mjhealy's LIMBO (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

The Ambassador of Bleakness

Limbo is a strange creature. I mean, just look at it. It takes just the simple ideas of a platformer mixed with some physics-based puzzles and wraps it in a weird world that is teaming with atomsphere. In simple terms, Limbo is Flower with much less of the 
pretentiousness.
 
Limbo doesn't have much of a storyline to speak of. All the plotline for the game can be read when you are actually buying the game and reading it's description on Xbox Live. You are a young buy, lost in "Limbo". The boy has the task of finding his lost sister. This quest leads him through the dreary dreamworld of Limbo, having you solve some easy puzzles and some quite difficult ones. The game also seems innocent at first, if a bit dreary and moody. The first time you die, death is something you should get used to in Limbo, you will notice that this game is pretty gory and it doesn't shy away from some serious evication.
 

 A look at the game's unique artstyle.
When you first read this description, you think Limbo has nothing to it. The game's ace in the hole, however, is it's artstyle. No colours. No textures. No detail. Just a whole lot of film grain. The artstyle truly is astounding. It looks like no game that has been released before it. The simple moody artstyle really helps to bring out the game's chilling atomsphere. It is one of the key factors which separate Limbo from the rest of the market. 
 
Limbo is not a repetitive place. The game really does change quite a bit. Beginning in some simple forests it moves on to explore undeground caves, a ravaged town and an old industrial mill. This all adds up to plenty of variety in the game's landscpae. It doesn't just stick to the "creepy" woods for the entire game. Limbo certainly becomes more "dream-like" as it gets toward the end.
 
The gameplay in Limbo is simple. It is a two button game. However, although it is not complicated when it comes to control mechanics, it has this certain feeling that just seems right.  The controls have the perfect "feel" to what you are seeing on screen. The game has the smooth jumping of Super Mario Bros, mixed with a lot more animation. These controls give their best impression when it comes to the "life and death" situations of Limbo, where poorly timed movements will be costly. The game essentially has two kinds of puzzles. The "trial and error" style and the "physics puzzle" style. 
 
The "trail and error" of this game may annoy some people. There are many situations in this game where you will die and that is
 This is hardly a "safe" forest by means.
that. The player will move into a new area, die and then learn from their previous error. This is made a lot more smoother with the game's very forgiving checkpoint system. The "trial and error" sections of the game really gives Limbo it's "Oh Shit!" kind of moments. You will be walking along and then suddenly you will be dead in a gory yet unique way. This doesn't happen to the player too many times over the lifespan of the game's length. It just happens enough times to keep you on your toes.
 
The other, more traditional, style of puzzles are the "physics" puzzles. They require to tinker with elevators, push many crates, manipulate gravity and use water to get you to your goal. The game varies up it's puzzle quite a bit over the course of the game. Nothing is ever really seen twice, which is probably helped by the game's short length.
 
 You don't have to cut yourself to enjoy Limbo.
Atompshere is key in Limbo. I have already mentoined how the game's graphics add to it's chilling mood but something else adds to this too. The soundtrack, or the lack there of. The game features no music, only every now and then a strange tune is heard when the player is in trouble. This little bit of music really sticks out in the game. It makes you feel a whole lot more scared for what is going on, since you are used to the lack of any music. Sounds in the game are also used to great effect. Tension is always being built with the sounds of distant water dripping or the rustling of the wind in the shrubbery.
 
Slight faults may only be found in Limbo to some players. The game is short, it clocks in at about three to five hours. That may sound pretty short but Limbo is a very tight package. There is no fat or filler. It is just straight to the point and holds you there for a few hours. The quality of the game's few hours are what justifies this game's price of 1200 Microsoft Points.
 
For the more cyncial players out there, Limbo may appear to be 2010's Flower but it truly isn't. It isn't just a blatant piece of art. Limbo is a tight and excellent experince. The gameplay is simple yet effective. It builds atomsphere likr no one game I have played to date. It isn't just art for art's sake, it is an excellent video game. It doesn't matter whether or not video games are art. All that matters is that Limbo is a fantastic little gem that deserves to be played.
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Other reviews for LIMBO (Xbox 360 Games Store)

    Beautiful and haunting 0

    Can I talk about Limbo without talking about Braid? An interesting question to pose myself, mostly because Braid is one of my all time favourite games. In fact, just by starting the review of the game this way, it's quite obvious that I can't. Don't get me wrong, both games are very different in their mechanics but they are both arty puzzle platform games that have an amazing amount of resonance. In a way though, Limbo is the antithesis of Braid. Where Braid offers complexity through text, colou...

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