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Game Review – Limbo

Sometimes things add to much more than the sum of their parts. In theory Limbo really shouldn’t work. The game itself is monochrome. The game can be beaten easily in 90 minutes. It also only uses a jump and action button aside from the analogue stick. Sounds simple and overblown? Not on your life it’s not.

“Limbo” is a game that leaves itself entirely open to interpretation. The statement “Uncertain of his Sister’s fate, a boy enters Limbo” and that is literally all you get. You are left with a shadowy boy in this dark monochromatic world that is 2D but has a clever puzzle structure that very much fits outside normal convention. The world is eerie, disquieting and provoking, not to mention very brutal. The game carries an 18 certificate despite you not seeing a drop of red on screen or hearing a word spoken. The sound effects however are perfectly done so you can hear a spiders leg skewer your chest with butt clenching surprise or a metal trap close in on you and snap you into pieces. For once the case of less is more in gaming really does apply.

The puzzles themselves are cleverly thought out and require good platforming timing and precision skills as well some brain power to get what’s being asked of you sometimes. The puzzles are not pointed out to you to solve but you’re given enough of a clue to get you started, usually involving being killed violently and then figuring out how not to be. The path is linear but enjoyable for it the checkpoint restarts are always quite close so you’re never penalised too much for taking risks or trying new strategies.

At the end of the day Limbo’s biggest strength is its overall art design however and the way its trickled down to every aspect underneath it. The monochrome style of graphics is absolutely beautiful as the backgrounds shimmer and fade away, the sound effects and ambient textures layer on the atmosphere and the silent approach lets you read more into what’s going on that ever before.

Positives

~Unique gaming experience

~Highly accomplished traditional 2D platforming puzzle mechanics

~Open to interpretation and debate over the whole concept and story arc

Negatives

~If you like to be led by the hand from start to finish or dislike games as an art form, you may not see what the fuss is about

Conclusion

Limbo is fantastic. You will be emotionally drawn in, tied to a young boy (and girls fate) and left to piece everything together as you go through an utterly cruel world. Much like life then – but so much more fun and interesting! This is why I love and support indie game development.

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