LIMBO Reviews

AuthorReview
This review has 22 positive votes and 3 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
When LIMBO was released on XBLA in July of 2010, it received numerous accolades and was praised for being unique. What separates LIMBO from most platformers is that it is quite minimalistic. It uses a monochromatic color palette and the majority of its sound is just ambient noise. While this may appear to be nothing special, LIMBO is definitely a video game that earns its recognition and is an example that proves that video games are an art form. Now that it has been released on the Xbox One, a whole other generation gets to experience such an amazing game.

LIMBO controls like an average platformer. You can jump and interact with objects, and the majority of the game deals with solving puzzles rather than killing enemies. What separates LIMBO from other platformers is its storyline, how it portrays its storyline, and how the player is intended to analyze its storyline. LIMBO is a narrative that follows a young boy that wakes up in a world of black and white. He is ultimately searching for his sister, although he is completely lost to his surroundings. He makes his way into a small forest, then into an inhabited town, followed by a rainy sewer area, and then an industrialized location full of machinery. Right off the bat, one can tell that LIMBO is certainly not an average game. The unique art style is accentuated by the lack of music and the disproportionate beings in the haunting world of LIMBO. The massive spiders, massive saw blades, and murderous figures are there to show that everything is out to get our protagonist. LIMBO is certainly a very dark game, and I’m not just talking about the art style. Our hero will face countless gruesome deaths, and at times, you will wonder how the game got away with a “T” rating. From decapitations to getting crushed by elevators to getting mutilated by machine guns, LIMBO certainly lives up to its name.

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At this point, one can interpret that LIMBO is essentially the boy traveling through a limbo of his own. The final scene suggests how the boy may have entered this depressing world, and one can assume that the search for the boy’s sister is relevant to a search for heaven. On a lighter note, the Achievements are fairly simple. One is story-related, most are collectible based, one is tied to a hidden gauntlet, and the last is tied to completing the game without dying more than five times. The last is the only on that poses an issue, and the game itself is enjoyable enough to warrant more than one playthrough.

Honestly, my only problem with LIMBO is its length. It clocks in at less than 90 minutes, which is disappointing, because I really enjoyed playing it. However, to criticize a game for being short is silly. What matters is the experience, and LIMBO certainly delivers on a harrowing and engaging narrative told in an ingenious way.

Overall score:5/5

BUY IT!!
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LifeExpectancy
1,026,889 (573,625)
LifeExpectancy
TA Score for this game: 1,974
Posted on 12 February 15 at 14:30, Edited on 13 February 15 at 04:44
This review has 17 positive votes and 3 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
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What can be said about a game that's over 4 years old? That it's been ported to the Xbox One, and given the full 1000 gamerscore treatment, is in my eyes a huge positive as it will make it into a larger community of gamers and achievement hunters, myself included.

Limbo is the story of a boy seeking his sister. How she came to be missing, and how the world wound up to be the trippy place full of pitfalls and traps that it is in the game, we aren't given the liberty to know.

At its core, Limbo is a puzzle platformer. You walk or 'run', although in Limbo running is used in the loosest sense as the player's movement speed is quite slow even at its peak. You jump over obstacles and solve some basic puzzles. Nothing in the game is extremely challenging puzzle wise, and even the daunting 'No Point in Dying' achievement for completing the game with no more than 5 deaths, is very obtainable even for gamers not hugely skilled at the genre. The environments are hauntingly beautiful even in their stark black, white, and shades of grey tones.

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My one niggling complaint is the soundtrack. I understand respecting artistic integrity, and I'm sure Limbo's creators were going for a specific mood they wanted to establish with the stark art direction and minimalistic audio, but I can't help but feel that the game would benefit from a deeply moody musical score to accompany the gameplay and visuals. However, the audio does convey the same sense of stark reality that the visuals do, so I can't mark too much off for this small complaint.

Limbo clocks in at right around an hour of gameplay if you speed through it quickly from start to finish, but will give most gamers closer to 2-3 hours for their initial playthrough. The full 1k is easily obtainable in 5 hours or less for most players, and is quite enjoyable along the way.

I was one of those that dismissed most XBLA games for the cost-to-gamerscore ratio in the past. Oh, how ever wrong I was! Games like this justify the existence of XBLA and PSN, and digital distribution in general. If you've yet to try out Limbo, I'd highly recommend it. If you're just a gamerscore chaser looking for easy points? I'd still highly recommend it. Best of both worlds!
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Sashamorning
1,231,355 (722,140)
Sashamorning
TA Score for this game: 1,974
Posted on 25 June 16 at 22:07
This review has 12 positive votes and 4 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
How does one describe Limbo without giving anything away? Even the description of the game on the XBL Marketplace is cryptic: "Uncertain of his Sister's Fate, a Boy enters LIMBO."

Yep, that's about all I can tell you about what the game's about. Or at least, that's about all I *should* tell you the game is about. Suffice it to say that I felt like I was wandering through a nightmare... and I'm not sure that's not how the designers wanted me to feel.

Be warned, however... the game can be disturbing at times, and although it's only rated Teen, original rumors that it was rated Mature wouldn't have been out of the question. You will die... many, many times. In fact, the only way through much of the game is trial and error, with the error coming at a somewhat graphic cost. If gratuitous violence--not the type in Gears of War, etc., but graphic, realistic violence--bothers you, this is *not* your game. [Insert images of nasty things happening to small boy, and you'll get the idea.] Furthermore, it's hard not to feel empathetic toward the boy, even though there are no words or descriptions anywhere in the game. (Even the "How to Play" page lists simply "Move," "Jump," and "Action." Simple.)

The game is all about style and artistic merit, while also being an unique platformer. The visuals are stunning, even though the game is shown in black and white (mostly black) with a million shades of grey. Mood is everything, and there are times where you wish there was more light, because just that glimpse isn't quite enough when timing is important.

You will likely finish this game in an evening, and 11 of the 12 achievements are pretty straightforward. They are all linked to puzzles, and you will likely encounter none of them (except the conclusion) unless you hunt for them. To that end, the descriptions that the game provides for each achievement helps guide you to them if you want to solve the puzzles yourself. The last one... well, to sum up the game pretty well, the achievement is for finishing the game in one sitting while dying five times or less. Good luck with that.

Comparisons to Braid are inevitable. While the two are about as diametrically opposite as two games can be visually (Braid's vibrant colors vs. Limbo's darkness) and dying (Braid's reverse-time trick vs. Limbo's violent ends), Limbo is much the same in that it is an incredible, immersive experience that shouldn't be missed.

Like Braid also, Limbo is best experienced without guides. Solving a puzzle and continuing to the next chapter can be quite a challenge at times, but that makes it even more satisfying when you do solve it.

In sum, Limbo is a fantastic, if somewhat disturbing, experience that you won't soon forget. The atmospheric elements and haunting visuals combined with solid gameplay make this worth playing. It may not offer much in terms of replay value, but it is definitely worth even a single run.
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