With the loneliness of your own shadow, the sound of your own footsteps and a dark bitter world of danger – LIMBO, not only takes you on a journey of survival, but a mentally challenging adventure that will leave you in a state of awe.
Developed by Danish based PlayDead Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios, LIMBO is kick-starting the popular “Summer of Arcade” campaign to promote the biggest and most anticipated blockbuster hits of the season coming first to Xbox LIVE Arcade.
The initial start up will greet you with the game’s Main Menu and from here you can view the Achievements, peek at the leaderboards, start the game or just play around with some of the options that detail all you need on how to play. The controls however could not be simpler for this platform-puzzler, move left and right with the controller – A to Jump, B to perform an action and hey presto – you’re on your way!
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LIMBO does contain elements which may be offensive, but the Gore Filter from the options menu can limit the appearance of the shocking, vindictive, and outright callus way in which the player dies. You will lose your head, arms, legs, torso and sometimes get smashed or ripped to bits. It does all add to the fun and enjoyment of the game, so if you aren’t of a nervous disposition it is worth leaving the Gore Filter set to “OFF”. With LIMBO you need to expect the unexpected and not everything is as straight forward as it may first appear – a shocking end of life is all but a few wrong moves.
The whole game from start to finish is set in a monochrome land with perfectly detailed backdrops to give the impression of a small lost boy venturing through a big dangerous world. Further adding to eerie sinister setting is the lack of in-game music which really works more of an advantage. As you progress from one part of the land to another, the only sound you hear is your own footsteps and the effects of your current backdrop. When it’s raining, you hear the rain pour, in the forest the wind blows, in water you splash and as you trek across girders you hear the sound of clunky metal. Whilst the lack of in-game music might seem like a bore for some, it really would spoil the feel of the ambiance as each chapter is a new shade of darkness just waiting to be explored.
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There doesn’t appear to be an obvious story from the onset; you are a lost boy looking to find your sister whilst experiencing mind blowing traps, puzzles and near death experiences along the way through an intelligent horror story. The moment you are immersed within this artistic masterpiece you do soon forget about looking for your sister because of your own need for survival. You will encounter other characters briefly, but they only mean you harm. Where you are and how you got there may be questions unanswered, but best not thought of. Simply enjoy the experience, the surprises, twists, turns and frustrations of the puzzles set forth on your journey. You will encounter a gruesome death time and time again in the most genius of ways.
LIMBO is certainly a game that once played you will never forget. The fun lies in trying to find your way around a world that isn’t looking out for your best interests and the puzzles at times are difficult, but add further longevity as you clamber to and fro to clear the obstacles or make your way to your next location. Early in the game the puzzles involve actions such as flicking a switch or pulling an object, but the more you progress the more complex they become and change the environment around you - for instance, the turn of a cog will turn your whole world upside down and timing is very much of the essence!
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The game has been split into 24 chapters, but plays as one huge story where you control the character from one location that continues into another as a smooth transition. There are no loading times between chapters, auto saves at every obstacle, and many of the unlockable Achievements have been hidden throughout as shiny eggs. Finding the eggs require good exploration and often a puzzle in itself, but perseverance will reward you a branded Avatar T-shirt for your first Achievement and a LIMBO creature for completing the game. Your character will have an unlimited amount of lives, and at times it is only your patience that will run out.
LIMBO has to be one of the best games in a long while to grace the Xbox LIVE Arcade - it would be a sinful summer without it! The game is intriguing, mysterious and highly addictive creating an enjoyable experience from something beautiful and yet gory. The only minor fault is that if you are good at solving puzzles, you could complete the game quite quickly, but it does have plenty of replay value thanks to its hidden Achievements.
LIMBO will be released on Wednesday 21st July for 1200 MS Points. The game is one player only and could be completed in only a day, making this seem overpriced at first. However, the quality, enjoyment and entertainment gained from this title is certainly worthy of its 1200 MS Points price tag. You would definitely be paying for quality over quantity and at the very least you will have a free demo to help you decide if want to continue the adventure. LIMBO is not only a game that will provide you with hours of enjoyment, but it is also a work of art to substantiate that less is sometimes more!
Should you purchase, please do avoid online tutorials at all costs because the fun is in making mistakes and you will only spoil the full experience to be had from LIMBO.
Final score: 9 out of 10 - Very Good (How do we rate games?)