We%26rsquo;re typing this while the Osmos soundtrack gently moans from our speakers - a relaxing ambient soundscape that makes us feel like we%26rsquo;re floating. In the game, we really are floating. We%26rsquo;re a spherical microbe, fighting for survival in a gloopy mess of other microbes. All we need to do to win is become the biggest. It%26rsquo;s a simple game mechanic, delivered with the most minimal of control systems: in order to move, you squirt out some of your mass, to send yourself gliding off in the desired direction.
Brushing against a smaller microbe causes you to absorb it and gain mass. But the opposite also applies: if you so much as touch a larger microbe, it will absorb you. And as you don%26rsquo;t have brakes, the only way to avoid collisions is to frantically squirt out more precious mass to reverse your direction.
So there%26rsquo;s a light tactical sheen to this game. Not enough to make you sweat, but enough to give you pause for thought. You have to continually think about how much mass you%26rsquo;re willing to waste to potentially score. It%26rsquo;s entirely possible to be undone by your target microbe absorbing a smaller one while you%26rsquo;re on your way to absorb it. By the time you get there, it could be big enough to eat you. Certain microbes have traits: some might flee from you, while others will be aggressively seeking to become the biggest, just as you are.
It%26rsquo;s a micro-organism eat bacterium world, achingly atmospheric, with the microbes all rendered in neon. Their calming motion and the lovely music, and the easy-to-grasp mechanics, all mark Osmos as another charming indie game for your collection.
Oct 14, 2009