For a truly unique and very much last-minute gift for anyone you know, look to CDM’s favorite game of year, the gorgeous, blood pressure-lowering title for Windows and – at long last – Mac. I may personally identify a little too much with the abstract protagonist of this game, as my holiday activities could well be described as floating around the universe, sucking particles into my gravity well as I grow in size. But whether or not I feel literally like an expanding bubble of matter, one of my favorite experiences this year was entering this ingenious physics-based game. It fuses visuals with a sparkling minimal electronic soundtrack by some favorite artists, from Gas to Loscil, and could be a perfect surprise hard drive stuffer for a Mac or Windows user – even if they’d be puzzled by, say, a sophisticated virtual analog instrument.

$10, Mac and Windows, instant download.

Osmos @ Hemisphere Games

I’m not doing this as an advertisement, either – I’m buying it and placing it on the hard drive of someone dear to me, who I’m fairly certain isn’t reading this blog and to whose laptop I have easy access.

Lastly, to help celebrate the holidays, we’ll have treats in the form of free downloads and tips leading from this weekend into the New Year. Among them, I’m pleased to offer the exclusive official Osmos soundtrack as a free CDM Sounds podcast. (I hoped to have that edited in time for today, but expect it by Monday. And yes, it’s the rare soundtrack that you’ll still want to hear after the game is over.)

Best gift I could have received: is back after a screw-up with our domain. It won’t happen again, and we’ll make it up to our visualist readers with extra content starting next week.

Thanks, everyone, and enjoy the season. Winter is, after all, a great time to bunker in and make music.

  • Awesome. Thanks!

  • leslie

    I'll stick with rather excellent (Master Brian Eno) "BLOOM" on iPhone, thank you very much…

    Merry Xmasssss

  • From the trailer on vimeo doesnt seem too much fun or musically.

  • Klinke

    A great remix of Asteroids and Katamari, two games i really like. Play the demo for some minutes and bought it instantaneous. Thanks for the hint.

  • guly

    not sure i've got the point but thank for keeping this blog alive, pretty cool 🙂

  • Orubasarot

    Osmos is easily filed under IDM as Fuck™. I found it very enjoyable up until what I believe is the last level where you have to orbit around stuff. It was also on sale for $2 when I got it, totally worth it.

  • tyler

    you got me hooked

  • Eric Ruud

    I also heartily recommend Eufloria (formerly Dyson), which was up against Osmos at the Independent Games Festival. It also features an entirely electronic ambient soundtrack. The graphics are entirely procedurally-generated and look great.

    It's kind of like Starcraft on heavy doses of ketamine.

    I met the creators on the floor at the Games Developers Conference in SF and they were really great guys – totally worth supporting.

  • Eric Ruud
  • Yep, funny, was just giving Eufloria a try myself. Also highly recommended, at least based on what I saw from its earlier Dyson iteration — and, indeed, it's recommended as one of the best games of the year of this ilk on the Osmos site. So keep spreading the ambient gaming around. 😉

  • geniusofthecrowd

    Great game, but you can get this for $5 on and for a limited time for windows.

  • Eric Ruud

    These games are both great examples to me of what Jonathan Blow (creator of a game called Braid) is talking about when he makes the distinction between "natural rewards" and "artificial rewards."

    As he says, this is a fuzzy distinction, and obviously it all depends what you find "naturally" enjoyable, but it's a very illuminating sort of distinction to make.

    The sense of calm and natural joy of moving the little Osmos orb around listening to Gas is a reward unto itself, as opposed to grinding for hours on a World of Warcraft mission to get a new weapon that lets you grind on a harder mission (and so forth).

    Check out the interview here:

    (If you're impatient, skip to page 5)

  • Jaime Munarriz

    I just bought both!!

    I never buy games this days, but I believe these can lead to a different experience…

  • doctormix

    it's a piece of crap

  • Bought it today. For 10 bucks it's worth it. A fun and relaxing game.

    Braid was also awesome (bought that last year). It led to many hours spent finding puzzle pieces, then later research on the internet on how to find the stars. Good stuff.

  • Reagan Hunt

    Thanks for sharing this, Eric! I just bought both of these games and I think they are wonderful! I wish Eufloria was on Mac, though; I need to keep using the "family" PC 😛

  • Isn't this great stuff!

    Makes me want to rush out and buy it!

  • Joe Bonomo

    Peter, has that free official Osmos soundtrack you mentioned materialized yet?