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Unique, Zen-like puzzler requires patience to appreciate.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids learn how to use touch controls and principles of motion to solve challenges that increase in difficulty as the game progresses. More specifically, the game focuses on an important concept related to a law of motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This becomes apparent as kids tap different areas of their orb to control its forward and backward motion. Learning is informal, and kids won't get concrete lessons that are heavy in content. Instead, with Osmos, kids get an opportunity to explore physics concepts through direct touch interaction.

Ease of play

Levels have simple instructions such as "Become the biggest." Controls are simple -- just tap behind the orb to propel it forward -- but the high degree of difficulty in later levels requires developed motor skills and patience.

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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Osmos is an app adaptation of the PC game Osmoswith well-implemented touch controls. The game is slow-paced, yet it requires precision to control the orb's movements. If kids lack patience or fine motor skills, they're likely to find the game frustrating. But if they can persevere through the difficulty, they'll find an intriguing and unique Zen-like experience. This review is based on the iPad version of the app; the iPhone version and Android versions may vary slightly in functionality. No privacy policy is readily available, and if Game Center is enabled, your kid can play with other Osmos users.

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What's it about?

Choose from three modes: Odyssey, Arcade, and Multiplayer. Levels have simple instructions, such as "Become the biggest." Controls are simple: Tap behind your orb to propel it forward, swipe right to speed up, swipe left to slow down. Avoid the red predators; if your little orb organism bumps into one of them, it eats you. Each level is completed when you're the biggest object on the screen. There are 72 levels in eight uniquely designed worlds.

Is it any good?


OSMOS is a gorgeous, Zen-like puzzle game in which players control an orb floating through space, absorbing smaller orbs to become bigger while avoiding being absorbed by larger orbs. Although the premise sounds trite, the execution is excellent thanks to realistic physics, different orb behaviors (some repel and some attract, for example), and 72 increasingly tricky levels in various environments. The game's languid pace and surprising degree of difficulty may frustrate some, but Osmos is a unique and beautiful experience for those patient enough to appreciate it.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Newton's laws of motion: Objects stay at rest or in motion unless acted upon by an outside force; the mass of an object and the force used to move it determine how it accelerates; and for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. How are these laws at work in the game?

  • Ask kids to think about real-life examples of Newton's laws, and talk about how the examples are similar to the movement of their orbs. A simple example of Newton's first law might be kicking a ball that's at rest. The kick represents an unbalanced force acting on the ball.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
Subjects:Science: motion, physics
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: prediction, problem solving
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:July 10, 2013
Category:Puzzle Games
Size:18.40 MB
Publisher:Hemisphere Games
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later; varies with device for Android

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Teen, 14 years old Written bydr duck November 6, 2010

A perfect. brainy, iPhone indy. With educational value

A rare find.
What other families should know
Educational value
Teen, 13 years old Written bynsvv April 30, 2011
Simply put, Osmos is a beautiful game that makes great use of a simply concept. The main issue is that it is not action packed, and does require a lot of patience, and would therefore not be very interesting for most children or teenagers. I presume that the majority of the user base is adult for the simply reason that it is a very relaxing game. However, if your child is interested in it, there is absolutely no reason to stop them from getting it. NB: Wait until there's a sale before you buy it, because you can make savings of several pounds.


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