It’s a nice change of pace to be able to review a smaller, more bit size game for once. Thankfully, Osmos turns out to be just the right palette wash that it has become my go to game when I have 15 minutes to kill. Osmos is one of those new fangled Zen games, which means half the experience is zoning out…. or is it in? Whatever the case may be, Osmos will have you entranced for hours on end and leave you feeling calm and relaxed.
Part of the formula that makes Osmos such a successful title is the sensory experience that you obtain by playing. The game’s electro like lullaby music and bright yet flowing visuals will ensnare your attention, and once it’s done that the best way for it to keep it there is to toss you into one of the many challenges the game has set up for you.
The basic concept of Osmos is simple, you as an orb of bio-light, must try to consume smaller bio-lights, in the hopes of becoming the biggest. There is a catch though! To propel your spherical self, you have to shoot out little pieces of body, each shot will allow you to move faster and faster in a single direction, but in return, you lose the mass that you expel out and you shrink as a result. This is the real ace in the hole for the game, because it pushes the title away from being a flOw rip-off, and instead makes it a unique puzzler.
Once you get past the tutorial levels you are given the option of three paths. Each path unlocks what I like to refer to as a group of “themed” levels. The goal is the same in all of them, become the largest, or reach a certain size. However each of the themes have a certain opposing force you must deal with. The first and by far my favourite out of the three is the gravitational orbs. The easiest way for me to explain what these level are like is to ask you to picture a solar system. The gravitational orbs act like suns, sometimes it’s just one giant orb forcing you to push yourself out of its orbit, to consume other spheres before the gravitational orb sucks you in. Other times you will face off against three little ones that are competing against you to become the biggest and as they get bigger they can suck in larger quantities of smaller orbs.
The second themed set of levels is all about competing against another bio-light. These villainous bio-lights all have different traits to them, like they will run away from you, and the only way to catch them is to get big enough, or they move and grow faster than you, so if you’re not quick enough the other bio-light will end up being so huge it takes over half the screen. The great thing about these levels is you actually begin to loath and see these other bio-orbs as your rival and you feel such a sense of accomplishment when you corner them and gobble them up.
The final playground that you can choose from is a lot more about pure puzzle solving. It focuses on setting up obstacles that turn what would be a simple level into a real head scratcher. One that had me scratching my head for a long time has you stuck in-between 4 massive orbs, and the ones you can consume are on the outside, and the level forces you to figure out how to get out of the middle so you can merge with the smaller ones.
Osmos is very capable of putting you in a trance like state with its hypnotic music, visuals, and it’s addictive gameplay. The best compliment I can give this game is that I play it 6 or 7 times a day because it works so well as either something bite size to play right before I go to sleep, or something I can easily just drop an afternoon in, without the pressure or frustration that accompanies the other titles that I routinely play. If you have a PC with a working internet connection and are looking for a game you can fall back on for any number of reasons Osmos is a must.