Review: Limbo (3 1/2 hours)

This is a simple and short puzzle game. You are a boy who awakens in the woods, and you run to the right to get out. The entire game can be controlled with the D-Pad, with Up as your jump. Also, the game is black and white. I don’t think there’s even color in the menus. There is no saving, but there is checkpointing, which is rather generous. There are no lives or continues. If you get hurt, you appear at the last check point.

You encounter things like a crane, a boat, bear traps, and a giant spider. On occasion, you catch sight of several men running away from you, blocking your path. The story is all visual–not a hint of text from start to finish. There are a lot of traps, such as going in water because you can’t swim, or for another example, the giant spider wants to make you his lunch, and you have to outsmart him.

If it’s sounding like a children’s game, don’t be deceived. There are some pretty graphic scenes on occasion. Dismembering a giant spider’s limbs and watching it’s inner juices shoot out still isn’t as graphic as it gets. The game is rated by the ESRB as T for Teen.

It’s clearly a downloadable game, though that term might have lost meaning as almost everything today is downloadable. Let’s just say, it’s designed to be short. I beat it in three and a half hours, checking a guide from time to time. The most unfortunate part about Limbo is as you approach the end, the game falls back on one of the most common types of puzzles in puzzle game history: crate-pushing puzzles. Lame.

I wish there were more to it, like leaderboard, or even multiplayer—I wondered whether it was created by a very small team. Released in 2010, this title was brought up in Game of the Year discussions, but rarely made the top slot. I wish it came on a disc, so I could just give Limbo to a friend. It feels appropriate after 3 1/2 hours of gameplay. Still, it has high production value.

3/5

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