System: Xbox 360 [Xbox Live Arcade]
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Release Date: July 21, 2010
It’s not often that a video game comes around that can blow someone away with both minimalistic gameplay and a mostly non-existent plotline. Limbo is one of these rare games, one that sucks you into its atmosphere and doesn’t let go until you have reached the end.
You control a young boy who awakens in the middle of the forest. You have no idea how you got there, and the game does not provide any sort of narration as to what is happening. You have no choice but to advance forward, and so the journey begins.
Limbo is sort of a platforming/puzzle hybrid. It is a side scroller, but only two buttons are used: one for jumping and one for performing actions (such as grabbing a swinging rope). On your first playthrough, you will die. A LOT. Trial and error is a huge part of the game, as you will often accidentally stumble into a bear trap or other hazards that are often difficult to see. Thankfully the game lets you continue right where you left off before dying, so frustration is kept to a minimum. The game is definitely still challenging, however, as the puzzles become increasingly more intellectual as you progress through the world.
What sets Limbo apart from other games is its absolutely stunning atmosphere. From the moment you awaken in the woods all the way to the end of the game, it is difficult not to get caught up in the environment provided. With completely black-and-white graphics, Limbo presents an aesthetic value not found in many games. This is a dark and brooding experience, also equal parts disturbing and magical. Seriously, not enough can be said about the game’s atmosphere.
If I were to have one complaint about Limbo, it would be its short game length. You will be able to complete the campaign in one afternoon, as it only takes 3-5 hours to finish. This is a cause of concern namely because of this arcade title’s steep $15 price. It seems $10 is a more reasonable figure for such a short experience. Still, I don’t feel ripped off at all. Limbo is a game that is unlike any other I have played, and it is a noble achievement in the Xbox Live marketplace.