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"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Sunday, November 4, 2012

LIMBO Review


LIMBO was once an exclusive Xbox Live Arcade title back in 2009. It later got ported to the PSN (which is how I played it) and Steam. I had heard quite a few interesting things about this game. I've heard how dark (in both senses) it was, and this giant spider that wanted to stab the main character to death. I was always intrigued by the concept, but never bothered to get it. After reading up on it more and how apparently it's a game 'all gamers should play,' I decided to download it for the price of $15. Recently I've managed to complete it, and wow. LIMBO is unlike any other game I've ever have played. It's not just a game, it's an experience. Keeping it from being perfect however is how short it is and not enough story background for interpretation.

Unsure of his sister's fate, a boy enters LIMBO
That's it. Only description of the story you're going to get. So you're kinda going in blind of what to expect, it's interesting. It's one of the things making this game so unique and engaging.You play as this unnamed boy who looks to be maybe 7, and apparently the goal is to find his sister who (now this is just what I think) is in a coma so he goes into the world of LIMBO to find her and...see if she's dead or not? The story is really how you interpret it. There are no 'cutscenes' or things that help you understand what's going on, you're just running. Along the way are many obstacles, and I mean obstacles. Spike traps, pits, boulders, razors that will literally cut you to pieces, among other things. Not to mention that for whatever crazy reason, there's a giant spider that wants to stab you to death. And then in the first act of the game there are these other nameless kids wanting to hunt you down. It's crazy, utter lunacy. It's a haunting game since you literally have no idea of what to expect. There's no intro or anything like that, it just starts with the boy waking up in a forest. From their the fun (or rather nightmare) begins.


This is a side-scrolling puzzle game. The puzzles are some of the smartest I've seen in a video game. For example, on one I kept trying to figure out over and over again until I decided to quit and try it the next day.  It was then that I figured it out. (Remember, when stuck on something, sometimes it's best to take a day break!) It's a really smart game that challenges your intelligence. Let's not forget the eerie feeling it gives. First you'll notice it's in black and white, with a very 'low' soundtrack. What I mean by that is the music isn't really a main focus, there are very few themes. Instead they're used sometimes to compliment the scene or make you feel prepared for something. In many instances you're most likely going to die a gruesome death before figuring out the puzzle, whether it being squished, drowning, or getting cut to pieces. It isn't gory, but it is a rather violent sight to behold. It really makes you want to avoid dying at all costs.


The first act is definitely something you won't be forgetting anytime soon. You're dropped in a black and white world, you have no idea what's happening. This game doesn't give you any warning, you're walking straight and then you see a boulder coming down, giving you a micro second to jump away. And then you run into the giant spider in a "Whoa, what the heck is that?" sequence as it tries to stab you. The most heart-pounding parts is when that thing chases you. Then the game decides to show you that you're not the only alive thing there, there are a bunch of other kids wanting to kill you for whatever reason. The first time we see one of them, they're running away and you're like "What the..." And then to make you wish you never should have bought this game, it treats you to a bunch of dead kids throughout the first act. Some that had drowned in the water, some dead from being hanged, and some in cages. Such nice sights to take in while playing at midnight. This is what LIMBO is all about, a creepy horror game that doesn't rely on gory scares, but rather subtle, simple scares thanks to the eeriness of it all.





Unfortunately, the game is really short. If you're really determined and have some hours to spare, you can beat it on a Friday night. I was shocked when I beat it so soon. The second act relies more on its puzzles than its eerie vibe, which I was kinda disappointed by. In the second act you no longer run into any of those crazy kids or any spiders. The ending is interesting, but too sudden. You don't feel quite satisfied when it changes to the credits. People have made lots of interpretations, but really, everything is too vague. Now for an 'open' game like this, I don't expect specific details, but I think more clues or something should been added. We have no idea what these kids mean, or the spider, or the ending. There's symbolism., but I would have liked a few more clues so the player can interpret it better. (I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think this game could use a sequel.) But overall, LIMBO is a game that yes, all gamers should play. It's an experience you won't be forgetting anytime soon. Unfortunately due to its short length and lack of clues for interpretation, it's not perfect. With a longer length and just a drop of more story, it would have been perfect. It's still worth the buy, so whether it be on the PS3, Xbox 360, or PC, you should give LIMBO a go.



8/10

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