Release Date: 8/2/2011
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The Good: Excellent visuals, atmosphere, and ambiance, clever puzzles and unique scripted events
The Bad: Abrupt ending, not enough scripted events, extremely short, difficulty is all over the place, some obscure puzzles
Leave it to an indie game to be clever, atmospheric, and do things that AAA titles wouldn’t dare do. Limbo starts out with just a simple message: Find your sister. No voice acting, no characters, nothing just a black and white 2D platformer and a nameless little boy. This can be risky because why would you care about this with none of those elements? You won’t need to because the game makes you care for the boy via your actions. He can be dismembered and killed in every way possible via deadly and horrific obstacles and traps like getting caught in a saw blade, getting hung, or impaled by a giant spider leg. You cringe at every death because this is a little boy and not some nameless soldier or thug.
Limbo offers tons of atmosphere thanks to the great ambiance and visuals cues that make you just wonder through the whole game. The puzzles start with simple ones that deal with gravity, pushing stuff around, and pulling switches and levers. Later on you have to manipulate gravity and these puzzles get pretty complicated, but the game also gets darker and more dangerous as you go on. Limbo approaches typical platforming elements like bosses, enemies, and puzzles differently. Enemies are few and far between, but there is such a unique way to eliminate them that you wish there was more of it.
This short 3 hour game feels like a sample because you really want more. With the sudden and seemingly unsatisfying ending is made purposefully to just make up your own ending in your head. Yeah, this isn’t for the narrow-minded, but keep in mind that the game is juicy and give you tid bits along the dark journey to make you feel satisfied at the end. Limbo delivers a lot more creativity and atmosphere than a lot of top budget titles because it uses subtly over explosion and big scares. My only issues is that some of the puzzles are pretty obscure and the game can be very difficult in spots which will frustrate you to no end.
I also didn’t like such an abrupt ending that didn’t solve anything for you. However, this is a case by case basis on if you like this sort of thing or not. The game has a lot of variety, but I wish there was some more of the unique scripted events that made Limbo feel really fun and intense.