LIMBO

Have you ever had a dream that felt so real but you couldn’t remember it enough to explain it?  That’s kind of how my experience felt while playing Limbo.  The masterminds behind the eerie world that is Limbo, are a company called “Playdead” who is based out of Copenhagen, Denmark.  While this may be the teams first project together, it definitely does not show.  Playdead is now a studio that I’ am a fan of and I look forward to whatever else they bring in the future.

LIMBO takes you on a beautiful and dark journey of a boy who is uncertain about his sisters fate.  The entire game is set in a black and white atmosphere that you will soon discover is a place you would never want to be.  My time spent with Limbo was nothing short of amazing.  The game starts off with you waking up in the middle of a forest not knowing where you are or what your in store for.  I refer to the main character as “the boy” because the game doesn’t have voice actors, nor does it have character development.  Only thing that matters is that you overcome the dangerous objects that await you, so you can find your sister.

As you progress through Limbo, you are challenged by mind bending puzzles that actually do take some thinking.  This is where the game absolutely shines.  It is almost impossible to be perfect and stay alive for a long period of time.  You will be electrocuted, drowned, and pummeled by the dangerous tools that surround Limbo.  You will die, respawn, maybe die again but then hopefully realize where you went wrong.  This may sound frustrating and even game breaking but it’s almost the opposite.  Playdead did an excellent job at making sure when you die you don’t feel like chucking the controller across the room.  When you fail at a specific puzzle you are put almost exactly where you left off right before you attempted it.  I also felt a sense of accomplishment when I figured out a way to get past a section that kept me engrossed in wanting to play for just “5 more minutes.”  The puzzles vary and never get old because they change up through out the game.  I never felt bored or felt like I have been doing the same thing over and over again.  Towards the end of the game your encounters with certain elements will get harder and the puzzles will challenge you more and more, but not once did I feel fed up with the game.  It’s just a beautiful display of balance and forgiveness.

The controls are very simplistic.  You move with the left analog stick and use A to jump and B to move objects.  It truly is another reason why Limbo could be a game for anybody who doesn’t mind using their brain a little.  One thing you should be aware of though is that your character dies in pretty horrific ways.  If he’s ripped up by a saw you will see body parts and limbs flying around.  It is hardly “graphic” because of it’s black and white art style but there is a setting to turn it off if your a bit squeamish.  One of the other elements of the game that I just have to mention is the sound.  I played the entire game with my Turtle Beach headphones on and it was very noticeable that Playdead put a lot of time in getting the sound just right.  Everything from the crackling of tree branches to the howling from the owls are heard through out your time in Limbo.  My suggestion, if you have a nice pair of gaming headphones use them and you will see what I mean.

Make no mistake, while LIMBO may be an Xbox Live Arcade title, I still consider it to be one of the top displays thus far of 2010 and I will put it up there with any of the other big boys for Game of the Year.  When a game can give you a different experience that you have never encountered before, that is something special.  For a title that costs 15 dollars, this is the biggest bang for your buck that your going to get this summer, or for that matter possibly the rest of the year.

[starreview tpl=46 size=’30’]

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