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Video Game: Osmos

Osmos is a PC/Mac/iOS/Andriod game released in 2009, a debut project of the Canadian developer Hemisphere Games. The gameplay somewhat resembles the Katamari Damacy games, with the player controlling a primordial cell amongst a group of similar beings, which will absorb everything smaller than them and be absorbed by larger motes in return. The player is not immune to being absorbed, but whereas the rest of the cells drift aimlessly, the player cell is allowed to propel itself through ejecting pieces of itself, though this makes the cell itself smaller. The goal is usually to absorb the largest or the most unique cell on the given level.

This game provides examples of the following tropes:

  • The Assimilator: The whole gameplay revolves around your cell absorbing others into itself. Of course, other cells do it too, if they drift into each other. It can all easily lead to...
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The player-controlled cell is bright blue. The cells that can be absorbed are blue-coloured, or at least have a blue ring around them, while ones that will absorb you are red in colour.
  • Deadly Walls: Usually touching the border is perfectly safe and youíll just bounce off, but on some levels itís lethal.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: If you die, you restart the level almost instantly and since all levels are very short, it matters little.
  • Gravity Sucks: Averted; there is a gradual, realistic rendition of how gravity works. Some levels have all cells including your own going in orbits around a central object, although youíre allowed to change orbits by expending mass. On certain levels, there is a very large attractor which you need to avoid until youíre big enough to deal with it. Some levels have the repulsor instead: you have to expend mass to counteract its push, yet expend too much and youíll get too small and end up absorbed instead.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: It's possible to do this to yourself due to the way movement works. The only way to propel oneself is to eject small spheres of your cell in the direction opposite to where youíre intending to go. Thus, itís possible to move too much and lose most of your mass, or even make a similar-sized cell nearby just large enough to be bigger than you.
  • Meaningful Name: Well, kind of. The name Osmos is meant to be short for Osmosis, the natural flow of water from the areas of high liquid concentration to areas of low liquid concentration. However, the gameplay is the opposite, as larger cells fully absorb smaller ones. The only way it makes sense is if the largest cells are also areas of high solute concentration, which would then make water flow towards them. Even then, though, the cells shouldn't be drained completely.
  • Mirror Match: In the full version of the game, some levels have you go up against intelligent cells with the same abilities as your own cell, and which are competing for the same goal
  • Slow Motion: The game allows you to speed up or slow down time as much as possible to accomplish the task.

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