Osmos Trailer from hemisphere games on Vimeo.

Osmos is a glorious glimpse of the fusion of electronic sound and game design many of us anticipate. It is built around a (challenging!) physics-based gameplay style – in the same vein as float-around-the-world games like flOw (and long before that, Asteroids) with procedural design and a perfect, liquid electronic soundtrack. Osmos became available DRM-free yesterday on Valve’s terrific Steam service for US$10 (on sale for a little less this week), and you can buy worldwide from the developer on Direct2Drive. (The developer has temporarily suspended direct sales from their site. Updated: the game is available again direct from the developer. It’s worth buying direct if you want to get a free coupon for the Mac and Linux licenses when they become available. Steam and D2D are great stores that support indie developers, though, and in the case of Osmos you don’t get any DRM with either one.) There’s also a free demo available. Versions for Mac and Linux are coming soon.

The roster of artists working on the music is simply a dream, including Loscil, Gas/High Skies, Julien Neto, and Biosphere.

I’ve already lost myself in the opening levels, and can’t wait to get deeper. CDM will have an interview with the creators by next week, once they recover from the launch.

And yes, indie gaming looks like a very fertile ground for digital artists and musicians, indeed.

Now, I’m not going to say anything else, because I want some time to play the game.


  • Kris

    Reminds me of "Heroin Hero" from that episode of South Park. "Catch the Dragon! Come on, almost there!"

  • This reminds me of the first level of Spore.

  • @Benny:

    If this reminds you of the first level of Spore and the first level of Spore *doesn't* remind you of fl0w, then you should definitely go play fl0w. 😉 (There's a free PC version.)

    That said, of course there's a reasonable comparison here, almost a new sub-genre of "petri dish" games.

    But if you consider the physical mechanics, definitely do go back and look at Asteroids and even early Lunar Lander simulators.

  • vinayk

    Where is the info on the upcoming mac version?

    The game looks fun – but No PC's hanging round anymore!

  • From their FAQ:

    "Does Osmos run well on Windows emulators on Mac or Linux? (While we’re waiting for the “native” versions…)

    It does! Some fine folk have reported back to us that it works well via Crossover and Parallels on Mac, and via Wine on Linux. If it doesn’t work for you right away, it’s likely that you need to install the Microsoft Visual Studio (C++) 2005 Redistributable Runtime on whatever platform you’re using."

  • I should also add — if you were only to play through the first couple of demo levels or watch the trailer, you might miss the point.

    The game actually gets — believe it or not — fast-paced. And it does it without changing any of the mechanics, but just by amping up difficulty. And it is *hard* – this is *not* floating around idly as you do in Spore. If you liked that basic mechanic but found EA's game ultimately empty, you're going to be really pleasantly surprised when you see this.

    I still say, though, the basic mechanic is from Asteroids, for all those games. 2D directional momentum. And that's probably a good thing — half of all games ever made come from Jumpman aka Donkey Kong aka Mario Bros. 😉

  • Marc Pinsky

    I agree that this is similar to Spore. At the same time, it is also very similar to a Wiiware game called Artstyle: Orbient.

    It really seems to be a blend of both: the gameplay idea of the beginning of Spore with the control concept behind Orbient.

    Of the three, this is the most challenging!

  • typodaemon

    If its on steam is it actually DRM free? I thought half the point of releasing something on steam was to use their rights management system.

  • @typodaemon: It is DRM-free on Steam *and* Direct2Drive. (the latter has become a great haven for indies even though it originally got a bad rep for DRM) You don't have to use DRM on either of those services. And anyway, Steam is generally pretty liberal – you can install clients on as many machines as you want; you just can't log into your Steam account on multiple machines.

    Stating the obvious …it's one difference between games and music apps for DRM, in fact. Games that have online components can keep track of where you are with your login and, quite frankly, a lot of the time you'll actually be glad to be logged in. Music apps have traditionally been things you want to use offline. Now, maybe at some point we'll have massively multiplayer music apps, and those definitely won't need any dongles. 🙂

  • I found Spore to be somewhat empty after a while, so I was skeptical of this frankly. But the artists on the soundtrack is what sold me. I am big fans of all those folks mentioned (and hope that there is something new or unreleased in there…)

    As it is, the soundtrack + the visuals + gamepaly (in that order for me) is just killer. It's like having an interactive visualizer to some amazing music. It definitely sucks you in.

  • dr dub

    That is just a great Game. Especially for "non-gamers" like me.

  • Lovely game, complemented by ditto soundtrack.

  • Michael Coelho

    No luck running Osmos on my MacBook Pro using VMware Fusion and Windows XP. Guess I'll have to try this on my PC.

  • I knew it sounded familiar… I played the demo of this and it was indeed gorgeous. $10 eh? Sold.

  • I was momentarily distracted and misread the headline as a sequel to "Cosmic Osmo". Gosh, that had some fun, HyperCard-powered sound!

  • It's LIKE asteroids, but instead of some kind of space gun, you shoot enemys with your waste

  • I tried to buy this three times in the Steam client after Peter tipped me off with his enthusiasm, but the store had errors each time. I made do with the demo for a bit, then lost interest.

    The price is right though. Im assuming there are deeper levels of gameplay than the demo alone shows, but i really liked the "slow down" effect in later levels 🙂

  • Dave: What errors were you getting from Steam? Did you update to the latest client? I've found them to be rock-solid. Don't know if it's available down under, but the other choice of course is Direct2Drive, who have actually done some great things partnering with the Independent Games Festival, etc.

  • Pear Tree

    anyone know the name of the track in the video?

  • It's a rip off of a GBA game called Orbital :


    Nintendo was already here in 2006. They come with Orbient later for the Wii.

    For another great sound & game experience, check Soundvoyager, another GBA game from this Bit Generation series :


    You can play it before going to bed, only by ears. A really wonderfull experience.

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