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Developed by: Playdead Games
Produced by: Xbox Live Arcade
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Every once and a while a video game is launched that seems so different, it is a must have. Limbo is exactly this with its unique style and mysterious gameplay. Set in black and grey, along with stark sounds and gloomy foliage, Limbo gives players an atmosphere of uncertainty not knowing what lurks beyond the deep shadows.
In the demo, the character wakes up to a dark forrest world. You are not welcome there — the world is home to natives who are trying to kill you with traps and spears, and objects that come careening at you, sometimes on fire. Not to mention gargantuan spiders just waiting for you to get close enough to stick you in the face. At first interpretation of this overly simple, black and grey game, you would never think the game would be violent. Be warned, it is quite gruesome at times.
Everything that happens around you is part of a puzzle that you must figure out to advance. Some puzzles are easily missed as you are looking around at the gorgeous black and grey surroundings, which can lead to your death several times throughout the game. My personal experience of this exactly, involved a bear trap closing on my body resulting in a restart and some irate language. For this reason alone, I will say the game get tedious. Do not expect to go through the game without dying, you will in order to figure out puzzles.
Limbo throws objects at you when you aren’t really ready for them. You will not expect a flaming rock to suddenly come loose and flatten your ass. Death is a necessary piece of the puzzle, allowing you to figure out how to control the various objects laying around for interaction. Will this box float with me on top? (The character cannot swim.) If I fall from this height, will I die? (Yes.)
In the end, Limbo is a great refresh from other games where speed and accuracy are necessary. On the contrary, Limbo rewards an articulate and careful player, and speed is not your advantage. If you are expecting something quick and dirty like Mario, this is not your game. Although the developers put secrets into the game to look for when you replay it, it would not be the same as the first play-through because you’ve probably figured out all of the tricks to beating the game.
What is my take? I liked it. It is challenging at times where there are a few “WTF?!!!?!?”-inducing moments. Though, it is always rewarding after you’ve figured out a puzzle. This game is different enough to easily become a favorite, classic game. It is a shame, though, that it is currently only on Xbox and costs a modest 1200 Microsoft Points (currently equal to $15 USD).
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