Limbo | Gameguide Limbo – Gameguide

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Limbo is a quirky little 2d puzzler just released on XBox Live. It’s the first title from PlayDead, an Independent Danish studio. It’s been in development for several years and it shows: Limbo is a polished piece of art work and is frankly a beautiful looking game. Playing the game is like watching a disturbing black and white animated movie from the 30’s. The title, menu screen and even the closing credits echo this and there’s also a subtle flicker effect that makes the whole game look like it’s being projected from some old cine camera onto your screen.

The darkness of the game design matches its content too. The back story is you’re a little boy out to rescue your sister, but you’re given no hint of this in game. Your character simply wakes up and you start playing. You seem to be trapped in some terrifying dream-scape filled with lethal puzzles, and while you start alone you’ll soon meet some less than friendly denizens of Limbo. This is certainly not a kid’s game as the first creature you meet will terrorize most children, and probably a few squeemish adults too, and it’s pretty much downhill from there. Failure to solve a puzzle often results in a gruesome death by dismemberment, and without giving too much away I think I can safely say Limbo is the only game I’ve played on the XBox that involves solving a puzzle by using the drowned corpses of other little kids… 

The game is broken into 24 chapters, each of which includes several puzzles for you to solve. The controls are minimal: you can run left and right, jump with A and move objects, or activate switches and levers with the B button and that’s it. The puzzles in each chapter progress from classic platformer fare with running, jumping and swinging tests, to more challenging tests involving some quirky and downright nasty opponents, then finally to a set of interesting physics problems. Initially the game seems to focus on making you feel helpless and trapped in a rather unpleasant place, but as you progress your character seems to start to adapt to the world of Limbo somewhat!

The environment slowly changes as the game progresses too and you’ll find yourself running through a number of beautiful set pieces to reach the end. The presentation is very unique and there were several puzzles in the game that were simply a pleasure to play and watch unfold. It’s also pretty clear that the developers are a rather malevolent bunch and I can recall at least two points in the game where solving a puzzle still results in a messy death unless you’re really paying attention.

However overall Limbo is not a difficult game and a sufficiently motivated gamer could probably finish it in a single sitting, which really is a pity. The game is so well presented and such a pleasure to play through that you are left wanting more. Limbo also suffers from the usual problems with 2d puzzlers: it’s strictly linear and has very little replay value once you’ve gone through and solved all the puzzles once. The developers have tried to extend the game by hiding several achievements through the chapters, and including one achievement that involves replaying the entire game in a single sitting.

Overall 1200msp may be a little much to pay for Limbo considering its length and the fact it has almost no replay once you’ve finished it. However on the flip side Limbo is definitely a unique and beautiful gaming experience which you certainly won’t regret playing if 2d puzzlers are to your taste.

Reviewed on: XBox 360

Available on: XBox 360

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