OG Reviews: Limbo
Limbo. The state between existence and non-existence. The mystery behind Limbo’s story is equally as fascinating as the game in its entirety. Playdead development accomplished much with the release of Limbo by giving us a game with a minimalist story, an original look, and mind-bending puzzles. Limbo was voted the best indie title on PSN for 2011, so does the game rise above other titles, or does Limbo introduce players to purgatory?
Limbo pulls off an entire story with no dialogue and one word: HOTEL. What is this hotel? Who owns it? Is it an homage to Hotel California? Who knows. The best literature is ambiguous, and Limbo’s storyline can be interpreted many ways. As the game begins, the player–a young boy with a severe melanin overdose–awakens in a macabre, twilight zone-esque world. No introduction or dialogue set up the game; the player merely awakens and must do the only thing he or she can: move forward. The game has serious tones that touch on death and the afterlife, and its anti-story leaves interpretation up to the player. All that can be observed is that it is one dangerous place, and not one I’ll be checking into anytime soon. Not much is given to divulge any more of a story as the game progresses except for the twist in the end that will certainly change players’ perspectives acquired prior to that point.
Limbo is presented in much like a silent film that fits well with Limbo’s environment. The appearance of Limbo defines the game; it’s not supposed to look good. Death ain’t pretty, and Limbo wants to tell us that. That being said, its anti-beauty works. Not one drop of color graces Limbo’s environment at any point in the game. Is it depressing? Hell yes it is, but I’ve never had so much fun being sad.
Holy Hell is Limbo fun. Its puzzles are difficult but solvable and frustratingly rewarding. I often thought of Portal in my play through of Limbo. Today’s rewarding puzzle games are heavily influenced by Portal. Limbo’s puzzles are on par with Portal’s and give a healthy sense of accomplishment upon completion. One thing is certain for anyone attempting to get through this game: you will die. A lot. The majority of the puzzles are solved through trial and error but are easy to be remembered for future playthroughs. Checkpoints are fairly distributed, but not so much that they draw away the challenge. The only downfall to the gameplay is its brevity. The game can be completed in roughly 5 hours. Players deserve more Limbo, and additional puzzles would have given the game more value. The $15 dollar price tag on PSN is too much for this game. Look for it on Steam for a much more appropriate price.
Creepy. The deathly ambiance within Limbo’s drab universe is sealed together with the lack of a soundtrack and the eerie sound effects. Limbo is the first sidescroller in which I feared going forward. The white noise in the background gives depth to the environments, making Limbo feel ominous and unpredictable. Traps have sharp, abrasive sounds that will make gamers cringe when they trip. It adds a level of fear and anxiety to the gameplay which are appropriate for this title.
Limbo offers premium gameplay, unique visuals, and an eerie soundtrack. The only downfall, well, other than the spike pits, is the game’s length. It’s not worth 15 dollars, so look for it on Steam, and the only replay value lies in gathering trophies. Otherwise, Limbo is an unearthly experience that true gamers will respond well to.