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Insert Credit: “Osmos”

Insert Credit: “Osmos” (photo)

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Insert Credit endeavors to suss out where you should be allotting your video game allowance, sifting out a single title from many and crowning it as The One Game You Need to Get This Week. Don’t consider these reviews, gentle reader. Rather, think of Insert Credit as a mix of hands-on time, informed opinion and intuition.

For the week of July 27, 2010, you should insert credit into: “Osmos”

I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to find an all-new game that would feel as addictive on iPad as “Drop7”, “Canabalt” and my other favorite iPhone games felt to me. The big differentiators between iPad and iPhone are processing power and screen size. The games that have tried to capture hearts and minds on the big-boy iDevice have mostly tried with sharper, faster graphics and bigger levels. That’s great and all, but those are means and not ends unto themselves.

But no game’s sported design ideas that made me feel like they were native for iPad until I played “Osmos.”

In the title by indie developer Hemisphere Games, you control a globular lifeform floating in a field of differently sized motes. You can absorb motes that are smaller than you but can also get subsumed by ones that are bigger. To move around the screen, you tap to eject mass from your mote and create thrust. The risk/reward dynamic is well-tooled here: if you zip around the screen, you can prey on smaller motes, but can wind up being too small to avoid absorption. ou’ve also got the ability to conrol the speed of time with a finger swipe, which also makes the great electronic soundtrack moodily hypnotic or snappy and catchy. (Note: “Osmos” has been out in other forms, including Mac and PC, but feels especially good on iPad.)

The one caveat I have to offer about “Osmos” is that the reason I like it is because it reminds me of other games I already love. It shares a synaesthetic design sense with “Rez,” “Every Extend Extra” and Tetsuya Mizuguichi‘s other work. It looks a bit like “Eliss,” and its touch implementation feels similar to the beautiful simplicity of that game.

With that all said, it still stands out. Its smartly executed physics feel real and just right for the virtual cosmos it portrays and there’s a surprising variety of gameplay mechanics. An early level that throws a simulated black hole into the playfield blew my mind with how much it changed the experience. And, in another level where a self-aware mote competes with you to see who gobble whom up first, a surprising level of AI was evinced in the enemy mote. It bore down on me when it was bigger than my lifeform and scurried away when I was about to pounce on it. It felt almost alive.

So, there it is: “Osmos.” It’ll transform your iPad into a portal to a clever, quirky game universe. Find it on the iTunes Store.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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