This was my entry into the Escapist Indie Game Review Tournament. If you can't tell this review is supposed to be taken lighthearted and for fun. I didn't honestly think it had a chance at winning, but threw it in the contest to hopefully make someones day just a bit brighter. So without further ado:
Though I could have sworn I removed the third picture when I entered it.
Developer: Hemisphere games
Writer Karl Motes; Father of Motemunism
Today I came to a shocking realization; life is nothing but an extremely long version game of Fishy. Since I was a small mote, I wandered aimlessly for hours, avoiding the bigger motes, and just living in the small sheltered world that was my mind. There was nothing to do really. There was no dragon to slay, no prophecy to fulfill, not even a spicy night-elf wench to... Well you get the idea.
The saying "eat or be eaten" is the most accurate definition of our times. History is essentially made up of class struggles; from the slavemote rebellions to the freemotes, the plebian motes of the patrician motes, and the serf motes of the lord motes. Today dear brother, we are on the brink of the inevitable historical process culminating ultimately in the rise of one working class mote. Brother mote, now is our time!
Religion is the sigh of the oppressed mote, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. They would have us believe, that their maker, Hemisphere games, would see us all equality in it's eyes. Why then, I query, are some motes born bigger, and with the power to swallow us up? The road to Hell was paved with good intentions!
They also entertain the thought that with determination and resolve, anyone could get on top as well. However, to get to the top of the chain one won't only need to eat smaller motes but also avoid bigger ones. And to do so, you'll need to move. Moving out of their way will make you lose matter, and the more you move the more you lose. So not only will you need to worry about avoiding the bigger motes -which are too frequent to begin with- but also worry about expelling too much matter. In an instant we go from predator to pray; how do we bare the conditions of life they have bestowed upon us?
The process is never ending, and is only more aggravating on later stages in life which require a hefty dedication of time. It is a way too common occurrence to have one tiny mistake hurdle you back to the beginning. You need matter to obtain more matter, and for most of us, there isn't enough to go around. The cycle is never ending: matter is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks. They tell us to be patient, and everything will be all right. However, the more and more we wait the less of a chance we have on completing out goals within the set time frame. The instruction given to us are exactly opposite of what we need to succeed. It claims patience and diligence are all that's needed to become the predator, but its rarely the case. Hitherto, every form of out society has been based ... on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes.
Life is not only difficult, but can sometimes just feel straight up unfair. As we step towards a more industrialized society, inventions such as level randomization have been bestowed to us with the intention of expurgating the feeling of repetiveness, but in truth, make the entire difficulty feel more than just unstable. It is far too familiar for life to frantically switch from relaxing and content, to frustrating and infuriating.
That's not to say that all of these additions are bad. The ability to slow down and speed up time is a nifty feature that is both handy and fun to use. The world is oddly relaxing for the oppression we face. The background music is superb, though I often wonder where the source comes from; divine intervention perhaps? To their credit, the world aesthetic is pretty gorgeous. There's an eerie voyeuristic feeling to watching other motes lazily gliding along the void-like terrain.
With the same ideals that the bourgeoisie motes used to overthrow The Old Regime, the workers shall use to spill their blood. The proletarian motes have nothing to lose but their chains. As corrupt as society is now, it is worth a gander. The often unnecessarily harsh difficulty and obnoxious level design can be tolerated for a few hours of excellent atmospheric electronica. However while you can enjoy relaxing and calmly developing you ameba like body, the later parts are not worth the hassle. Enjoy it while you can, for the Jenga blocks of society are being torn. Working motes of all nations unite!
Bottom Line: Osmos is a relaxingly fun experience for any player. At least for the first couple of stages. However, the all over the place difficulty curve and frequent restarts in later level turn it into a frustration fest.The game won't last anyone more than two or three days, and for the price tag of 10 USD, it doesn't fell very "worth it".