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LIMBO (PC) Review

/ Jul 19th, 2012 No Comments

Middle of the game

Limbo is Danish indie developer Playdead’s first title, available on all major platforms.  We recently picked this puzzle-platform game in the latest Humble Bundle; it was definitely worth every dollar spent on the collection of games.  While the story is nothing to write home about, the gameplay and beautiful aesthetics are extremely noteworthy as the leading reason to pick up and play Limbo.

GAMEPLAY

Beginning

Limbo Review

Let me preface this by saying Limbo is by no means an easy game.  Conceptually, you navigate your character through each stage, solving puzzles as you encounter them.  Thing is, as you progress through the game, these puzzles will take you several tries to figure out, as all the components are not readily apparent from your first run through of the area.  You can expect to die while you’re figuring everything out; Playdead actually developed the puzzles in a sort of “trial and death” style of play where you are almost supposed to fail repeatedly until you gather all the necessary information to traverse the obstacles unscathed.

There are a wide variety of obstacles you will encounter as you make your way through Limbo.  Admittedly there are very few human enemies and most of your time will be spent traversing the forest you are dropped in at the beginning of the game, and later the dilapidated city that seems to have been abandoned and deserted.  Among some of the reoccurring puzzle aspects include a leach that will latch on to you and force you walk in a certain direction.  Going along with the “trial and death” philosophy, when you lose control of your movements you will have to make sure you set up the map correctly to ensure you escape safely and move on to the next stage.  Other dangers you encounter include electrified platforms which you must either time jumping or disarm so you can safely walk on it, buzzsaws which you must avoid for fear of being cut to pieces, water that you will drown in if you don’t climb to higher ground before it catches up to you, and moving platforms that will crush you if you get caught beneath them.  The list provided is nowhere near a complete assessment of the obstacles you will face, but it is a good indication of the gameplay aspects you will find more often in the puzzles throughout Limbo.

STORY

This is the area where Limbo is lacking.  Even though there’s no need for an in depth story in a game such as this, the near complete exclusion of one almost hurts the game, being the main point at which critics have stagnated and disagree on the merits of Limbo.  The gist of the plotline is that you are an unnamed boy who must travel through this post-apocalyptic forest and city in an effort to find your sister.  It’s about as fleshed out as the story for Super Mario, but in this day and age, a story is almost assumed to be a leading part of the game.  Did the story (or lack thereof) detract from Limbo?  The game really speaks for itself from the atmosphere that is apparent just by playing through the game, but not everyone shares this same opinion.

GRAHPICS

Middle of the game

Limbo Review

Limbo is an amazing example as a video game as a piece of art.  The aesthetics of Limbo are simply amazing, and while it’s not particularly detailed, the art style of the game only adds to the experience.  Limbo is stunning in that it explores a monochromatic visual experience that allows for interesting use of shadows and silhouettes that is rarely seen in other titles.  Limbo really is one of those games where you will benefit from just looking around and taking in the entirety of the world you have been placed in.  Other than that, there’s really not much else to say.  No amount of words can do justice to how stunning the graphical experience of Limbo truly is; the best way to realize just how beautiful this game can be is to simply pick it up and play it yourself.

SOUND

In Limbo, the atmosphere is generally created through visuals, so music is used sparingly.  Most of the sound you hear throughout the game is world effects, like a saw whirling, water dripping, or electricity crackling.  Not to say that’s a bad thing, the lack of music really does contribute to the eerie feel of the game through and through.

OVERALL

Playdead has made a piece of art here.  It’s visually stunning, but it has gameplay and difficulty that will keep players investing in completing its content.  It’s certainly not an easy game and definitely will make you think and use some creativity to solve the problems thrown your way, but the feeling of satisfaction you get once you finally finish the last chapter of the game make it worth all the sweat and tears.

Overall Ratings – LIMBO (PC)

Gameplay:

8/10

Sound:

7/10

Graphics:

9/10

Story:

8/10

OVERALL SCORE:

80%

Mike Zrimsek

Mike Zrimsek

Currently attending school to get a degree in Computer Science, I am an avid gamer of many genres. While I may be busy with school and work, I spend most of my available free time either playing games or writing about them.
Mike Zrimsek

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