Have you ever made a mosaic? It's a messy business. Cutting all those tiles and then sticking them down to make a picture. I don't know how people do it. I have a friend who makes the most incredible mosaics, and they take her weeks, probably months. It's like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Except no one packs up a mosaic and ships it to you in a box for you to put together, because that would be ridiculous!
Potential business venture aside (let me know if you want in) there is now a game about exactly this: putting together mosaics. You can either refer to a picture of what it's supposed to look like while piecing it together, or you can feel your way blindly through it. It's up to you and your difficulty setting. The game is called Mosaic Chronicles and it has just come out in Early Access on Steam. I'm engrossed.
Mosaic Chronicles is calming in the way jigsaw puzzles are. Only here, the pieces are less telegraphed. There are fewer obvious edges, and more curves and squiggly sides (that's probably a technical mosaicing term), which makes the image you're putting together feel more organic as a result. It helps that the pictures themselves have a swirly kind of way about them anyway, all of which underscores the fantasy setting of the game.
It's a game with a story too. It's story-driven, according to the game's blurb, although I'm only a few mosaics in and haven't the foggiest idea about what's going on, besides me being some kind of weedy knight on an adventure. There's a bit of writing before each puzzle to read and that seems to be about it. Still, it's a nice wrapping for the puzzles.
And the puzzles themselves, the mosaics, are pleasing to put together. They're nice to look at, and seeing them emerge from an almost overwhelming nothing is endlessly satisfying. And the more you play, the more you recognise patterns in things, and the quicker you'll be.
It sounds so simple doesn't it? It is. But it works.