anathem's LIMBO (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

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A little boy wakes in the woods.

Limbo - the first game out of the stable for this year's Summer of Arcade - is a haunting, bleak and often disturbing little experience. At it's core it's a side-scrolling adventure with puzzle elements - but really it's a lot more than that. Limbo is a gently-paced tale of a little boy lost in the woods and it's in the telling that it shines.

Completely lacking in color, the presentation is hyper-minimalist. There is no (re-callable) music, nothing in the way of a HUD and zero dialog.

A little boy wakes in the woods.

That's the plot, right there. But it's not about what happens in the game, really, but the way it unfolds. Your journey will take you through the woods, caves and bleak locations - each gently transitioning into the next. There are chapters, but no on-screen queues when they start and end. Likewise with the save points - they occur silently and often - a blessing due to the sheer number of times you're going to die in this game.

In your travels, you're going to find yourself in some pretty gnarly situations with some pretty savage death scenes to behold - made even more savage by the fact that they're happening to a little boy. The stark, monochromatic atmosphere amps up the tension well and some moments are extremely tense. An early encounter with a giant spider manages to be extremely creepy despite the minimalist presentation.

Guiding the nameless protagonist will involve climbing, running (away), exploring and some puzzle solving. Some of the puzzles are ingenious, most of them involving physics and timing. You might find yourself stuck on some of them for a while, but none of them feel as difficult as some of the harder ones in Braid.

The game isn't overly long and re-playability is questionable. There are hidden eggs throughout the game that will give completionists something to do after the credits roll, but this game isn't about hours per dollar. It's about the experience you get for the 1200 points and it's a magic one.

I was captivated from start to finish. I even stopped playing early on the first night because I was afraid of finishing it all in one sitting and I wanted it to sit in the back of my mind for a day or two.

Limbo's magic is in it's use of light and shadow, innocence and violence. It's an experience that's not to be missed.

1 Comments
Posted by OzGamer

Just found Limbo in a triple pack - still incredible value and amazing gift for any age gamer

Other reviews for LIMBO (Xbox 360 Games Store)

    Limbo Review 0

    I'm not going to waste your time. This game is great and if you have a few spare hours, I have a hard time thinking you would call playing this game a waste.The first thing I will touch on is the gameplay. You have two commands: jump and grab. But the control scheme is just a way for you to focus on the mechanics. We're looking at physics-based puzzle solving here. Usually the first game that comes to mind when I say "physics-based puzzle solving" is Half-Life 2. Unlike that game, this is 2D an...

    1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

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