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PLATFORM PC

LIMBO Review

GAME INFO
publisher: Playdead
developer: Playdead
genre: Platform

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
n/a
ESRB rating: T
homepage:
www.limbogame.org

release date: Aug 02, 11
» All About LIMBO on ActionTrip


We, as gamers have grown, but you know what, so have games! And they seem to be evolving on many fronts and in many different directions. Playdead the studio behind the Xbox 360 title LIMBO, has given us an example of how far games can go as an art form. The PC and PlayStation 3 editions have finally arrived. No, this is not "just another platformer," if that's what you were getting at. Anyone who dives into LIMBO's arty, black-and-white world, will surely find good reason to stay. The gameplay itself might be a tad reminiscent of other puzzle-flavored platform classics such as Another World, and even recent titles such as Super Meat Boy and Trine. Heart of Darkness also comes to mind. Even so, LIMBO has a feel of its own.

The central character, a small pale-eyed kid, awakens alone in a murky forest, surrounded by massive trees and a few wondering animals (maggots, tiny butterflies and so on).This is what marks the player's first step into the sinister world of LIMBO. No fancy story, no complex sci-fi universe, no bullshit plot, no pompous character outlines, no feeble voiceovers... just the tranquil sounds of the deep, black forest. However, as soon as our tiny hero sets out, those tranquil sounds soon transform into a range of rather unsettling noises. Stepping into LIMBO is rather like entering a bleak world of shadows, with but a few flickering light sources that barely manage to outline the silhouettes of nearby objects and creatures.

The creepy forest is no place for a little boy, so it's best to help him get out of danger as soon as possible. LIMBO's perilous dim environment will have you facing dangers around every corner and almost every step could lead our petite hero into a perfectly laid trap. If he isn't cut by exceedingly sharp bear traps or sliced to bits by spinning razor blades, he'll mostly likely run into a blood-thirsty creature. The game throws players into a series of tough situations where the main character has to fight for dear life against overwhelming odds. The best possible example for this are the multiple encounters with the Shelob-like spider that looms above or below the hero and is usually only one or two steps behind him. The game often requires you to get out of situations by thinking and reacting swiftly, otherwise the cute little boy may get chopped to bits or eaten by something unpleasant.

What's unique about this game is the way it progressively throws different problems your way, without warning and yet somehow always leaves enough time and space for you to solve things on your own. Each step forward tosses you into bigger dangers and tougher physics-based puzzles, in turn may lead to even greater challenges. That's right, physics play an important role as you attempt get out of a range of difficult situations. The puzzles rarely feel repetitive, which was a Godsend. There was an obvious effort by the developers to constantly present something new and unexpected for the player. As a result, the game becomes a joy to play.

It's even more fun to watch and listen, because of its stylish graphics and equally effective audio backdrop. Again, this game doesn't feature fancy graphics, epic soundtracks or a massive cast of top-rated voice actors. Every time a melody starts swelling in the background, that usually means you're in trouble. The ambient music is a perfect match for the game's distinctive art style.

This independently developed title deserves a spot among its many triple-A counterparts (it's better than most of them, in fact), largely because it succeeds in grabbing the attention of both hardcore gamers, as much as those who prefer casual gaming.

The highly appealing indie game craves more content though. Well, just more levels, really. Nothing more. It ends to damn quickly. And that's about the only thing we could find wrong with it. Okay, there were a few frustrating moments in the game when we couldn't figure out what to do, which lead to some slightly annoying trial-and-error. Still, nothing that should sway you from giving it a try.

LIMBO may seem like a small ripple in a giant ocean of games, but from where we're standing, this tiny ripple could easily steer us towards new heights, as games continue to evolve as an art form. It immerses players almost effortlessly thanks to its sleek design and delightfully subtle lighting effects and creepy-looking shadows. LIMBO represents a skillful blend of puzzle-based gameplay mechanics and unique visuals. There isn't an aspect of this game that feels redundant or flimsy. Even though we hunger for more challenges and an altogether lengthier experience, we still see this one as a classic that shouldn't be missed out on.

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USER SCORE
9.2
YOUR SCORE
RATE IT 0.0
ACTIONTRIP SCORE
9.1   Excellent


HIGHS
Proves that games are an art form, the unique colorless world of LIMBO is something you simply must experience;

LOWS
Too short, a few frustrating moments when you try to solve certain puzzles, but nothing that would impede gameplay too much.

RATINGS GUIDE




14 post(s)
Reader Comments
Vader [STAFF] Aug 08 2011, 08:00 am EDT
It's almost like playing through a child's nightmare.
Cheddar Aug 08 2011, 08:40 am EDT
The first half of the game is definitely like that. The spider monster, the hanging corpses, the gang of murderous evil children, etc...

But unfortunately, the latter half of the game seems to switch to a completely different level designer, and at that point Limbo just becomes a platforming puzzler with far less horror aesthetic. Disappointing. The evil forest setting of the first half was 10 times more fascinating than the factory setting with which the game culminates.
Vodoo Aug 08 2011, 09:23 am EDT
i agree with Cheddar and it's really an opinion that echoes throughout the internet.
many games have suffered in this way where plot, setting or who knows what radically changes the whole game leaving you yearning for that first bite into the cake....before going stale.

still, the score is well deserved, i love this game.
EricHalfBee Aug 08 2011, 10:18 am EDT
I see youyr point but the factory setting does allow more puzzle types. I thought it picked up when you got onto the rooftops but dipped a little again with the 'walking on the ceiling' puzzle sections. These are minor gripes for a game this good: a well deserved score.

It reminded me of Ico. Remember that?
  Cheddar: I agree the factory setting had the most creative and…
EricHalfBee: I find myself agreeing. It's an agreable sensatio…
Cheddar: Oh yeah, the 'brain-bugs' were very cool. Especially…
Vader [STAFF] Aug 08 2011, 11:02 am EDT
Yeah, the art direction is similar.
Rikay Aug 08 2011, 11:35 am EDT
what a masterpiece this game is...a lot more entertaining than the last many games i've played. grim and dark, yet fascinating!! agreed with cheddar but i didn't mind the change of setting..but yeah the first half looked quite mysterious..and the three other kids were quite a mystery too!! the protagonist looks simple and of course is a classic for me now!!
well deserved score!! PURE ART!!
Doomsday. Aug 08 2011, 12:14 pm EDT
Wow! Now these guys should make an RPG!! lol!
EricHalfBee Aug 08 2011, 01:33 pm EDT
I've seldom seen such unanimity on AT. We appear to like this game.
satangel Aug 08 2011, 03:09 pm EDT
Cheddar... if the whole game was easy like the first part, you would've complained it is very short. The diversity of the puzzles make the game grand.
  perineum: You don't read very well do you? Cheddar didn't say …
satangel: Well, I can surely say that you don't THINK very well…
perineum: Yeah....no. Ask him if the thought the game was diff…
Cheddar Aug 09 2011, 12:34 am EDT
Eh? Limbo is very short (relative to other 15 dollar DLC). The second half of the game certainly didn't curtail that.

Edit: Ah, i see now that for the PC, Limbo is priced at 10 dollars. Well, that's very fair. The PS3 and 360 versions of the game are priced too high, though, considering one can play-through the game in an hour if you know the puzzle solutions or simply don't have trouble with them.

And anyway, if what you're inadvertently suggesting is indeed true -- that the Limbo developers deliberately intended for the player to die in the same sections over and over and over again as a means of increasing play-length -- that is a very lame and artificial method of extending the game's content. Needless to say.

BUT I don't think the Limbo devs consciously intended that.

Rather, what I theorize the uneven horror aesthetic and puzzle fluidity of the game in regard to its first and second half indicates is that the makers of Limbo didn't really have a clear idea of where they were going with the game as they were making it.

Limbo is certainly an inspired piece of media, but it probably could've used a little bit better overall direction.
  touretul: That extra cash you pay for PS3 and XBOX versions goe…
Cheddar: /sigh If you're gonna reply to something I said, at …
Vader [STAFF] Aug 09 2011, 01:46 am EDT
I dunnno, Cheddar, I think the game is fine the way it is. I wouldn't change much, aside from adding more content. Coming up with different types of puzzles isn't an easy thing to do and constantly throwing something new for the player to tackle, seems like a decent gaming experience anyway you swing it. LIMBO was done with style and taste, which is more than you can say for a lot of games these days.

The gameplay is fun, the art direction is impressive for an indie game.
  Cheddar: It's more than merely "fine" the way it is, it's a gr…
perineum: I 100% agree with Cheddar. After leaving the giant s…
touretul Aug 09 2011, 01:59 am EDT
I just told yesterday to a friend of mine about this game, and he told me about The Heart of Darkness.
  satangel: The Heart of Darkness is another great game too. I be…
Vader: The Heart of Darkness... yep, LIMBO is similar, as I'…
Cheddar: Yeah, Heart of Darkness was the comparison everyone w…
EricHalfBee: Oh Another World! Now we really are taking a trip to …
Xmortis Aug 09 2011, 11:57 am EDT
I haven't played it.. but the sparse imagery sort of reminds me of the game Another World. Awesome game that was for it's time.
dex [STAFF] Aug 16 2011, 07:18 am EDT
I really liked this game...
  COMMENTS PAGE 1  


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