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Osmos review

Indie ambient puzzle game will make you very sleepy

For

  • Simple
  • fun controls
  • Achingly atmospheric
  • Risk/reward elements add strategy

Against

  • No brakes on your "ship"
  • Could put you to sleep
  • Will only entertain for so long

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

More Info

GenreOther Games/Compilations
Description<p>A mix of Geometry Wars and Pac-Man, you eject matter out of an organism to get it in range of consuming another being. It's got a rewarding amount of strategy and a relaxing vibe to make this a game worth downloading.</p>
PlatformPC
US censor ratingEveryone
UK censor rating3+
Release date:18 August 2009 (US), 18 August 2009 (UK)
Available platforms:PC
Genre:Other Games/Compilations
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