LIMBO

Released: 02/08/2011
Developer: Playdead
Publisher: Playdead
Hours played: 3 (completed)
Last played: 24/07/2012

I think I played the first hour of LIMBO (or just Limbo, from now on) when it was first released, played it a little more months ago and I finished it not five minutes ago, no, it was six minutes ago. So, this is how I felt about it.

First of all, the art style is great. It’s all black, white and various shades of grey in-between. The design of the environment, characters and creatures is, well, it’s hard to tell but it seems to be leaking some sort of creepiness, presumably because you can’t really see what anything is but you know what it is. The first properly creepy ‘obstacle’ comes just after you’ve had enough time to get settled in to the atmosphere and was just perfectly timed.

The game itself is a fairly standard platformer strapped to the back of a bloody difficult puzzler like a Coyote to an ACME rocket (which is quite an apt analogy seeing as the platformer would be pretty weak on it’s own, and all). The game is entirely trial and error, error being punished with a swift and brutal death which can be a bit horrific at times considering you’ve assumed the role of a small boy, but it fits with the general atmosphere and I doubt anyone could mistake Limbo for a Super Mario Brothers-style child friendly sort of thing, so whatever really. There are checkpoints at pretty much every obstacle which is great, I feel like a lot of games make themselves artificially more difficult by making you play the same parts over and over, increasing the chance that you’ll die before the part you’re actually stuck on, and that’s bullshit and it sucks. Limbo, though, does away with that but it easier as a consequence because you can just keep spamming the difficult bit until you work it out. Thankfully the game doesn’t feature any seriously difficult timing puzzles, my timing sucks so that makes me happy.

There’s no plot, no explanation of why all the stuff that is clearly laid out to kill you is laid out to kill you, no dialogue, not really any music that I remember, either. The sound is good, creepy when it needs to be, isolatory at all other times. I used a 360 controller to, well, control it but I’m sure a keyboard works just as well; the 360 controller gives you analogue walk/run speeds though which can be useful. There’s no real replay value, however, apart from the Steam achievements there’s nothing to make you want to play through it again so 3 to 6 hours, assuming you can be bothered and want to find the hidden eggs and stuff, at full price is bloody steep. The game isn’t that good… Well worth a try at less than that, though.

Limbo is a well-made game, no question. There’s barely any settings to touch so you can just get on with playing it, and I’m sure some people would get a lot of enjoyment out of it, but I can’t help but feel it’s overpriced.

TL, DR: It’s a solid puzzle platformer worth picking up in a sale, but I’d very gently advise against it at full price. It kind of reminds me of Abe’s Oddysee, actually.

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