It's taken a while, but one of the greatest gaming apps of aaaaaaaall time has now been ported from iOS to Android. It's exciting news, not least because the trophy cabinet over at Hemisphere Games HQ is literally *groaning* under the weight of prizes awarded to Osmos. After all, why should iPhone and iPad owners have all the fun?
How does it play?
Osmos is a delicate confection, the experience often described as something like playing Asteroids inside a lava-lamp. You're a small blue organism, or a "mote", and the object is to grow in size by absorbing other motes dotted around the screen. You can only absorb motes which are smaller in mass than you are, however.
You navigate around the landcape by tapping the screen behind your mote, causing it to expel mass as a means of propulsion. The catch is that the more mass you expel, the smaller your mote becomes, which makes you susceptible prey to any larger motes drifting in your vicinity.
Players might be inclined to adopt a passive strategy and conserve their mass by allowing other motes to drift into their path. They'll get a rude awakening on that score, since other motes have a tendency to gobble and grow as well. Also, forces like gravity come into play, where you need to grow in mass to escape the pull of a larger mote that threatens to absorb you entirely.
Why do we like it?
Osmos is a stone-cold classic, and we haven't even mentioned the ambient soundtrack yet. You could play this game for hours, lost in a reverie of mote manipulation, while the soothing music plays over your headphones. It's quite ironic, given that the hippy-friendly window-dressing conceals a Darwinian message of survival of the fittest.
Hemisphere Games have taken their time over making the transition to Android, citing the issue of making the game scaleable for multiple devices with differing resolutions and touchscreen sensitivity. With a lot of hard development work, they've finally cracked it, and Osmos should be welcomed with open arms by any gamer toting an Android device.
Osmos HD is available now on Android Market (£1.99)