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|ESRB rating: T
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.
Bloody worms! Let go of my mind!
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.
Proves that games are an art form, the unique colorless world of LIMBO is something you simply must experience;
Too short, a few frustrating moments when you try to solve certain puzzles, but nothing that would impede gameplay too much.
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