of the Portrait-mode-only playfield with simple left and right buttons placed just below and on either side of the center button used to fire.
Fit To Be Tiled
Though it is apparently simple, several features make it decidedly more complex: a countdown timer keeps you increasingly on your feet, and is buoyed only by collapsing the largest number of similarly colored cubes at once as possible. Black cubes can not be absorbed and may block your ability to land a combo, and rainbow cubes will arbitrarily modify your current color.
Whereas you can start off winging it, Mosaique will scale in difficulty quite quickly and you will have to start strategizing well in advance of each time-sucking move you make. It is the gradient in difficulty, however, that may lose all but the most stubborn. Charging up your power meter to 100% allows you temporarily to destroy blocks of any color, however, It would be nice to see some more powerups introduced, perhaps some sort of combo or special cube that gives you a momentary speed up, or that can destroy obstacle blocks, or all blocks of a given color, etc.
An interesting little addition is the challenge to complete a full set of puzzles for every day of a week. Doing so will unlock a set of tiles with some extra visual features.
I absolutely love Alex May‘s Jean Michel Jarre/Klause Schulze-inspired score that sets a pensive, yet expansive tone for the matter at hand. At times it sounds like Blade Runner or even Tubular Bells, and others it evoked the score for The Neverending Story.
Fortunately, a professionally mastered version of the 10 minute track that comprises the complete score is available at Bandcamp and iTunes.
The sound design is also well done, presenting a satisfying squishy bloop when cubes collide, which reinforces their slightly rubbery appearance. They could have gone with a clinking sound or woodblock, but the choice helps the concept of absorptive materials in play.
The bold, oversized, but very clean UI is a joy to interact with, with clean white elements that feature soft rounded curves and looks it might have been stolen from the Space Station in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Heart Shaped Box
Mosaique’s nicely polished mechanic becomes a paradoxical matter of laidback sharp focus as you attend to the randomly generated puzzles presented to you. Though there are many game that one could compare it to – Arkanoid, Tetris, Tempest, Cubetractor, and countless match three type games, it relies on few gimmicks, but algorithmically-generated tile layouts keeps it fresh. In fact, in spite of my comments about possible powerups, I like it’s simplicity.
An excellent title, highly recommended for the casual gamer looking for a quick pick-up-and-play challenge and mercifully, sans any IAPs.
This review is based on gameplay on an iPad Mini.