Developer: Playdead
Publisher: Microsoft/XBLA
Price: 1200 MS points
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1
Words By:

Although there’s no intro or story to speak of, Limbo is supposedly about a boy’s hellish quest to save his sister. All you need to know is that his search is fraught with sneakily hidden dangers, and there are brutal consequences for every wrong step or misjudged jump. Limbo is not for the faint-hearted.

Limbo is basically a traditional scrolling 2D platform game but that description really doesn’t do it justice. The game has visuals that ooze atmosphere and has a superbly animated main character, yet uses just hazy light shades, greys and jet black (and lots of it) for a palette. The sense of impending danger doesn’t really let up until the last few moments of the game, and, unlike many games that put you through the grinder, as much as I enjoyed it I couldn’t really describe it as an uplifting experience. Even allowing for its simple, almost silhouette-ish visual style, with its numerous messy deaths (impalements, crushings, decapitations etc) it’s definitely not a game to play with the kids, or to show Granny.

Along the way you’ll have to guide our hero past weapon-wielding enemies, giant spiders and countless traps and puzzles—many of which will appear to be impassable at first. Puzzles cleverly use both platform game staples like pixel-perfect jumps and split-second timing, but use state-of-the-art physics for puzzles too. There are sections that rotate the entire screen, or expect you to reverse gravity or use magnetism to get by obstacles, and they’re so darned clever that you’ll feel really smug when you get by them–most likely only to be killed horribly or stumped as to what to do a couple of screens further on–that’s what Limbo is like. Anyone who tells you they played through Limbo without dying many, many times is lying—or possibly a Playdead employee who had a detailed walkthrough on hand.

The game is split into 24 chapters so you can restart at any the beginning of any section of the game that you've already completed. If this makes Limbo sound like a lengthy game then don't be misled because lifespan is Limbo's main weakness, which is only 4-5 hours (and that’s tops). You may want to replay some sections to get those some of the more devilish achievements but this overall briefness may make the price of 1200 MS points seem rather steep. It is, however, one of those games that you won’t forget it in a hurry and I suspect many future platform adventures and even more serious open world sandbox games will take inspiration from Limbo (or just blatantly steal ideas from it.) A truly original title in a world of sequels, copycat games and rehashes Limbo deserves your attention.

Best Bits

- Atmosphere you could genuinely cut with a giant spider’s leg.
- Inventive, original and satisfying puzzles.
Worst Bits

- It’s not a long game.
- Presentation lacks polish and there's no backstory or reason for being there.
-Unrelentingly dismal right till the end.

by: Masonic Dragicoot

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