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a game by Hemisphere Games, Inc.
Platform: PC
User Rating: 9.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Puzzle Games, Arcade Games, Games Like Spore

In Osmos You control a mote, a tiny microbe whose sole ability, besides absorbing its peers, is to eject part of itself in one direction in order to move in the other. Smaller, absorbable motes are blue while the larger motes are a fiery red. Absorb a mote and its mass is added to yours turning red motes to a vulnerable blue hue, but to move at all you must propel yourself by expelling mass in the opposite direction.

You might, for example, poop out a few smaller motes to your left to move yourself towards and collect a blue mote to your right, but in doing so, you could lose just enough mass that the mote you're trying to collect becomes larger than you. In a panic you fire off mass to your right to reverse your direction. The other mote happily collects your ejaculated mass and becomes even larger, while you shrivel away having wasted your mass in pointless movements, a panicking and dejected dust particle. The other motes simply float about the game's zone guided by their own momentum, waiting to be absorbed, or happening to collide with and absorb one another, growing larger through inaction. Later levels introduce intelligent motes and special ones that attract or deflect mass. The attractor levels in particular have exciting setups, in which you're effectively launching yourself through solar systems of motes along projected paths with orbiting planets and moons to negotiate.

Al-controlled motes, as long as you're larger than them, can be chased, forcing them to jettison blobs of themselves as they bolt away from you. Anti-matter motes can turn regular motes into nothing, and so carefully nudging the level's largest competitors into equally sized anti-matter motes reduces them both to manageable sizes. You can even speed up and slow down time, for convenience and control.

Osmos is clever, fun and challenging, though often it reaches the point of seething frustration when it demands precision. Some levels require a slow, cautious, perfect and, by the third time you attempt it, tedious approach, and it's incredibly difficult to recover from your mistakes.

Simple ideas are the best, and Osmos does well to allow its complexity to arise from a small set of rules and ideas. It's flOw with a goal, and Spore's cellstage with fewer. And that's it. Osmos is a relaxing, addictive and intuitive action-puzzler about microscopic goings-on. Any further analysis would probably rob it of its charm.

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System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

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