In the world of Limbo, your only friends are a tiny ray of light, or a wooden log that can help you get across a pond, or your own wits, that can help you get through extremely tough puzzles and mind-boggling bosses. Limbo never relents its hold on you, and keeps throwing one thing after another- finish a really tough puzzle, and you’re faced by a giant spider which will follow you around for a long time and take a good thirty minutes to kill, not counting the time you waste in dying.
And you die a lot in Limbo. The developers defined this as a trial-and-death game, and they were oh-so-right. The number of times you die in Limbo is simply unmatchable. Each puzzle is so tough to solve, and riddled with so many traps that can cost you your life, that you will have to give each and every one of them around five tries before you can successfully decipher how to get through the puzzle. How many lives you take to get through it after that is a whole different matter.
Yes, the deaths can get really frustrating, sometimes even make you want to leave the game and not come back for some days, but you know what keeps you coming back? The eerie, atmospheric, mysterious, isolated world of Limbo. Trust me, once you see the black and white world on the edge of life and death, you will, despite all the deadly challenges it faces you with, fall in love with it immediately.
What makes the game so deep and involving is how it has two facets- on the outside, it appears to be a lighthearted, pick up and play platformer, but once you delve deeper, you realize what a deep experience it is that few games ever manage to replicate. Not only does it provide with really challenging and fun puzzles, it also delivers an astoundingly atmospheric experience without the use of any text or an actual musical score.
There is no definite story to Limbo, it is upto one’s mind what he/she wants to make out of it, but it delivers a fantastic aura using just its pallet, its sound effects and its unforgettable world. You’re always freaked out, not expecting what you will be seeing next. On one turn, there’s a dead body hanging off a branch of a tree, at another point, there’s a rope bridge that will get you across a deep chasm to get on the far side of the isolated city. You can never guess what’s around the corner, and zero loading times and cutscenes, which means one single pieced fluid experience, make this world seem even more connected, deep and believable.
What is most commendable about the game is its visuals. No, they’re not cel-shaded cartoony colourful graphics that can please everyone to the utmost degree. No, they’re not bleak and drab with gorgeous vistas. No, they’re not superb high definition graphics that can blow games like Uncharted 2 and Crysis to hell- no, Limbo’s visual theme is the simplest, the most beautiful and the most innovative- Limbo is a side-scrolling, semi-2D black and white game with a hint of grey in it.
Limbo is both, an artistically and technically, wonderful looking game. It lends even more depth to the world, which, I think, is the best aspect of the game, and blows all other pros of the game out of the water. No other Xbox Live game before, with the exception of maybe Shadow Complex, has looked so magnificent- yes magnificent is the word.
The eerie soundtrack also helps in keeping up the game’s atmosphere. While there is not, per say, really a soundtrack, the sound effects of the game are beautifully done and compound the experience’s quality manifold.
What I did not, however, like about Limbo was its length. Even for an Xbox Live game, it got over too early. It hardly took us five hours to get through the entire game, and that too after we had collected the little collectibles that were available in the game. Rather than giving us the more Limbo we wanted, developers PlayDead ended the game rather abruptly, with fans begging for a proper climax that provided closure. A few more hours of gameplay and a proper ending would’ve made this experience even more worthwhile.
Ultimately, just how good is Limbo? It’s damn good, one of the best games- not just Xbox 360 or Xbox Live games, just games in general- you will ever play in this year. Do yourself a favour, get this greatly priced wonder of a game, and experience one of the most atmospheric, spooky yet wonderful video games ever.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Extremely atmospheric; Beautiful, refreshing visual design; Fresh, fun gameplay; The game has dual personalities, making it ever deeper; Gameplay never gets boring; Awesome, eerie sound
Too short, even for an Xbox Live game; Can get frustratingly tough sometimes; Lack of dialogue and story can make the game seem a bit shallow and aimless sometimes; End is abrupt
Simply put, Limbo is- in every sense of the word- awesome.