Osmos is, as Phill recently told me, a really awesome late night game. This is perhaps one of the most relaxing games I have played for a long time, I must admit it makes for a nice change of pace. It is telling that the developers, Hemisphere Games say “relax…good things come to those who wait.” This sums up Osmos completely, a perfect game to take your time with. You see, you are a mote, I’m not sure what a mote is exactly, but that is beside the point, you control an organism which can only move by ejecting some of its own being which makes you smaller. You are able to absorb other motes which are small or a similar size to yours which creates a delicate balancing act between moving towards a mote you want to absorb and not expending enough of your mass to find yourself being the one absorbed.
Of course not all motes will sit by idly and let you absorb them, some are intelligent and will move away from you to save themselves, something which the Biophobe just did to me. You can find yourself duelling with the sentient motes as you battle each other to absorb the smaller ones which just float idly in the world you occupy. What is great is the use of colour with the motes, you can tell when a mote is ready for you to absorb as it turns blue (Chris is colourblind so the colours are likely to be wrong – Ed) while the motes which have an eery red glow are to be avoided at all costs. It really is a beautiful game, you could sit and watch it for hours lost in the variety of things that can occur, the music as well is perfect. The soundtrack contains soft ambient music which sits well with the relaxed mood of the game, they really do go hand in hand. If you check out the Steam page for the game check out the system requirement for sound, a little touch but one that shows the class of the game and the developers.
You have three different game modes to play around with, Sentient which features things like the Biophobe where you must absorb the other sentient being. Force Ascension seems your mote orbiting what seems to be the sun, you have to become the biggest mote travelling around the star, you are able to change your orbit simply by moving your mote, be warned that if you travel out of the orbit you are likely to have a hard time avoiding falling out of the galaxy and coming across a ‘Lifeform Terminated’ message. The final game mode is Ambient, you just set out to become the largest mote in your zone without any pesky stars or sentient motes interfering in your plans. This is the one you will want to play late at night just to unwind and become the biggest mote in the yard.
As you progress through the multitudinous levels you will notice that they start to break off from their core gameplay style, thus you get levels such as F3A. There are 47 levels to get through and they will take a while, they become quite challenging as you progress, but they never become so tough you won’t be able to complete them. You have a little help in this aspect, if you start a level where you find yourself at an immediate disadvantage you just just hit Alt+Z to restart the level with a randomised starting layout. Another helping hand comes with the time control, you can easily speed up or slow down time in the game to aid your journey. If your orbit around the attractor in the Force levels is taking too long you can just speed up time, likewise if you want to catch a fast moving mote slow time down to catch up with it. It is a great little tool to help you out in the game.
What more can I say about this gem of a game? It was nominated for several IGF awards and won the D2D Vision Award and was named in the Pax 10. Achievements that are truly deserved of such an outstanding game. At only $10 direct from the developers you can’t go wrong. This is a game which shows how strong the indie games scene is on the PC right now. Buy it and enjoy it.