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Review – Limbo (PC)

I’ve been a bit lax on posts the last few days, with good reason.  I’ve been plowing through Limbo in order to do a proper review of it.  Here’s the short, this game is phenomenal.  It’s so simple in it’s design and gameplay and just all around but I have not been so engaged by a game the way Limbo did for a while.  I’ve been devoting my free time to playing through it instead of doing productive things like blogging.

So the plot presented here is very simple, you must travel through the surreal land of Limbo to find your sister.  There actually isn’t much plot in the game itself, that description comes from the game’s description.  You basically just start out alone in Limbo and must figure out what to do next.  The entire game is a complex series of platform based puzzles.  There are so many twists that are so cleverly done however that it will keep you on your toes for the entire game.  There is also a ridiculous amount of variety to the world which keeps it from ever getting repetitious.  As i said, the game is extremely engaging, you just want to push onward, even if there is never any explanation as to WHY you’re pushing onward.

The controls themselves are extremely simple, left and right movement, up to jump, control to activate objects.  You can push some objects and pull levers from time to time as well.  Everything flows extremely smoothly and the physics behind the world are all extremely good as well.  This comes into effect a lot later in the game as the world occasionally rotates or you must swing from ropes and defy gravity.

To make everything even better, the presentation is phenomenal.  The entire game is presented in a very dreamy black and white grayscale.  This does not detract at all from the extreme details of the environment and the use of focus, or the lack thereof, for background objects is done really well to give the world depth but not be distracting from what is going on in the player’s range.    There is no music either, only sound, which is also used effectively for timing or foreboding as needed.  The atmosphere all around is really rich and really helps the world come together.

The atmosphere isn’t just pushed by the graphical look either.  The world itself is very eerie.  There are all sorts of odd machines and ruins of buildings and signs that you pass.  Your character also must do everything he can to survive at times such as tearing the legs off of the persistent giant spider or combating the few natives which show up to attack you.  The traps themselves, especially later in the game, become increasingly more lethal and the game is actually a bit gruesome and elaborate when it depicts the player’s death.  Another good choice was the way death is handled, dying essentially means trying that particular sequence a second time and there are reset points everywhere you’d hope they would be.  There isn’t one part where you complete a complex puzzle only to be killed by the next complex puzzle and get forced to re-complete the previous round.  This would have only hindered things for the worse as you will die in this game, a lot.

There isn’t much to wrap up that has not already been said.  The game is presented amazingly, the gameplay is well designed and it’s generally an amazing game.  You probably won’t care for it if you don’t care for games with “artistic flare” or quite a bit of thought required but if it has already peaked your interest you’re probably going to enjoy it, a lot.

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