Feb 20, 2012

Osmos HD

Osmos HD is one of those hit iPad games that really should have made the leap to Android sooner. It's a game that is different from other games and, as with many of the top mobile games, takes advantage of the platform it's on. You see, I really think one problem some developers have with the mobile, touch screen platform is that they're still thinking like console developers and my advice would be that if one of your game decisions is how to get an on screen DPad going then you may be going down the wrong path. Sure, some games are good enough that we might want them despite being primarily console style games, but in many cases the top mobile games just don't work like that... at least not until the external, USB DPad becomes more standardized and that will only be for tablets / larger mobile devices.

But what about Osmos? The premise of Osmos is that you're a big, ball of matter that wants to put on some weight so you float around the screen absorbing smaller balls of matter and avoiding the larger balls that would have you for lunch. Movement is done by tapping behind your ball and taking advantage of the physics cliche that "objects in motion stay in motion", but movement costs energy so every tap actually reduces the size of your ball by a little bit. But that also means move a lot... lose a lot or perhaps I should say accelerate a lot means lose a lot.

The game, like many premium games, features an excellent tutorial and it guides you into the game at a not too fast, not too slow pace. You'll learn how to move, speed up and slow down the game, access the menu, and so forth with one, two, and three finger salutes and swipes. The game itself is then broken into an arcade based mode and a mission based mode. The arcade mode is a free for all of varying difficulty whereas the mission mode provides different objectives throughout the game play... objectives such as "become big", "gobble up that", or "become the biggest".

qrcodeGraphically, well, there's not too much going on here. It's not that the graphics are poor... it's just a matter of how far one can go when the goal is to create brightly colored balls of matter. The game does color code the balls such that you know red ones are bigger than you, you're a sky blue ball, and other sea blue ones are smaller than you. That's actually pretty important as you don't want to have to rely on a ruler in the midst of game play. The audio, however, is enchanting and beautiful and gives this game that therapeutic feel. This is a game that will lower your blood pressure and yet make you want to keep playing. It's not that intense, kill them all feel that a third person shooter induces in me, but rather that feeling of one with the universe.

You want more? I hate to give away much in the way of spoilers during a review, but an example of things to come as you play this game (as this is early) are green anti-matter balls. Absorb them and you get smaller so they are to be avoided.

Osmos is a different and special game and one I think everyone will appreciate. It's not new to me as I'd been playing it on my iPad on and off for a year or so, but it's great to have it on Android now, too. 5/5 stars for a game that may very well be in my top ten next time around. And if you're not ready to plunk down a couple of bucks for the game right now (it's on sale for $3 as I write this) there is also a demo available in the Market.

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