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Now Playing: Osmos

Osmos is an interesting game. You play as a small sphere that propels itself by ejecting a little of its mass in the opposite direction of the one you want it to go. The basics are simple, small motes are absorbed by you, and bigger motes will absorb you instead. Because propelling yourself reduces your size, you have to be careful not to overextend yourself and wind up devoured. Combined with a subtle ambient soundtrack, the game can be pretty relaxing to play.

There are three main brances of the game:

– Ambient levels are usually the most sedate, and are made up of normal motes and antimatter motes. Antimatter motes absorb other antimatter like normal, but when they collide with normal motes both are reduced leaving only the remainder of the biggest mote behind.

– Sentient levels focus on motes that move on their own. Some will only run away from you, while others will try to eat you if they have the advantage. The extra motion and race for food makes these level significantly more frantic that the others.

– Force levels add two new motes, the repulser (pushes other motes away) and the attractor (pulls motes towards it, can absorb motes bigger than itself). Many force levels start with you orbiting a large attractor, forcing you to mind your velocity lest you be pulled into the “sun”. Helpfully, the game allows you to see a projection of your current orbit which turns red if you are headed towards danger. I found the force levels to be the hardest of the three, but also the most enjoyable.

In all levels after the tutorial, you are allowed to slow down or speed up time. This is great for situations that require split second timing or for shortening the wait for your mote to make its way around a long orbit. Also, if you feel that a certain level is impossible, you can randomize the starting positions and hopefully improve your odds. This also adds to the replay value, keeping levels from being the exact same set of steps every time.

Overall, I would highly recommend the game. It’s simple, deep, and relaxing. There is a sizable demo and a trailer on the main site here.

Osmos is available on PC for $10. I bought it on Steam. It’s also available from Direct2Drive and the Hemisphere Games site.

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