ReviewLimbo


Limbo

Developer: Playdead Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Games

Release Date: 07/10/2010

ESRB: T

Genre: platform
Setting: modern
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The dark and colorless world of Limbo is void of everything but life and adventure. The game has a relatively short playtime, which is countered by endless frustrations and riddled with deaths. However, it is fun and rich.

Limbo is available across multiple platforms to download and play through game centers such as Steam or Xbox Live Arcade. The game quickly immerses the player through a very unique introduction occurring from the start screen. The graphical choices and unique sounds begin to draw the player in almost immediately. A small eerie sound here and there accompanied by a lack of color greets the player to create a weary and apprehensive feel for the game. It does not hide the fact that the game is, and will continue to be, creepy or even scary at points. 991005_20100423_640screen001

The beginning of the story introduces to the player a silhouetted shadow boy with two bright white eyes. The boy wanders around a platform-style black and white plane exploring and executing puzzles (and traps). The boy continually traverses this unknown world with unknown goals, but he (and the player) find out very quickly, that he has one certainty in this world: He can die. He can die many, many ways. Many, many painful and usually gruesome ways.

Death for the boy is noted for the player by his white eyes fading to black, or the awkward angles of his broken limbs if he falls wrong, or the gruesome sound of bones crunching. The amount of deaths and surprises are enough to keep the player going, or end their game in pure frustration, that is, if the puzzles don’t get to the player first. 991005_20100312_640screen003

The world is introduced to the player in an uncommon method. As the player begins the game, they have no sense of the plane or environment. There are no directions or instructions for the player to use or directions to use for the boy. In some situations while playing Limbo, the player might think he is no longer controlling the boy at all, when in fact the game is still going. All the controls are figured out through exploration of button-pressing and experimentation. The controls are simple and boil down to either holding or jumping. Those two moves are all that are used to get through the entire game.

What really makes Limbo besides the puzzles is the environment. The bosses are very memorable, and very interesting things happen to the boy. Clues are usually presented to the player before the player may need to use the clues for a puzzle. Player ingenuity is the driving force through the puzzles to hopefully end in success. 991005_20100721_640screen003

My experience playing Limbo was predictably very frustrating, but very memorable. I played through the game in one night with my patience tested numerous times. I highly recommend playing Limbo with a friend; the teamwork used to get through the game can be very rewarding. Limbo has so many rewarding experiences, especially with friends, that it is hilarious to watch a first- time player progress through the game. Knowing all their frustration is pretty darn funny.

I would have liked to see a better continuation of adventure and progression of story or a reason to do the puzzles. The longer the game went on, there was not as many adventure points. By the end of the game, it had dwindled to strictly puzzle features and was frustrating to the point of not being fun at some points. A plot and understanding of why the player is going through the levels would have only advanced the meaning and impact of the ending to the player. The ending of Limbo was great, but it left me feeling unimpressed with a feeling of wanting to do more while asking more questions. 991005_20100312_640screen001

Besides the story of Limbo, which could have been made clearer, the game was all around very fun. Despite the frustrations and plethora of puzzles, Limbo is a game many can enjoy with patience to actually complete it. For those players who like a challenge, there are achievements, which the player can do during gameplay or for replayability purposes. Frankly, after I had beaten the game, I had no desire to relive those frustrating moments for bragging rights. One frequent thing I encounter when playing puzzle games is that once I complete the game, it spoils the fun since I know all the solutions to the puzzles.

Although Limbo was fun and rich in environment, I would not recommend this one as a purchase. The game has a very low replayability for a single player. A private company developed Limbo, though, and it would be great to support them by buying the game. Personally, I would just wait for a friend to purchase it and play it yourself over time.

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About the Author, Kaitlin Brady (A.K.A Rz)

I have been a gamer ever since birth. My parents helped to nurture that throughout my life. The animated cartoon of the original Sonic the Hedgehog was something I grew up on along with my Sega Genesis and much missed Sega Channel. Currently, I am a college student studying in the field of digital media to learn what makes games and digital stuff work. I consider myself a casual to somewhat hardcore player, though I usually play casually more. I do, however, understand the different tiers in most competitive games and will strive to make an impact in at least one tier. I am willing to try any type of game, but I find myself most comfortable with action-adventure, RPG, or FPS games, though I am occasionally found on MMORPGs. If I am not playing games (in which case my DS is more than likely within arms reach), I can be found drawing, reading, or hanging out with friends and geeking out.