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An eerie and dark atmosphere turns a basic platformer into a great experience.

7.0

Great
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Hard to describe"

Summary

LIMBO

Limbo is an indie 2d platformer where you play a boy who is caught in "limbo" a dark and scary place somewhere between life and death.

The visuals are a very basic black and white and there is no music just a chilling wind like noise and sounds like rolling boulders and falling rock ledges that let you know that death is just around the corner. All these characteristics add to an eerie atmosphere which you can really feel as you play.

The beginning of the game has you awake into this dark and mysterious world without any explanation as to how or why you got there, you just simply wander the dangerous wilderness with no other goal then to survive. To survive though is no easy task, cleverly designed obstacles will have you die several times and have you scratching your head, thinking how the hell am I meant to get up there? Thats where this game sucks you in, the puzzles always seem to be so close to being solved that you just cant leave them unfinished and the satisfaction of overcoming the puzzles just leaves you wanting more.

Limbo is very short, maybe 5 hours at the most, so it can be easily finished in a day. It is a well put together game thats worth a play through or two, ideal game to play to fill in a bit down time.





LIMBO is thick with atmosphere and mystery. Unfortunately it doesn't offer as much as I hoped.

8.0

Superb
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Too short"

Summary

Wake up in a forest. Take a nice walk. Get you ****in head chopped off by a bear trap. Get impaled by a spear. Get swallowed by a giant spider... Welcome to Dark Souls.

...Erm. Uh.. I mean LIMBO. An independent offering for ten dollars (Got it for 2.50 on steam sale). The game will immediately pull you into its world. A dangerous one at that. Filled with puzzles, traps, secrets, and maggots. My kind of place. A place that I highly recommend you visit. Prepare to die, and be respawned right before you did.

Although LIMBO nails so many things right, the downfall is that it's very short (3 hours) and offers limited challenge. Puzzles could have been harder and there should have been more of them.

Overview:

Gameplay (8/10):

+Very solid platforming
+Interesting puzzles
+Tricky secrets
+Very simple yet responsive controls
+Great story that can be interpreted in more than one way
+The whole game works sort of like poetry
-Not enough puzzles
-Not enough challenge
-Not enough to do

Graphics (8/10):

+Art design rocks
+Atmospheric
+Great animation
-Could have use a bit more detail
-Environments are not as varied as you'd hope

Sound (10/10):

+Great, subtle music
+Top-of-the-line ambiance
+Great sound fx like when you get impales or sliced up by a huge saw
(No voice acting or dialogue in this game so if you like that... well, it's not here.)

Value (6/10):

+Cheap! (the sale price that is)
+Secrets might take you a while to find
-If you bother to do so
-Only 3 hours long
-Not very replayable (Unless achievement junkie)

Bottom line is if you like puzzles, and you like atmosphere so thick you can probably cut it with a knife, then this game is a must.




Limbo is like Braid only in that it's an indy, artsy game with lots of puzzles. That's where the similarities end.

6.5

Fair
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Don't believe the hype"

Summary

Right after Braid, people started looking for "the next Braid". Not having played the majority of indy games out there on Steam or Playstation network, I can't say whether or not that game has been found. I can tell you one thing, however. Despite what you have been told, Limbo is most definitely not it. It is an indy, artsy game with lots of puzzles. That's where the similarities end. The game is a mediocre platformer, with poor gameplay that is disguised by an interesting presentation and a creepy atmosphere. It's possible that the style will be enough for you if you play it. If you are like me, however, and you are also looking for great gameplay, you will be disappointed.

Braid wasn't just a weird art game. It was a great puzzle game that brilliantly introduced some time manipulation mechanics into a traditional 2D platformer. Limbo brings nothing to the table from a gameplay standpoint. It is a sidescrolling game with a key to jump and a key to manipulate stuff in the environment. You time jumps as precisely as possible. You push blocks so that you can climb on top of them to progress further. You activate switches and stuff. Other than some interesting gravity shifting parts near the end of the game, it is all very mundane, and it has all been done better by somebody else. This wouldn't be a huge problem, were it not for the fact that Limbo fails to deliver a high level of polish to its simple gameplay. The biggest culprit here is the controls. The controls especially the jump are slow to respond and about as sluggish as the controls for any platformer that I have ever played. The game is loaded with "LOL gotcha" traps that are impossible to avoid without lots of trial and error in no small part because the sluggish controls prevent you from reacting to anything that you see in real time. Chances are, you will kill yourself accidentally a few times by running off the edge of a ledge and pressing the jump key a split second too late because of the game's slow response.

Limbo is also totally devoid of story. Braid at least had some narrative that you could pick up by reading in-game materials, and it had a great twist on the last level. If that game was a student film, Limbo is more like a music video stylish but pointless. You play as a boy traversing what looks like a spiritual realm or afterlife (and the only reason that you know this is the title of the game, "Limbo"). There is not one drop of in-game exposition. After you beat the last puzzle, you meet up with a female silhouette of some kind and the game ends. That's it.

I have mentioned "style" in this review a few times, and that is because it is the one thing that Limbo has in spades. From a visual and audio standpoint, it is wonderfully done. If the setting is not the afterlife, then it feels like some kind of nightmare. The monochromatic graphics provide a stunning level of detail, considering that no color palette was available. There is a haze to the graphics that adds to the game's dreamlike quality. There is almost no music in the game, which in this case is a great decision. The quiet is rarely punctuated by anything more than the sound of machinery or traps crushing you into bloody pieces. Towards the end, some subtle music picks up to let you know that you are approaching the climax of the game. It all combines to produce a macabre atmosphere that will always have you feeling on edge, even though it is not a particularly intense or scary game.

Limbo is pretty short. An experienced gamer can finish it in an afternoon, and that time involves trial-and-error and replaying short bits after you have gotten killed. There's essentially no replay value to the game, so whether it's worth playing depends on whether you can get it cheap. Now that it has been out for a while, the price has probably dropped to the point where it is worth checking out if the style sounds like it appeals to you. Just make sure not to let your expectations get up too high.




The unique atmosphere and setting are what make this game worth it. Otherwise, it's another short platformer.

7.5

Great
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Mixed reactions"

Summary

If this game was on the Wii or on an Apple iPad with typical platformer graphics it is likely no one would really care that much about it. What truly gives this game i's appeal is its unique visual style and presentation that is just so very different than typical games out there today.

When looking purely at gameplay/story, there is nothing particularly interesting about this one. You pretty much are allowed to walk around, jump, grab stuff, and push the occasion button. None of these things are outstanding in themselves as they have been used over and over through gaming history.

However, when you look at the BW art style, the unique death sequences, the minimalist and ambient sounds, you recognize that the true enjoyment in this game simply is the quality of presentation. Yet, you don't enjoy it's presentation in the same way as you might an over-the-top exclusive with jaw-dropping graphics and cinematics. To the contrary, the stillness and simplicity stand in stark contrast to the majority of games out there so it does have a fresh appeal that draws you in and in many good ways.

In the end, is it worth the money? Well, it's extremely short and there is virtually no story to mention at all. However, if you want to be able to say that you've played one of the more unique and, indeed, fun little adventures this generation then you just might find the money spent a good investment.




A dark, yet enchanting game.

9.0

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Innovative"

Summary

To be honest, I'm having a hard time beginning this review. What is there to say about that charming, yet dark indie platformer that we don't already know? LIMBO's interesting visual style helps to set the atmosphere, while the game's puzzles will definetly test the players reflexes and wits. To be perfectly blunt: LIMBO is good, and for $10 on Steam, it's a steal.

It's hard to create a game that both manages to charm, and creep out the player like LIMBO does. The player begins their journey in a strangely peaceful forest. Not ten minutes into the game, you'll encounter bear traps, bodies of deep water, boulders, and giant arachnids, all of which are very eager to end your journey. And, they probably will, once or twice (or maybe more). Death in LIMBO is quick, but visceral at the same time. Luckily, LIMBO is rather forgiving when it comes to dying, and you'll likely reappear near where you bit the dust.

Despite the danger, the world of LIMBO has a surprisingly beautiful and haunting setting, heightened by the art style and the quiet soundtrack. The black silhouettes of the people of the world and the dull greyness that surrounds everything heighten the alien feeling of LIMBO. Nothing feels normal, and the locations feel like hollow echoes of what they might have once been. The game really does a good job of creating a sense of loneliness in a hostile world.

The puzzles that you'll encounter in LIMBO are cleverly designed, and you'll probably get stumped once or twice before figuring out that you need to push the crate THAT way, or time your button press like THIS. These puzzles will likely test not only your wit, but your reflexes as well, as reacting too slowly to one of these tests usually results in death.

What more is there to say? LIMBO is a dark, yet strangely enchanting game. The puzzles are clever and even the world feels hauntingly pretty. Despite a lack of narrative and a rather abrupt ending, LIMBO is a game that will hook you in until the finish.
9.0

Editors' Choice
8.8
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