It has been a year since this striking platformer hit Xbox Live. Critical and commercial success aside, Limbo was known as one of the best arcade games to have been released this gen. Let me get this straight, Limbo doesn’t need a monstrous machine to run; it’s a simple game, made so cleverly that it titillates your mind in various ways. This review is based on the Steam/PC version, and you can check out our original review here.
The game is all about a depressing world called Limbo, and how a boy navigates it to find his sister. The controls are pretty simple; the boy does not have a wide variety of moves, but the game design does not require any complex actions to provide an immersive experience. And Immersive it is, as you will encounter a hostile world, which will throw innumerable obstacles your way, so it becomes quite difficult to bravely march ahead if you aren’t aware of your surroundings. These can be anything from traps to menacing creatures like Spiders.
The gore is tackled in an intelligent way. You won’t see blood spurt out everywhere considering the game is mostly drizzled with black and white colours, but seeing the boy die in horrific ways imaginable will certainly make you feel guilty about it. Whether the death is by getting crushed by a boulder or being cut into two by a trap, it doesn’t matter. The bottomline is, your first playthrough requires a lot of trial and error, which is also a negative aspect of the game. But that is also what makes the game so good, as you will undoubtedly breeze through it in a second run.
The game is quite short, mind you. You can clear it in 3 to 4 hours; however, it is devoid of any filler material and is full of interesting and challenging puzzles. It’s not too difficult or out of place but done just right. It is completely normal to die a lot, and in gruesome ways but that’s what makes the game so good. It makes you concentrate a lot more, and try to make the boy reach his final destination. The audio effects and ambient sounds are quite minimal, but do a great job of putting you in a right sort of mood to tackle the different scenarios you encounter.
The game gets quite harder as you play along, with some tricky puzzles thrown in but once you reach the satisfying ending, it makes it so worth it. The PC version supports the 360 controller, which is nicely implemented, although, I’m not too fond of the arrow keys to control the boy using a traditional keyboard setup. I mean, who uses arrow keys nowadays? The game could have used a custom config option but considering the fact that the controls are quite simple, you will get used to it if you choose to play it with the keyboard.
Limbo isn’t a technical masterpiece, but it shows how you can create something so engrossing with something so less. A limited colour palette; minimal control options, and straightforward linear level design is all that constitutes the game, but when it comes to keeping your attention, it can rival many big budget games. Limbo is a game that needs to be experienced. The game hasn’t aged at all since the gameplay is so enjoyable. It doesn’t pack in a lot of replay value, but it isn’t needed either. A game so cleverly made needs to be rewarded with your wallet. So what are you waiting for? Buy this game now.
This game was reviewed on the PC.
Simplistic level design; Engrossing gameplay; Satisfying platforming.
Trial and error required; Is pretty short.