Developed by: Hemisphere Games
Published by: Hemisphere Games
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, OnLive, iOS, Android
Feeling like: I wish I was smarter
I am terrible at puzzle games. You would think after playing them for over 25 years that any measurable ability would have revealed itself by now. Alas, when it comes to a game like Osmos, you’d be better off handing the controls to ANYBODY else.
Unfortunately, anybody else isn’t around. Fortunately for me, it doesn’t matter. Osmos is a small, quiet friend with an idea grounded in reality and a stylish presentation sprinkled on top. It’s worth my time, but not much more than a few hours.
Some would see that as a backhanded compliment, but the game doesn’t lend itself to tens of hours of play and the smarties at Hemisphere Games know this. There’s a few modes, but most are a slight variety on the fundamentals. Easy to learn, hard to master; always a good thing to describe a game as.
You play as the titular …blob? Is your name Osmos? Eh, not that kind of game anyway. You are a molecule floating in a sea of space and your job is to absorb smaller molecules by running into them. Bigger ones will kill you if they run into you.
There are a few hooks, of course. Accelerating or changing direction will make your moleblob lose mass. For somebody who likes to jet around the universe like I’ve got caffeine in my blood, this is a big ask.
To succeed, you have to plan. Plan your route, foresee which blobs will cause you panic, and avoid them at all costs. Sounds easy enough, but remember – hard to master. Osmos-ing little blobules is somehow satisfying and confronting enemy circular thingies that you think are bigger than you, but you’re not sure, but they might be and oh it’s not worth the risk, I think I’ll go over to those groups of small blobs which have since been osmo-sized by a gigantic blob and how the hell do I get out of here?? is well worth the price of admission. Which, by the way, is closer to a tiny bloblet rather than a pricey triple A blockbuster blob-mammoth.
You could be like me and give up after only a few hours. The soundtrack is truly mesmerizing and it fits perfectly. It soothes and amps you up. It’s welcoming and encouraging. Think the Tron: Legacy in a library. I still listen to it. It’s one of the reasons Osmos stays on my mind, and on this list. Those that master all the modes will reach a certain zen and continue playing out of the sheer enjoyment. I preferred to be a tourist.
This is the kind of game where you play for a few minutes and feel fulfilled. That’s quite hard to do; I’m glad Osmos found me. It’s one of those puzzle games that insults my intelligence by being smarter than me, but isn’t quite so mean about it.