LIMBO


LIMBO

JohnBSeveral years in the making, the darkly atmospheric (and strangely realistic) platform game LIMBO has finally migrated from console download to the PC ecosphere. Crafted by Danish studio Playdead, LIMBO drops you in a shadowy world filled with dangers, immensely difficult puzzles, and more ways to die than you would really want to count. It's an incredibly stylistic and engaging game, one that just about any player can pick up and enjoy from beginning to end.

limbo.jpgLIMBO begins with a nameless boy waking in the middle of the forest. He's looking for his missing sister, but he mostly comes in contact with creatures great and small, most notably a massive spider whose legs are as sharp as steel. Soon, as you work your way through different puzzles, you wind up in a village, an abandoned city, and finally in the forest again. Can he locate his sister? Who are these mysterious few people he keeps seeing? And why can't he fall more than a meter without dying?!

LIMBO is similar to games like Another World, where realistic physics take a front seat to exaggerated leaps and fantastic feats of physical prowess. You have a modest jumping ability, can hang on to ledges, ropes and the like, and will be, er, "subjected to" one or two other temporary skills as the game progresses. It's not about what you can do, it's about figuring out how to navigate the strange world using your limited set of moves.

Analysis: Games like LIMBO are rare jewels that should be unearthed, polished, played with, and admired for a great many years. The sense of desolation illustrated by the "one boy against the world" motif is both magnified and contrasted with the landscape, presenting dark, shadowy images that hint at a world of activity recently departed. How recent, though, and are you about to get eaten by a spider? You can never really tell, which is just part of what makes this game so engaging.

limbo2.jpgHaving a limited movement ability further sets you against the bleak world of LIMBO. Navigating even the smallest gaps can be difficult, something Mario or that guy with really fancy pants would never even think twice about. But you, you're forced to deal with tiny obstacles made big by their realism. After all, you're just one tiny boy against a big, shadowy world.

The only potential down side to LIMBO is its tendency to emphasize failure. Dying is simply a part of this game. You have to do it multiple times in order to figure out what to do. Solving puzzles means you try something, fail miserably, watch that poor boy suffer a gory (but not explicitly so, owing to the monotone visuals) death, then try again, starting over from a nearby checkpoint. Replaying areas so many times can lead to frustration for some gamers, as it isn't a mechanism that's favored in modern games, especially not casually-oriented ones. If you can take the "punishment", LIMBO rewards you a hundred times over with every other aspect of its presentation and gameplay.

LIMBO is filled with genius moments of art and puzzle direction. It is storytelling at its most minimal, using sights and sounds to convey meaning and tightly-constructed obstacles to carve a delicate path to the end. It's easily one of the finest realistic platform games released in the last few years, and you owe it to yourself to play, if for nothing other than to see its marvelous ingenuity at work.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Not available.
Try Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.

23 Comments

I got this on Steam a few days ago and have never experienced anything as immersive since Another World.

5/5 with no hesitation.

What? Really? For PC?
Thanks JIG! Imagine my face when they said "only XBox360" after the first release.

3/5 for me. I bought it after seeing TotalBiscuit's first impressions video on it a few days back. It just looked so good and amazing.

Well, the actual game does start out pretty fricking amazing; deeply atmospheric, immersive, and all that. Some awesome stuff in those beginning parts.

But about halfway through it sort of stops trying and becomes a regular run-of-the-mill puzzle-reflex platformer. It's not BAD, but for the expectations it sets up and the awesome beginning, it does turn out a bit of a disappointment in the end. The part with the spider in the beginning is pretty much the peak of the entire thing.

Doesn`t work for my laptop. Very cheap and bad codding. Design is not everything !!!

I played the demo on the PS3 store. I was particularly pleased with the way the demo ends. Very subtle encouragement to buy the game.

I might pick this up later. The physics felt really right, and the atmosphere really does instill a sense of foreboding.

The death animations remind me a lot of the Gretal and Hansel games, which is a good thing.

I would agree that it has a good start, and then loses steam for a boring later half. Its gameplay, as well, never really evolves beyond a surface gimmick or two. I'd skip this one.

All these comments seems so negative. The game is really REALLY good, so please look at its high rating instead of these comments :)

Erm, Luraman.. comments don't seem 'so' negative. The game isn't perfect, and some bad aspects need to be pointed.
I loved the game, and everything, but I think you're wrong.. one should look at the comments before the rating, to get a precise opinion of the game.

I bought the game, I don't see any bad aspects, in fact I made it to the end.
There could be some problems since it came out for PC recently.
I have to disagree with you Kitu, when looking at opinions about Minecraft (not JayIsGames), all I saw were people saying it was the worst game ever made.
Limbo is a heavy-puzzle game and it does lose it's freaky ambience later, but in my opinion it was executed well. It may have some bugs but that's where the demo comes in.
I don't want to say the people with "negative" comments are bad, just that it looks like you're attacking the game off the bat.

I've got to say that this was the most beautiful and engrossing/engaging game I played as soon as it was out on Xbox (had to borrow my brother in law's one to play it).

I would agree that it became a tiny bit *more* of a simple puzzle/platformer towards the middle/end, however to me that was a natural thing more towards *myself* getting used to the stunning start and dipping back towards the traditional gamers' point of view. Stepping back and looking at the second half of the game there is still the dark and amibguous story there and it only feels so different (in a negative way) because its comparison is with the stunning discovery of the game's world at the start.

I can't wait to buy it again and play it on my PC. I think it's unique and beautiful and worthy of all adulation it gets.

Oh and great blog JohnB (five down in the comments above for anyone with an interest)

While I generally do not find *too* much replay value in the game by itself, watching a new person try the game for the first time is always rewarding.

Especially hearing someone scream bloody murder when he "finds" that first bear trap!

Actually I wrote my comment above having just finished the game and being a bit disgruntled over the second half and ending.

Now that I've had a bit of time to get over the initial annoyance, I'd definitely bump my 'rating' to 4/5 and say that all in all, it is definitely a very awesome and worthwhile game for its price. It's not perfect but it will provide you with an engrossing and unique experience that isn't common in games these days, and really, what more can you ask for?

It's silly of me to 'bash' it just for not being exactly what I wanted it to be. In the end, am I glad that I paid for it and played it? Yeah, I am.

So, if you have enjoyed any game similar to Braid, Knytt, Untitled Story, Within a Deep Forest etc, definitely pick this one up.

I am definitely considering spending the ten bucks and springing for the full game. The demo was lots of fun and super scary! I made my husband take over until I figured out what it was I supposed to do about the spider and could progress knowing what was coming. Definitely not a game I'd play alone at night.

JohnB, Be great, means satisfy as many needs as possible. Laptops like my represents 80% of market. DoomIII works perfect on my laptop. Just some programmers a cheap. LIMBO programmers are cheap !

@barambarum: I know English is probably not your native language, but your comments are nonsense. There is no way that they would release LIMBO on Steam if it didn't work for 80% of PC users.

And "cheap" is a meaningless, confusing word in this context. You might mean "lazy" or "careless", but I think you're mostly just talking out of your backside because you're frustrated about a compatibility issue. Have you contacted Steam about this, or did you just immediately start spamming incoherent insults on forums?

This game is utterly brilliant. Sure ill agree not everyone is going to like it, but for me this is the best gaming experience ive had for years.
Everything about it is perfectly executed, the atmosphere, the sound effects and the minimalist music.
I was totally engrossed the whole time, then after 2 or 3 hours when I finished the game I found out about the secret level and spent another 3 to 4 hours finding and finishing that.

10/10 - Well worth the $10, my only complaint is that it is too short.

I am amazed that almost noone mentions similarities between this game and "Heart of Darkness" (which is also very similar to "Another World").

I mean, I like Limbo, it's enjoyable, it's atmospheric, but it's also incredibly similar to HoD as well as being pretty inferior to it. I have to wonder if HoD opted for an artsy-moody setting instead of a kiddie boy-searches-for-his-dog story (and let's not forget horrible cutscenes) would it have been a highly acclaimed well-recognized title instead of a game noone remembers.

I any case, if you like Limbo, you will probably love HoD if you manage to stomach the kiddie stuff. It's light on despair, but sports ten times the fun and much more amusing puzzles.

P.S. Btw, regarding Limbo - I've also found it a little bit off when the game aims for sadness, depression and despair yet also manages so heavily to evoke Super Meat Boy in latter stages of the game, what with SMB also sporting black silhouetty levels and tons of circular saws..

Played this on my PS3 and loved it, though I do have to agree with those above who mentioned how the game loses steam around the second half. That isn't to say that the second half is bad at all; in fact, it's very good. It's just that the first half is absolutely AMAZING.

You should have heard me the first time I encountered that spider. I have not used so much profanity in so little time ever before.

this seams like a great game, but i dont want to download steam just for this game.

"but i dont want to download steam just for this game."

Get Steam ! If you like PC games you wont regret it.

It's a fine game, though the reverse-gravity portions got a little tedious after a while.

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