Game Review: LIMBO
Have you ever felt lost? Alone? Sort of like you had the world fighting against you- at least, just enough for you to notice? LIMBO is an experience like that.
LIMBO is a basic puzzle platformer with dark, brooding visuals and a dark atmosphere that’s tinged with menace- you could die at any moment- you could die horribly at any moment. For example, a spider hiding in the shadows could impale you, tossing away your lifeless corpse to rot forever in the dead, quiet woods.
Aesthetically, this game doesn’t disappoint. While it bears rather basic graphics (they’re in black and white, like an old film), these really add to the atmosphere. The silhouettes are simple and haunting, and they definitely make LIMBO an unforgettable experience. What’s more, the game’s music is extremely minimal. The combination just creates layers upon layers of pure dread. And sitting on top of it all is a little boy who hops and skips through the levels, as if nothing’s wrong at all… It would be comical, were it not so horrifying.
As far as gameplay goes, this is a basic puzzle platformer- I really don’t think it breaks the mold in this regard. LIMBO does have a nice exploratory slant for a linear game; you’ll spend quite a bit of time surveying your environment for a solution to the puzzle at hand, and you can expect to die many, many times while doing it. I suppose LIMBO is a lot like War of the Worlds and Out of this World in that regard- if at first you don’t succeed, die, die again. This game forces you to think creatively to survive the assorted environmental hazards. In fact, you’ll have to use the environment to fight for you much of the time, since you can’t just fight the game’s enemies- you’re a little kid who can’t throw a punch, wield a sword or shoot a gun- but you can climb trees, drag bear traps, and lead your enemies into sticky situations.
While I think the game does a good job at assembling all its elements, I think that it could’ve gone a bit further with the platforming elements. Did they occasionally bend my brain? Indeed, they left my mind warped and twisted beyond recognition- but I feel like somehow, they could’ve afforded to go further- but I suppose that’s just my opinion. It could also be said that the game’s simplicity is what makes it great, and it’s not a game about innovation so much as crafting together a platformer that feels like a dark, beautiful adventure.
Indeed, I think LIMBO can be considered a reverse Braid. How so, you ask? I absolutely love Braid– it’s a gorgeous puzzle platformer- but it’s kind of obtuse sometimes. Braid innovates while telling a somewhat specific story- LIMBO seems to have a story that’s much more open to interpretation. Both are definitely great.
All in all, LIMBO is definitely a game worth your money and your time- it’s dark and it takes some smarts to survive it. If you’re prepared to die again and again, and if you enjoy platformers along the lines of Out of this World, you’re going to have some fun with LIMBO.