Limbo

Today I’m taking a glance at a brain-twister of a puzzle game called Limbo, all the way from Denmark developer Playdead.

Platform: PS3*/Xbox 360/PC/Mac
Genre: Puzzle
Players: 1
ESRB: Teen (Animated Blood, Mild Violence)

Limbo encapsulates the journey of what seems to be a young, nameless boy as he journeys through a bleak, black and white world. The 2D side-scroller has the player navigating a series of environmental puzzles manipulating magnets, gravity and bear traps.

The first thing one will notice here is how aesthetically pleasing the game is. The world is eerily silent and painted in macabre black and white, utilizing light in beautiful ways. Being blacked out, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for impressiveness in other aspects of the environment, but the style is cool and fitting.

After venturing a short ways to let the feel sit in, the player is presented with the first of many well-formulated puzzles. These are just as difficult as any Portal puzzle and kept fresh with a variety of tools at one’s disposal over the course of the game. You never feel like your repeating a formula as each is unique and probably very little like the last. Nothing is buggy about it and you’ll never really feel like the game just cheated you out of anything due to poor programming. It’s very simple and clean.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a whole lot of them. This isn’t to say the game is to short – it’s one that can be completed in one sitting, which is perfectly fine, but it’s currently retailing for $14.99, which is a bit steep for what it offers when titles like Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light are out there for similar prices.

There is also a loose plot holding the game together. At a couple of points, the player comes across a young girl. The young girl is assumed to be the main character’s sister, but her significance is unknown. Being called Limbo, it’s possible they are both dead and the game represents some sort of never-ending journey through a religious purgatory or perhaps the boy is journeying to find her somehow. Regardless, the ending is clever and, if you care to, allows the player to interpret it as they wish. This was likely the intent, but unfortunately, it’s unimportant enough that I think a lot of gamers won’t give it a second thought and will take the game at face value.

Not particularly innovative, but a fun and consistently fresh title with an atmosphere to match. If you’re a budget gamer, this is a title you should probably give a go.

Bottom Line: 9/10

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