Accessibility Review – Mosaic

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Mosaic Accessibility

Individual scores

  • Visual Representation of Sound - 0
  • Visual Cues - 8
  • Controller Vibration - 0
  • Visually Engaging - 5
  • Gamepad Controls - 2
  • Remappable Controls - 0
  • Hold/Toggle Options - 0
  • Visual Characteristics - 3
  • Visual Accessibility Features - 0
  • Non Visual Cues - 0
  • Decent Fonts - 2
  • Level of Precision Required - 2

This game was reviewed on Xbox.

Mosaic is a game that wants you to feel like that you don’t matter. You’re just another cog in the system, one of the many sheep, doing the same boring thing day after day. There’s even a minigame that mocks mobile games. It didn’t succeed in making me feel insignificant. It did succeed in making me feel stupid though. My short time spent with Mosaic was an exercise in bad game design, bad UI design, and zero thought given to accessibility. This is all so unfortunate because the game itself is gorgeous with its minimalist, low-poly style, and I really thought it sounded like a good game.

Black screen with very very small text instructions.

Above is your start screen. I started the game sitting two feet from a 43 inch TV and for a good while, I thought the little white line was exactly that, a little white loading bar. After maybe three minutes staring at the screen, I leaned in real close, squinted, and finally read the text. “Press Any Button.”

So I did.

Black screen with very very small text.

And here we are again. This time the microscopic text says, “Please Wait,” which is what I’d been doing, twice now, because this text was obviously only made for literate ants.

Once we finally arrive at the option screen, I was pleasantly surprised to see I could actually, finally, read the text. Unfortunately there are absolutely no accessibility options to be found. No text scaling, no remappable controls. Nothing but the usual volume sliders, language choice, and brightness slider.

Game character floating in water.

Then came the first massive gameplay accessibility issue. The above image is the first things players see upon starting a new game. Without any text instruction or UI on screen, I assumed it was a cinematic. The minimalist design, while I personally love it, does the game no favors when it comes to accessibility. That hexagon in the image? You’ll learn once you’re past this opening bit that it indicates there is an action you can perform. This hexagon is usually paired with text, making this very clear. But not here. Here it just looks like a thing. What is it there to indicate? A ringing phone that you need to tap a button to answer to progress. The phone vibrates audibly but isn’t paired with with controller vibration, so aside from it blinking (which for me, added to the scene feeling cinematic).

UI element indicating the player needs to answer their phone.

Finally some proper instructions! Pick up your phone! So you do.

Text message phone UI.

The text for the messages you’ll get on your phone was surprisingly good sized considering that mess at the beginning, though as always, it should be resizable as not everyone will agree that this is a nice size.

Phone UI with news text.

Unfortunately, the text on every phone app isn’t equally good sized. Here, in your character’s news app, instead of having good sized text and letting players scroll, they made the text tiny to fit all on one screen.

Dark screen with a loading bar that says "booting."

Here’s another big problem in the design. The above image looks like a loading bar, right? It even says booting and has an animation that makes you think it is a loading bar. Except it’s not. It’s a dialogue-like prompt in which you need to push a button to advance. At this point, I thought the game was frozen, so I restarted the game, got to the same point, and the same thing happened. So I rebooted my Xbox, restarted the game, got to the same point, and the same thing happened. I only hit a button in frustration (as one does because hitting buttons when something is frozen helps and you can’t tell me it doesn’t). So it’s only by chance and frustration that I know Mosaic didn’t ship broken, it was just designed so, so badly.

Puzzle minigame with instructions on the right.

The above was my last straw with Mosaic. Not only are the puzzles physically inaccessible, the instructions are vague and misleading and after failing to figure it out a dozen times, I promptly uninstalled the game because I have no interest in playing a game that sets out to make me feel this inept.

Not only do I not recommend this game for a player with any disability, I don’t recommend this game to anyone because it’s simply that terribly designed that it’s nearly unplayable.

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Courtney Craven

Co-founder and EIC of Can I Play That?, captioner of many things, occasional writer of fiction. Any pronouns. courtney@caniplaythat.com

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